The Council on Judicial Complaints investigates allegations of judicial misconduct. The Council is comprised of a three member panel with statutory authority to hold hearings and issue subpoenas commanding the appearance of witnesses or production of documents and other tangible evidence. The Council's investigations are confidential, held in secrecy to the same extent as proceedings before a grand jury. Ultimately, the Council votes on whether a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct or other law has occurred. If the Council determines by a majority vote that a violation requisite of discipline has occurred, it can send its findings to the Chief Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court or certain other entities recommending an imposition of discipline. The Council itself cannot impose discipline; it is an investigatory body only.
The Council on Judicial Complaints was created by statute in 1974 to receive and investigate allegations of judicial misconduct and to better the administration of justice in this state. This was on the heels of a scandal in the Oklahoma Supreme Court which revealed Justices accepting bribes in exchange for favorable decisions. Originally, the Council was an office within the Judicial Branch. Since 1999, however, the Council on Judicial Complaints has been an executive branch agency, independent of but continuing to maintain a respectful relationship with the Judicial Branch.