No one has more obligation to obey the law than those who make the law
Since 1960's individual states in US began adapting Rules of Professional Responsibility for attorneys that became to be known as Rules of Professional Conduct and prior to that were known as 1908 Canons of Professional Ethics .
Today most of the States of the Union have the Rules modified and set by a State Supreme Court based on the MODEL RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT drafted by American Bar Association. These Rules are enforced by the State Bars that have special office often called Office of the Bar Counsel, Office of Disciplinary Counsel or similar (click here for the list of such offices in all states) . In theory, anyone can bring a complaint against an attorney who violated the State Rules of Professional Conduct and that complaint will be accepted and investigated. State bar sites often change pages for filing a complaint against an attorney. Currently there is no a reliable list of links to file a complaint in all states (click here to see one of such lists). To find page to file a complaint do search on your State Bar Site for "filing complaint against attorney". A petitioner does need an attorney to file a complaint, he/she just has to fill a form and be specific about what rules were violated by an attorney. Office of the Bar Counsel is Supervised by the Board of Bar Overseers and by the State Supreme Court. However, in reality most of the complaints are not docketed and dismissed without an investigation. Unfortunately, Bars do not report statistics of all all complaints filed against attorneys during current or previous years and report only reprimanded attorneys in the most recent one (usually) or couple of years. Neither Bars report any information of the previous reprimands of attorneys or malpractice cases. We are compiling this information and hope soon to provide this information on this site.
Meantime you should do your home work and check all available to you databases that might contain information about malpractice and professional misconduct complaints filed against an attorney you are planning to retain for your representation. Current attorney's standing or status can be found on the State Bar or State Court web sites by search using attorney first and last name.
Similarly to adapting rules of Professional conduct since 1990's States began adapting Code of Judicial Conduct for judges . Today all the States legislated and instituted Commissions on Judicial Conduct overseen by the State Supreme Courts and guided by the Rules on Judicial Conduct approved by the State Supreme Courts and based on the MODEL CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT drafted by American Bar Association. Anyone can bring a complaint against a judge (even anonymously in some states) who violated the State Code of Judicial Conduct, however, there is no guarantee that it will be docketed and investigated. Click on the link for the list of all Commissions on Judicial Conduct (or similar titled organizations). Be sure to read carefully the Rules on Judicial Conduct in your State before filing a complaint and do research to provide a substantial evidence supporting your alleged accusations. It is not easy to "convince" a Commission to investigate a complaint let alone to do anything. Even in cases that received publicity in the press Commissions are often reluctant to do anything for a number of reasons. First of all, despite being a third part of the Government judiciary makes a particular point of its independence not from political or financial influence or bias and corruption, but from accountability. Secondly, Commissions are accountable only to Supreme Judicial Courts and conduct investigation in secrecy or confidentiality as they prefer to say. In many States even when judges are reprimanded or even impeached do not disclose their names in the Commissions' annual reports. The Commissions' decisions cannot be appealed and are final. That gives them power to protect judges and get away with it. We need to change it and the only way to change it is through the legislation process. Judiciary is like any other branch of Government and has to be accountable to people. Judicial decisions need transparency and judges are accountable to all of us, citizens of this Country, and not just to themselves and God.
To change status quo we need to take action. Get involved with grass roots organizations; become active during election to put responsible and accountable public servants in the office; write to your State and Federal officials expressing what you think have to make the justice system more democratic; talk to your friends and family and get them involved as well. You do not have to give money to politicians, but your vote. Only working together we can accomplish something. Consider signing the petitions below or propose a new one that you think will improve our justice and legal system that are foundation of any democracy.
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