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NCJ Number: 63084 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: UTILIZATION AND IMPACT OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATES - A PILOT STUDY
Author(s): A M PADAWER-SINGER; R GOLDMAN; S PURO
Corporate Author: US Dept of Justice
Office for Improvements in the Admin of Justice
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 131
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20530
Contract Number: J-42665
Publication Number: FJRP-79/006
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: BASED ON DATA GATHERED IN 1978 FROM TWO FEDERAL DISTRICT COURTS IN NEW YORK, MAGISTRATES ARE PLAYING AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN PERFORMING A VARIETY OF FUNCTIONS THAT WERE PREVIOUSLY HANDLED BY JUDGES.
Abstract: THE MAGISTRATE SYSTEM WAS LEGISLATED IN 1968 AND EXPANDED IN 1976 TO ASSIST OVERBURDENED FEDERAL JUDGES. THIS PILOT STUDY WAS CONDUCTED IN THE NEW YORK SOUTHERN AND EASTERN DISTRICT COURTS; BOTH HAVE BEEN INNOVATIVE IN USING MAGISTRATES BUT HANDLE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CASES. DATA SOURCES INCLUDED ANNUAL REPORTS AND MAGISTRATES' MONTHLY REPORTS TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE U.S. COURTS, MAGISTRATES' FILES, INVESTORY OF PENDING MATTERS BEFORE THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT MAGISTRATES, AND DOCKET SHEETS. INTERVIEWS WERE ALSO CONDUCTED WITH JUDGES, MAGISTRATES, COURT PERSONNEL, AND LAWYERS WHO APPEARED BEFORE THE MAGISTRATES. ANALYSIS OF A SAMPLE OF CASES THAT WERE REFERRED AS OFTEN AS THEY WERE RETAINED INDICATED THAT MAGISTRATES TOOK APPROXIMATELY THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME TO DISPOSE OF A CASE AS DID JUDGES. THE USE OF MAGISTRATES VARIED DEPENDING ON THE INDIVIDUAL NEEDS OF THE JUDGE AND INCREASED DRAMATICALLY FOR CIVIL PRETRIAL PROCEEDINGS IN BOTH DISTRICTS. MORE COMPLEX CIVIL MATTERS WERE BEING GIVEN TO MAGISTRATES, WHILE THE NUMBER OF PETTY AND MINOR OFFENSES REMAINED STABLE. APPEALS FROM NONDISPOSITIVE RULINGS AND REVERSALS OF MAGISTRATES' DECISIONS HAVE BEEN RARE. BECAUSE MAGISTRATES ARE MORE ACCESSIBLE THAN JUDGES, THEY CAN KEEP THE PRETRIAL STAGES OF LITIGATION MOVING AT A STEADY PACE, ALTHOUGH SOME COURT PERSONNEL FELT THAT ACCESSIBILITY ALSO ENCOURAGED DILATORY MOTIONS. JUDGES AND MAGISTRATES WERE CONCERNED THAT AN INCREASING NUMBER OF SUBSTANTIVE CASES BEING REFERRED TO MAGISTRATES WOULD THREATEN THEIR ABILITY TO KEEP UP WITH PRETRIAL MATTERS. THE STUDY CONCLUDES WITH RECOMMENDATIONS CONCERNING FLEXIBLE SELECTION PROCESSES FOR MAGISTRATES, TRAINING SESSIONS, METHODOLOGY, AND EXPANDED DATA SOURCES FOR FURTHER EVALUATIVE REPORTS. SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVING THE SYSTEM WITHOUT RADICAL CHANGES INCLUDE PROVIDING MAGISTRATES WITH LAW CLERKS AND COURT REPORTERS, SETTING DEADLINES FOR TRIAL DATES, AND EQUALIZING WORKLOADS. THE REPORT OPPOSES ANY INCREASES IN REFERRALS OF COMPLEX TRIALS TO MAGISTRATES, A GROUP OF JUDGES BEING ASSIGNED TO ONE PARTICULAR MAGISTRATE, AND ONLY ONE TYPE OF MATTER BEING ASSIGNED TO A MAGISTRATE. FOOTNOTES ARE PROVIDED. APPENDIXES CONTAIN QUESTIONNAIRES USED IN INTERVIEWING COURT PERSONNEL AND LAWYERS. (MJM)
Index Term(s): Court case flow; National Association of Legal Investigators; New York
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=63084

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