2012-05-24 / Local & State

Bard Recertified As District Justice

Magisterial District Judge Tamela Mellott Bard 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 program 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 Pennsylvania motor vehicle code, civil law/blighted property, bail, bankruptcy, accommodations of litigants in court, ADA, employment law, FMLA, UJS nondiscrimination policy, social media, weighted caseload & MDJS reports, MDJS rewrite update, court security, criminal law update, drug identification, magisterial district court veterans diversion program, truancy, mental health law and digital stalking.

Continuing education course work is required by statute of each of the more than 500 Pennsylvania magisterial district judges, with approximately 50 magisterial district judges attending one of 13 such classes at some time during each academic 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 $12,000. Magisterial district judges may also accept guilty pleas in misdemeanor cases of the third degree under certain circumstances. Magisterial district judges also have jurisdiction to issue arrest and search warrants and to hold arraignments and preliminary hearings in criminal cases.

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