skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 78520 Find in a Library
Title: Developing Role of the Magistrate in the Federal Courts
Journal: Cleveland State Law Review  Volume:29  Issue:1  Dated:(1980)  Pages:81-96
Author(s): J B Streepy
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 16
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article explores the role of the United States magistrate in the Federal judicial system both nationally and in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
Abstract: The magistrate system in the Federal judiciary was established by the 1968 Federal magistrates act. The magistrate position was made analogous to the career service, with salaries instead of the previous fee system. Magistrates were given definite terms of office and new authority in both civil and criminal jurisdiction. The number of full-time magistrate positions grew nationally from 61 in 1970 to 196 by 1979, while the number of part-time magistrate positions decreased from 449 to 271 during the same period. The total number of matters considered by magistrates grew from 237,522 in 1972 to 292,179 in 1979. Civil responsibilities cover pretrial conferences, matters which do not involve disposition of a case, and hearings and recommendations on such dispositive matters as motions for injunctive relief and petitions challenging conditions of confinement. Evidentiary hearings may be held on these matters. A judge may also designate a magistrate to serve as a special master pursuant to Rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Magistrates have occasionally been assigned other civil matters, such as presiding over the oath of citizenship given to new United States citizens. The October 1979 amendment of the 1968 law permits magistrates to conduct all proceedings and order the entry of judgement in any civil action upon consent of the parties. In criminal cases, magistrates handle those preliminary proceedings which were previously handled by commissioners. Magistrates may try and sentence persons involved in misdemeanors in the district. However, the 1979 amendment granting full case jurisdiction to the magistrate has not been tested in court. The role of the magistrate will probably undergo more changes in the future. Reference notes and appendixes containing sections of the relevant Federal law are provided.
Index Term(s): District Courts; Magistrates
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.