Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 17.1. Courts of Record
Chapter 9. Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission

§ 17.1-913. Confidentiality of papers and proceedings; exception.

A. Except as provided in subsection C, all papers filed with and proceedings before the Commission, and under §§ 17.1-909 and 17.1-910, including the identification of the subject judge as well as all testimony and other evidence and any transcript thereof made by a reporter, shall be confidential and shall not be divulged, other than to the Commission, by any person who (i) either files a complaint with the Commission, or receives such complaint in an official capacity; (ii) investigates such complaint; (iii) is interviewed concerning such complaint by a member, employee or agent of the Commission; or (iv) participates in any proceeding of the Commission or in the official recording or transcription thereof, except that the record of any proceeding filed with the Supreme Court shall lose its confidential character. However, if the Commission finds cause to believe that any witness under oath has willfully and intentionally testified falsely, the Commission may direct the chairman or one of its members to report such finding and the details leading thereto including any transcript thereof to the attorney for the Commonwealth of the city or county where such act occurred for such disposition as to a charge of perjury as the Commonwealth may be advised. In any subsequent prosecution for perjury based thereon, the proceedings before the Commission relevant thereto shall lose their confidential character.

All records of proceedings before the Commission which are not filed with the Supreme Court in connection with a formal complaint filed with that tribunal, shall be kept in the confidential files of the Commission.

However, a judge who is under investigation by the Commission, or any person authorized by him, may divulge information pertaining to a complaint filed against such judge as may be necessary for the judge to investigate the allegations in the complaint in preparation for the proceedings before the Commission.

B. Advice on judicial ethics given by an attorney employed by the Commission to a judge and the records of such advice shall be confidential and not be divulged except as permitted in subsection A. However, the Commission may share such advice, but not the identity of the judge to whom the advice was given, with a committee established by the Supreme Court for the development of formal judicial ethics advisory opinions. Any such shared information shall remain confidential within such committee.

C. The Commission shall notify a complainant of the final decision made or action taken in regards to his filed complaint within 30 days of such decision or action. Such notice shall include the decision made or action taken by the Commission. The confidentiality provisions of subsection A shall not apply to notifications made by the Commission under this subsection.

1971, Ex. Sess., c. 154, § 2.1-37.13; 1979, c. 11; 1984, c. 650; 1993, c. 92; 2001, c. 844; 2005, c. 508; 2023, c. 329.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.