Rules every judicial candidate or judge must follow: http://judicialconductboardofpa.org/rules-governing-standards-of-conduct-of-magisterial-district-judges/
On January 4, 2010, I was sworn into office as the Magisterial District Judge for District 31-1-03. It was one of the greatest honors of my life, because I was chosen by my community to continue my public service.
I was certified as qualified to be a Magisterial District Judge in 2008 by the Adminstrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts and have undergone numerous training sessions since my election. In addition to my judicial duties, I volunteer to instruct Police Candidates on how the Pennsylvania Judicial System is set up and how it is expected to work. It is part of the Commonwealth mandated training that Police Academy trainees receive. I am also on the Criminal Justice Advisory Board for Lehigh County, which is a board of professionals in the criminal justice field. Our job is to ensure that the best practices are being utilized throughout the various disciplines of the Criminal Justice System. I also participate in the Bail project that the county is currently working on. I am also currently serving on the Lehigh County facilities security committee.
I was reelected in 2015, and I am running for reelection this year in the hopes of serving another 6 years.
Listed below is a summary of what a Magisterial District Judge is responsible for –
Conduct Preliminary Arraignments and set hearing dates and bail. When a person is arrested on a criminal charge of misdemeanor or felony, the criminal complaint is reviewed with the defendant to make sure they understand what they are charged with and what the potential penalties could be. They are also advised of thier hearing date, and they have an opportunity to address bail. They are also advised of thier right to have an attorney represent them. The next step in the process is to conduct a preliminary hearing. At that hearing a determination is made to send the case to the Court of Common Pleas, or dismiss it. I can accept guilty pleas on misdemeanors and issue sentences of no more than 1 year incarceration or probation.
Conduct Summary Trials for Traffic Citations/Parking Tickets and Summary (Non-Traffic) Criminal Offenses. Most Non Traffic summary offenses carry a maximum sentence of 90 days in prison or a $300 fine or both.
I schedule and hear Landlord Tenant Complaints and determine if a person should be evicted from thier home/apartment due to non-payment of rent or lease violation. I also hear cross complaints that may be filed by tenants against the landlord.
I schedule and hear Civil complaints that are no more than $12,000. This may be a contract dispute, non payment of credit card debt, etc.
I schedule and hear Private Criminal Complaints that are either aproved by the District Attorney or Summary Private Complaints filed by citizens.
I issue search warrants for police investigations based on probable cause.
I issue Emergency Protection From Abuse orders to battered spouses/partners
I conduct weddings and swearing in of local officials.
I participate in training opportunities to keep up to date on the latest legal changes.
I serve on committees and attend meetings pertaining to local rules and issues.
Although I am an elected official, I may only particpate in politics in the year that I run for reelection. I cannot support or contribute to another candidate at any time.
I can not make promises on how I will rule on hypothetical cases other than to say that I will consider all the facts and circumstances presented to me and arrive at a fair, just and equitable decision. Please see attached link at the top of this page for all the rules we are required to abide by.
I am responsible for all financial transactions that go through my court and I am required to file paperwork on a weekly basis with the Commonwealth to document all transactions that take place.
The office is currently located at 1428 W Hamilton Street, Allentown, Pa. 18102 and is staffed by an office manager, 2 full time clerks, and 2 part time clerks.
The office is audited by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and County of Lehigh. In addition to financial audits, best practice audits are conducted as well.