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A five-year audit of California’s judicial watchdog agency found it failed to thoroughly probe allegations of misconduct and ignored patterns of wrongdoing by some judges.

The report by California State Auditor Elaine M. Howle, released Thursday, determined that the Commission on Judicial Performance failed to take all reasonable steps to probe allegations of judicial misconduct in about a third of the cases the auditor reviewed.

The watchdog board, created in 1960, disciplines errant judges in a variety of ways, from sending private advisory letters for relatively minor misconduct to removing jurists from the bench.

The commission is made up of judges, lawyers and members of the public appointed by the governor, the Legislature and the California Supreme Court.

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