2008-10-02 / Family

Mellott, Knepper Recertified As Magisterial District Judges

Magisterial District Judge Wendy Richards Mellott and Senior Magisterial District Judge Brenda M. Knepper were again certified for service as a member of Pennsylvania's Unified Judicial System after successful completion recently of continuing legal education course work. Conducted by the Minor Judiciary Education Board (MJEB) and the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC), the educational facility for magisterial district judges is held in Harrisburg.

The weeklong instructional program is designed to ensure that magisterial district judges remain current in a variety of legal topics and management techniques required to fairly adjudicate cases and effectively supervise a district court office. Included in this year's curriculum are updates on civil law, including bankruptcy law and landlord/tenant, criminal law and the Motor Vehicle Code, information pertaining to evidentiary issues, an overview on gangs, a municipal law update, weigh station overview and demonstration, Service Members' Civil Relief Act, teen violence and cyber bullying. AOPC MDJS update, public access policy for paper records and effectively dealing with difficult people.

Magisterial district judges represent the "grass roots" level of Pennsylvania's judicial system. In counties other than Philadelphia, district judges have jurisdiction over summary, criminal and motor vehicle cases; landlord/tenant matters, and other civil actions where the amount claimed does not exceed $8,000. Magisterial district judges may also accept guilty pleas in misdemeanor cases of the third degree under certain circumstances. They also have jurisdiction to issue arrest and search warrants and to hold arraignments and preliminary hearings in criminal cases.

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