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The 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 3: Report; appropriations; offices; rules; immunity; executive director; proceedings

Section 3. (1) The commission shall report only to the supreme judicial court. The commission shall be allowed for its purposes annually such amount as shall be appropriated for it by the general court. The commission shall be provided with adequate offices. The commission may adopt rules of procedure, without compliance with the provisions of chapter thirty A, but subject to the approval of the supreme judicial court, and may develop appropriate forms for its proceedings. Such rules shall establish reasonable time limits for all stages of commission proceedings and standards for extending time limits applicable to commission proceedings.

(2) Members of the commission, hearing officers, commission counsel, and staff shall be absolutely immune from suit for all conduct in the course of their official duties. A complaint submitted to the commission or its staff and communications related to the complaint shall be absolutely privileged, and no civil action predicated on the complaint or on such a communication may be instituted against any complainant or witness or his counsel; provided, however, such immunity from suit shall apply only to communications to the commission or its staff and shall not apply to public disclosure of information contained in or relating to the complaint.

(3) The commission shall appoint an executive director who shall serve at the pleasure of the commission. The executive director shall be a member of the Massachusetts bar, shall serve full time, and shall not engage in the practice of law. The executive director shall receive an annual salary, subject to appropriation, which is fixed by the commission consistent with classification and compensation policies of the supreme judicial court, and such expenses as are approved by the commission and incurred in the discharge of the executive director's duties.

(4) The executive director shall have duties and responsibilities as prescribed by the commission, including the authority to:

(a) receive information, allegations, and complaints;

(b) make preliminary evaluations;

(c) screen complaints;

(d) conduct investigations;

(e) recommend dispositions;

(f) maintain the commission's records;

(g) maintain statistics concerning the operation of the commission and make them available to the commission and to the supreme judicial court;

(h) prepare the commission's budget for approval by the commission and administer its funds;

(i) employ and supervise other members of the commission's staff;

(j) prepare the annual report of the commission's activities required pursuant to section four; and

(k) employ, with the approval of the commission and subject to appropriation, special counsel, private investigators, or other experts, and clerical assistants, as necessary to investigate and process matters before the commission and before the supreme judicial court. Neither the attorney general's staff nor law enforcement officers shall be employed for this purpose.

(5) The supreme judicial court may delegate the power to enforce process in commission proceedings to another appropriate court. A witness at any stage of commission proceedings may rely on any privilege applicable to civil proceedings.