The Judicial Qualifications Commission is vested with jurisdiction to investigate and recommend to the Supreme Court of Florida the removal from office of any judge whose conduct demonstrates a present unfitness to hold office and to investigate and recommend the reprimand of a judge whose conduct warrants such a reprimand. In addition to the commission's disciplinary process, the Florida House of Representatives has the authority to impeach judges, who then are tried for misconduct in the Florida Senate and may be removed from office.
The commission is constitutionally divided into an investigative panel and a hearing panel. The commission is composed of two judges each from the district courts of appeal, the circuit courts, and the county courts; four members of The Florida Bar; and five residents who have never held judicial office or been members of the bar. All proceedings of the commission are confidential until formal charges are filed with the clerk of the Florida Supreme Court, after which time proceedings are open to the public.
When complaints are filed with the commission, they are reviewed by the executive director and the general counsel to determine jurisdiction. Recommendations on the appropriateness of jurisdiction are then reviewed by the commission. If a case is within the purview of the commission, an investigation is conducted by the investigative panel. The investigation panel may submit formal charges to the hearing panel. The hearing panel may recommend disciplinary actions be taken by the Florida Supreme Court. In Fiscal Year 2018-19, 708 complaints were received, of which 58 were investigated. Of the remaining cases, formal charges were filed in four cases.