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Understanding and Working with the District Judges August 22, 2013. Call in number: 1-800-309-2350 Pass Code: 2369526#. Your Cooperation is Needed. Please mute your phone *6 To ask questions and open your line *6 This will help all of our friends!. PSAB’s Blended Training. Webinars

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Understanding and working with the district judges august 22 2013
Understanding and Working with the District Judges August 22, 2013

Call in number: 1-800-309-2350

Pass Code: 2369526#


Your cooperation is needed
Your Cooperation is Needed

Please mute your phone *6

To ask questions and open your line *6

This will help all of our friends!


Psab s blended training
PSAB’s Blended Training

  • Webinars

  • Traditional Classroom Sessions

  • One-on-One Assistance


Upcoming training
Upcoming Training

Webinars

Working with District Judges Aug 22

Bringing Broadband Services to All of Pa.* Aug 27

Neighborhood Dispute Settlement* Aug 28

CDL Drug and Alcohol Policies and Procedures Aug 29

* Free to PSAB members


Upcoming classroom training
Upcoming Classroom Training

The Course in Community Planning

The Course in Zoning

The Course in Subdivision & Land Development Review

Municipal Officials Training & Update

The Course in Zoning AdministrationBasic Municipal Budgeting

Confined Space Training

PSAB’s Fall Leadership Conference

Oct. 18 – 20

Pittsburgh, Pa.

www.boroughs.org/


Pennsylvania s magisterial district justice system

Pennsylvania’s Magisterial District Justice System

Presentation for the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs

August 22, 2013

By Joseph Mittleman, Director of Judicial Programs, AOPC



A little history
A little history

  • Justices of the peace part of British legal system and carried over to America.

  • Office established as elected office under Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776 and retained in constitutions of 1790, 1838 and 1874.

  • Duties included settling disputes within their jurisdiction.

  • Each municipality had a justice of the peace, but each JP had county-wide jurisdiction.

  • Salary was paid solely through fees.


A little history1
A little history

  • Constitution of 1968 modernized system

    • Reduced number of judges

    • Created magisterial districts

    • Compensated by salary paid by state

    • Elected to six-year terms

    • Mandatory retirement at age seventy (can serve as senior MDJ until age seventy-eight)


Qualifications of office
Qualifications of Office

  • Twenty-one years of age

  • Resident of magisterial district for at least one year prior to election

  • Member of the bar or take four-week educational course and pass certifying exam

  • MDJs permitted to have outside income, including law practice


Mdj education
MDJ Education

  • Minor Judiciary Education Board

    • Four-week certification course

    • Orientation course for all newly-elected MDJS

    • Annual one-week continuing education course

  • Failure to stay current with educational requirements can lead to suspension from duties.


District boundaries
District Boundaries

  • District Boundaries drawn by Supreme Court

  • Rules governing boundaries

    • No district can cross county lines

    • Municipalities can be divided, but smallest voting districts cannot be split.

  • Central Courts

    • 21 Counties have established central courts for more efficient processing of cases


Mdj administration
MDJ Administration

  • Supreme Court

  • AOPC

    • MDJS

  • President Judges


Jurisdiction of an mdj
Jurisdiction of an MDJ

  • Civil matters

    • Claims seeking monetary judgment of $12,000 or less

  • Criminal

    • Preliminary arraignments

      • Reading of charges and setting bail

    • Preliminary hearings

    • Search warrants

    • Arrest warrants

    • Private criminal complaints


Jurisdiction of an mdj1
Jurisdiction of an MDJ

  • Landlord/tenant

    • Eviction

    • Money judgment for matters under $12,000

  • Traffic

  • Non-traffic summary cases

    • Criminal cases – summary offenses

    • Municipal citations


Jurisdiction of an mdj2
Jurisdiction of an MDJ

  • Miscellaneous

    • Oaths

    • Marriages

    • Truancy

    • Emergency Protection from Abuse matters


Magisterial district statistics 2012
Magisterial District Statistics2012

  • Criminal

    • New cases filed: 211,247

    • Cases disposed: 189,264

  • Private Criminal Complaints

    • New cases filed: 58,682

    • Cases disposed: 60,796


Magisterial district statistics 20121
Magisterial District Statistics2012

  • Traffic

    • New cases filed: 1,561,593

    • Cases disposed: 1,562,934

  • Non-traffic

    • New cases filed: 351,050

    • Cases disposed: 352,737


Magisterial district statistics 20122
Magisterial District Statistics2012

  • Civil

    • New cases filed: 138,468

    • Cases disposed: 147,972

  • Landlord/Tenant

    • New cases filed: 91,136

    • Cases disposed: 90,140

  • Protection from Abuse

    • New cases filed: 7,048

    • Cases disposed: 7,048





Getting a case before an mdj
Getting a case before an MDJ

  • Municipalities, other than the police, are most likely to be before an MDJ for:

    • Parking tickets

    • Violation of municipal ordinance


Getting a case before an mdj1
Getting a case before an MDJ

  • Parking cases

    • Comes before MDJ if ticketed individual:

      • Fails to respond

      • Contests ticket


Getting a case before an mdj2
Getting a case before an MDJ

  • Municipal Ordinance

    • Issuance of citation by personal service or by certified mail, return receipt requested (can also be by criminal complaint)

