2009-04-30 / Local & State

Horne Recertified As Magisterial District Judge

Magisterial District Judge Devin C. Horne was 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 updates were on civil law, including bankruptcy law and landlord/tenant, criminal law and the motor vehicle code; information pertaining to evidentiary issues, and gang awareness, benefits overview, an update on municipal law, eight station overview and demonstration, service members' civil relief act, teen violence and cyber bullying, AOPC MEAD update, public access policy for paper records and effectively dealing with difficult people.

Continuing education course work is required by statute for each of the more than 500 PA magisterial district judges, with approximately 50 magisterial district judges attending one of 13 such classes at some time during each year.

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 hearing sin criminal cases.

Established by Constitution, the administrative office of Pennsylvania Courts provides support to the Supreme Court in exercising its supervisory duties over each of the other state courts. The Minor Judiciary Education Board was established by legislative act to administer the continuing education program for magisterial district judges, Philadelphia traffic court judges, and Philadelphia bail commissioners, as well as certifying courses for magisterial district judges, bail commissioners and other minor court judges.

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