Judicial Branch Certification Commission

Complaints 

The Judicial Branch Certification Commission Compliance Section investigates complaints against Court Reporters and Court Reporting Firms, Guardians, Process Servers, and License Court Interpreters.

To file a complaint against a Certified Court Reporter, a Court Reporting Firm, a Certified Guardian, a Certified Process Server or a Licensed Court Interpreter, you must complete the Complaint Form. The Complainant's identity is not confidential. A copy of the complaint and any related documentation may be forwarded to the Respondent, including your name and contact information. The documents and information provided may be released to the public. 

Below is an overview of the Complaint and Resolution Process.

Complaint Initiation and Investigation

The JBCC, through the Director, may conduct complaint based investigations to enforce the laws administered by the JBCC. Upon receipt of a signed complaint form, the Compliance Section will determine (1) if JBCC has jurisdiction, and (2) if the complaint alleges misconduct. The JBCC may request additional information from the Complainant. The complaint should include the Complainant's and Respondent's name and contact information, a description of the allegations, and any relevant documentation. If JBCC determines it does not have jurisdiction over the issue raised in the complaint, or the complaint clearly does not allege any misconduct, the complaint will be administratively dismissed.

When a complaint is opened for investigation, an opening letter is sent to the Complainant and Respondent, informing the parties that an investigation has been initiated. Both parties are sent the complaint form and any related documents. The opening letter requests that the Respondent submit to the JBCC a written answer to the complaint within twenty (20) days of the date of the notice. If the Respondent is a provisionally-certified guardian, the JBCC must also send a copy of the complaint and attachments to the guardian's supervisor.

As a standard practice, the Compliance Investigator will interview the Complainant, the Respondent, and any pertinent witnesses, either by telephone or in person. The investigator will also gather copies of any documents relevant to the complaint. After the investigation is complete, the investigator will prepare a detailed report of the facts, answering who, what, when, where, how and why of the complaint. The Director may dismiss complaints that clearly do not allege misconduct or are not within the JBCC's jurisdiction. The Director must inform the JBCC of all dismissals made in this way. A person who files a complaint that is dismissed by the Director may request in writing that the JBCC reconsider the complaint.

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Review and Complaint Resolution

Upon completion of the Investigation, the Compliance Section will refer the complaint to a Review Committee, established by the JBCC and comprised of members of the appropriate advisory board. The Review Committee must meet to review the complaint, answer, and information gathered by the Compliance Investigator and make the initial determination on whether a violation occurred. If the Review Committee determines that a violation occurred, it will recommend the imposition of a penalty, a sanction, or both.

The Complainant and Respondent may attend the Review Committee's meetings, but their participation is at the discretion of the Committee. The Review Committee must make its recommendation to the JBCC in writing and notify the Respondent of its recommendation.

The JBCC must review the determination and recommendation of the Review Committee, accept or revise the determination and recommendation as necessary, and give the Respondent written notice by certified mail of the JBCC's determination on whether a violation occurred and each recommended penalty or sanction, if any. An administrative penalty is a monetary fine paid by the Respondent to the State of Texas. A sanction is an action upon the Respondent's certification, and may include suspension of the certification, probation, a written reprimand, or outright revocation of the certification. The amount of an administrative penalty may not exceed $500 for each violation, and each day a violation continues or occurs is a separate violation for purposes of imposing a penalty.

Factors considered by the JBCC in determining the amount of penalty or level of sanction include:

  1. The seriousness of the violation, including the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the violation.
  2. The threat to health or safety caused by the violation.
  3. Any previous violations.
  4. The amount necessary to deter a future violation.
  5. Whether the violator demonstrated good faith, including, when applicable, whether the violator made good faith efforts to correct the violation.
  6. Any other matter that justice may require.

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Hearing Before the JBCC

Not later than the 20th day after the date the Respondent receives the Notice of Alleged Violation, the Respondent may accept in writing the determination and recommended penalty or sanction of the JBCC, or request a hearing on the occurrence of the violation, the imposition or amount of the penalty, the imposition of the sanction, or any combination.

If the Respondent accepts the determination and recommended penalty or sanction or fails to respond to the notice, the JBCC by order must approve the determination and impose the recommended penalty or sanction. If the Respondent requests a hearing, the JBCC must give the Respondent written notice of the hearing that includes the time, place, legal authority, and jurisdiction under which the hearing is held and the laws and rules related to the violation. The JBCC must also give the Complainant written notice of the time and place of hearing.

The Respondent may appear, testify, present evidence, and respond to questions from the JBCC at the hearing. The Complainant may appear and may testify at the discretion of the prosecutor and the presiding officer. A party may appear by telephone or video conference, or present the testimony of a witness by telephone or video conference.

On request of the JBCC, at least one member of the applicable advisory board review committee must attend the hearing to consult with the JBCC on the reasons for the advisory board review committee's recommendations. At the hearing, the JBCC must apply the general rules of evidence applicable in district court, except that the JBCC may admit and consider any information the JBCC determines is relevant, trustworthy, and necessary for a full and fair adjudication and determination of fact or law. The JBCC may establish rules for the conduct of the hearing.

The JBCC must deliberate and announce its decision at the conclusion of the hearing. The JBCC must make findings of fact and conclusions of law and promptly issue an order on the occurrence of the violation, the amount of any penalty imposed, and the imposition of any sanction. The JBCC must give the Respondent and Complainant notice and a copy of the order.

The Complainant and Respondent are each responsible for their own costs of preparing for and attending the hearing. If the Respondent fails to appear at the hearing, upon proof that notice of the hearing was given to Respondent, the JBCC may proceed in the Respondent's absence; and the factual allegations in the complaint may be deemed admitted.

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Appeal of Order

A person seeking to appeal an order imposing a penalty and/or sanction must submit a written appeal of such order to the General Counsel of the Office of Court Administration within 30 days after the JBCC's order is issued. The General Counsel must promptly forward the appeal to a special committee consisting of three Administrative Regional Presiding Judges.

The special committee must consider the appeal under an abuse of discretion standard of review for all issues except issues involving questions of law. The standard of review for issues involving questions of law is de novo. Under either standard, the burden is on the appellant to establish that the JBCC's decision was erroneous.

For further information relating to the process, please refer to the JBCC rules.

Updated: 01/20/2017