(a) Agreement. At any stage in the proceedings, the judge and disciplinary counsel may agree to the imposition of a stated sanction, a range of sanctions, or the issuance of a letter of caution in exchange for the judge's admission of any or all of the allegations of misconduct involved in the proceedings. If the agreement is entered into after the filing of the formal charges, the agreement shall admit or deny the allegations contained in the formal charges. If the agreement is entered into before the filing of the formal charges, the agreement shall contain the specific factual allegations which the judge admits he or she has committed and the applicable provisions of the Code of Judicial Conduct or other ethical or disciplinary provisions that the judge admits the judge has violated. The agreement shall be signed by disciplinary counsel, by the judge and, if the judge is represented by counsel, by the judge's counsel. The signature of the judge's counsel on the agreement shall indicate that counsel has advised the judge regarding the agreement and that counsel believes the judge is voluntarily entering into the agreement with a full understanding of the effect of the agreement. Together with any signed agreement, a judge may also submit to disciplinary counsel a sworn statement(s) or other documents, including affidavits by other persons, for the Commission and the Court to consider in mitigation.
(b) Affidavit of Consent. The judge shall also sign an affidavit stating that:
(1) the judge consents to the sanction(s) or letter of caution;
(2) the consent is voluntarily given; and
(3) the matters admitted in the agreement and the facts stated in the affidavit are true.
(c) Submission to Panel. Disciplinary counsel shall transmit the fully executed agreement, the affidavit of consent, and any documents submitted by the judge in mitigation to Commission counsel and also serve the judge with a copy. Commission counsel shall submit the agreement, affidavit of consent, and any documents submitted in mitigation to an investigative panel if formal charges have not been filed, or to a hearing panel if formal charges have been filed on any of the allegations. Provided, if formal charges have been filed but not heard, an investigative panel can consider the proposed agreement and affidavit if the parties both agree in writing. The panel shall either reject the agreement, or submit the agreement, affidavit of consent, and any documents that were submitted in mitigation to the Supreme Court if it determines the agreement should be accepted. An investigative panel shall, however, finally approve or disapprove an agreement for an admonition, a deferred discipline agreement or a letter of caution and, if approved, shall impose the sanction or issue the letter of caution without submitting the matter to the Supreme Court.
(d) Action by Supreme Court. If the panel submits the matter to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court shall either reject the agreement or issue a decision disciplining the judge, which shall be based on the agreement. The decision shall comply with the requirements of Rule 27(e).
(e) Effect of Rejection of Agreement. If an agreement is rejected by the panel or the Supreme Court, the proceedings shall continue. The rejected agreement, affidavit of consent, and any documents submitted in mitigation shall be withdrawn and shall not be used against the judge in any further proceedings.
(f) Confidentiality. The agreement, affidavit of consent, and any documents submitted in mitigation shall remain confidential until the Supreme Court enters a decision disciplining the judge, at which time the agreement, affidavit of consent, and any documents submitted in mitigation shall be available to the public. The agreement, affidavit of consent, and any documents submitted in mitigation shall not be available to the public at any time if the agreement is rejected, or if the submission of the agreement results in the imposition of an admonition, a deferred discipline agreement or a letter of caution by an investigative panel.
(g) Briefs, Additional Information, and Oral Arguments. The Supreme Court may require the parties to submit briefs and/or participate in oral arguments in connection with the agreement. The Supreme Court may also require the parties to submit additional information prior to taking action with respect to the agreement. Either the judge or disciplinary counsel may move before the Supreme Court for permission for the parties to file briefs, to have oral arguments, or both in connection with the agreement, but the Supreme Court, in its discretion, may take action on the agreement without briefs, without oral arguments, or without either, notwithstanding a request from one or both of the parties.
Last amended by Order dated September 28, 2022.