    • Citation filed with MDJ within five days of issuance

    • Defendant has ten days of filing to respond (in person or by mail)


Getting a case before an mdj3
Getting a case before an MDJ

  • Pleading guilty

    • By mail

      • Paying full amount if fine and costs listed on citation

    • Appearing before MDJ

      • MDJ imposes fine and costs. Payment may be made immediately, or MDJ can place defendant on payment plan


Getting a case before an mdj4
Getting a case before an MDJ

  • Pleading not guilty (by mail or in person)

    • MDJ sets trial date

    • Defendant must deposit collateral (usually amount of fine or cost for offense)

    • Notices sent to parties

    • All parties may request subpoenas be issued to necessary witnesses


Getting a case before an mdj5
Getting a case before an MDJ

  • If defendant fails to respond

    • Arrest warrant will issue

    • Arresting officer can take payment for full amount of fine and costs if stated on warrant

      Or

    • Defendant is taken before MDJ, trial date set, defendant posts collateral and is released


What to expect at a hearing
What to expect at a hearing

  • Borough is prosecuting agency

    • You go first – solicitor, code enforcement officer, etc.

    • You have the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt

    • Reasonable Doubt: Proof of such a convincing character that a reasonable person would not hesitate to rely and act upon it in the most important of his or her affairs.


What to expect at a hearing1
What to expect at a hearing

  • Rules of Evidence and Rules of Procedure apply (but MDJs are typically more informal than court of common pleas)

  • If defendant fails to appear, MDJ can continue case, or may hold hearing in defendant’s absence. Borough still has to prove case, even if defendant does not appear.

  • Defendant entitled to attorney, but may proceed without one. (No public defenders for summary cases unless jail sentence is likely.)


What to expect at a hearing2
What to expect at a hearing

  • Borough presents evidence

    • Testimony of borough official

      • Hearsay generally not permitted

      • Can use statements made by defendant

    • Testimony of witnesses

    • Photographs

      • Need to establish when photograph was taken and who took it, preferably through testimony of photographer

    • Other physical evidence


What to expect at a hearing3
What to expect at a hearing

  • Borough official should conduct questioning

  • MDJ may ask questions

  • Defendant or his attorney may cross examine witnesses

  • Defendant may present evidence

  • Borough official may cross-examine defense witnesses

  • Defendant does not have to testify


What to expect at a hearing4
What to expect at a hearing

  • Verdict

    • Must be given at conclusion of hearing

    • Not guilty

      • Defendant’s collateral is returned and case is over

    • Guilty

      • Judge imposes sentence

        • Fines and costs

        • Imprisonment


What happens after the hearing
What happens after the hearing?

  • Right of appeal

    • Defendant has right to appeal to court of common pleas

    • Appeal must be filed within 30 days

    • On appeal, new hearing is held

  • Payment

    • Collateral is used to pay fines and costs

    • Any unpaid balance may be due immediately or MDJ can place defendant on payment plan


What happens after the hearing1
What happens after the hearing?

  • Default: What if he doesn’t pay?

    • If defendant notifies court of inability to pay

      • MDJ can adjust payment plan

      • Can schedule hearing where defendant must prove change in his or her financial status, which renders him or her unable to meet the payment schedule.


What happens after the hearing2
What happens after the hearing?

  • Default: What if he doesn’t pay?

    • If defendant stops paying

      • Notice is sent by first class mail to defendant that within 10 days he must make payment or show cause why they should not be imprisoned for failing to pay.

      • If defendant fails to respond, arrest warrant issued. When warrant is executed, defendant is brought before MDJ for hearing to show cause why they should not be imprisoned for failing to pay.


Search warrants
Search Warrants

  • US and PA Constitutions protect citizens from “unreasonable searches and seizures.”

  • Search warrants are required for most governmental searches.

  • Two types of search warrants

    • General warrant – used for criminal investigations

    • Administrative warrants – inspections to ensure compliance with administrative codes


Search warrants requirements differ for each type of warrant
Search WarrantsRequirements differ for each type of warrant

  • Review

    • General warrant – must be approved by judicial officer

    • Administrative warrants – can be approved by non-judicial official


Search warrants requirements differ for each type of warrant1
Search WarrantsRequirements differ for each type of warrant

  • Probable cause

    • General warrant – requires probability that evidence of crime will be discovered.

    • Administrative warrant

      • Does not require belief that building contains code violations

      • Requires only that reasonable legislative or administrative standards for conducting an area inspection are satisfied with respect to a particular dwelling.


Search warrants exceptions
Search WarrantsExceptions

  • Exigent Circumstances

  • Special Needs

  • Pervasively Regulated Businesses

    Businesses that require a permit or license to operate may be required as a condition of the permit or license to allow inspections, and failure to do so may result in fine or revocation of the permit or license.


Obtaining a search warrant
Obtaining a Search Warrant

  • Complete search warrant form found on Pennsylvania Courts website.

  • http://www.pacourts.us/Links/LawEnforcement/PoliceForms.htm

  • Form can be accessed by a police officer or by a borough official requesting access by e-mailing: [email protected]


Questions
Questions?

Joseph Mittleman

Director of Judicial Programs

Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts

1515 Market Street, Suite 1414

Philadelphia, PA 19102

215-560-6300

[email protected]


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