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Rule 6:
Accusations of Professional Misconduct

(a) Role of the Chief Judge and the Clerk. Any person, including the Clerk, or any judge, panel of judges, or entity may file with the office of the Clerk an accusation of professional misconduct (called a grievance). After receiving such a grievance, the Clerk will assign a nonpublic docket number to the matter. The Clerk will refer the matter to the Chief Judge, except that if the grievance is filed by a judge or judges of the Court, the Clerk will issue an order referring the grievance to the Panel for consideration. If the Chief Judge determines that the grievance does not have prima facie validity, the matter will be closed and the Chief Judge will direct the Clerk to return the grievance to the filing party with notice of that finding. If the Chief Judge determines that the grievance has prima facie validity, the Chief Judge will instruct the Clerk to refer the matter to a Panel and the Clerk will issue an order doing so. If the grievance is filed by a judge or judges of the Court, that judge or those judges will not be included in the panel to which the matter is referred. The Clerk will mail a copy of any referral order to the practitioner concerned (along with copies of these rules and of any grievance filed by a member of the public).

(b) Action by the Panel.

(1) The Panel will:

(A) Determine that the actions described would not constitute misconduct if true, or that the matter is not within the Court's disciplinary authority, and direct the Clerk to return the grievance to the filing party with notice of that finding; or

(B) issue an order to show cause why the grievance should not be referred to the Committee for action under Rule 2.

(2) If the Panel has issued an order to show cause under paragraph (1)(B) and a response thereto ["show-cause response"] has been received or the time for filing a show-cause response has expired, the Panel will:

(A) Dismiss the grievance as unfounded or unsupported by sufficient evidence; or

(B) if the grievance is not contested, issue an order to show cause why a specific discipline should not be imposed by the Court; or

(C) refer the grievance to the Committee for action under Rule 2.

(3) If a show-cause order is issued under paragraph (2)(B) above or subparagraph (D) below, or if a Committee report is received, and after a show-cause response or a report rebuttal has been received or after the time for receiving such a response or rebuttal has expired, the Panel will:

(A) Dismiss the grievance as unfounded or unsupported by sufficient evidence; or

(B) in a case where a show-cause order has been issued under paragraph (2)(B) above or under subparagraph (D) below, impose the discipline identified in the show-cause order or impose a lesser discipline; or

(C) in a case where a show-cause order has not been issued under paragraph (2)(B) above or under subparagraph (D) below, impose the discipline recommended by the Committee or impose a lesser discipline; or

(D) in a case where the Panel believes that it may be appropriate to impose a discipline greater than that recommended by the Committee or identified in a previous show- cause order, or in a case where the Panel has not yet issued any show-cause order as to the imposition of a specific discipline, issue an order to show cause why a specific discipline should not be imposed by the Court and, after a show-cause response has been received or after the time for receiving a show-cause response has expired —

(i) dismiss the grievance under paragraph (A) above; or

(ii) determine that such specific discipline or a lesser discipline is appropriate and issue an order setting forth the essential facts of the misconduct, the rationale for imposing the discipline, and the discipline imposed, to include any conditions attached thereto.

(4) A hearing before the Court will not generally be held; however, the Court may, sua sponte or at the request of the practitioner concerned, hold a hearing in the exercise of its discretion.

(c) Proof. In a grievance proceeding, discipline will be imposed only upon a finding of clear and convincing evidence that the practitioner engaged in professional misconduct.

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