The seven-member Judicial Qualifications Commission is the government body responsible for evaluating and investigating allegations of misconduct by Iowa judges, magistrates and court employees. The Judicial Qualifications Commission can recommend to the Iowa Supreme Court the retirement, discipline or removal of a judicial officer or the discipline or removal of an employee of the Iowa Judicial Branch. The Iowa Supreme Court can retire a judicial officer for a disability or discipline or remove a judicial officer for good cause, only upon application of the Judicial Qualifications Commission. The Iowa Supreme Court cannot retire, discipline, or remove a judicial officer without first receiving a public report from the Judicial Qualifications Commission.
The Commission does not have authority to change a court ruling, decision or order. Nor does the Commission evaluate whether a judicial officer has erred in a particular ruling. To contest a court ruling or order, the proper course of action is to appeal to a higher court. Therefore, if your complaint is about the "correctness" of a judge's ruling or decision, you should consult with an attorney about whether to file an appeal with a higher court.
The Commission does not have authority to investigate complaints about administrative law judges or ALJs (executive branch officials who hear disputes concerning the actions of state agencies) or federal judges. For complaints about an administrative law judge who works for the Administrative Hearings Division of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, you may fill out a complaint form at: https://dia.iowa.gov/. For complaints about any other executive branch administrative law judge, you must contact the agency that employs the judge. For complaints against a federal judge, contact the clerk of the court of appeals for that circuit or applicable national court.