Massachusetts’ judges must abide by the state’s Code of Judicial Conduct which is enforced by the Commission on Judicial Conduct (CJC).

The nine member CJC is authorized to investigate and sanction judges pursuant to M.G.L. c. 211C.

Judges may be sanctioned if they fail to conduct proceedings in a fair and impartial manner or if they show bias against litigants or their attorneys.

A judge who manifests bias or prejudice or engages in harassment in a proceeding impairs the fairness of the proceeding and brings the judiciary into disrepute. A judge must avoid words or conduct that may reasonably be perceived as manifesting bias or prejudice or engaging in harassment. 

Rule 2.3, Comment 1.

The same rules notes that

As used in this Rule, examples of manifestations of bias or prejudice include but are not limited to epithets; slurs; demeaning nicknames; negative stereotyping; attempted humor based upon stereotypes; threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts; improper suggestions of connections between status or condition and crime; and irrelevant references to personal characteristics. Even facial expressions and body language can convey an appearance of bias or prejudice to parties and lawyers in the proceeding, jurors, the media, and others. 

Rule 2.3, Comment 3. Emphasis added.

If you believe that a judge has been unfair, biased, or hostile towards you, you can file a complaint with the CJC using this form.

It’s advisable to get the court’s audio record of the proceedings and provide those to the CJC along with your complaint. Massachusetts court records can be request by setting up an online account with

The CJC will not review the legal merit of a judge’s rulings. As noted in M.G.L., c. 211C, Section 4:

In the absence of fraud, corrupt motive, bad faith, or clear indication that the judge’s conduct violates the code of judicial conduct, the commission shall not take action against a judge for making findings of fact, reaching a legal conclusion, or applying the law as he understands it. Commission proceedings shall not be a substitute for an appeal.