My personal life philosophy is:
A: people see things differently depending on their perspective and their life experience
B: Conflict can be creative, or it can be a monumental waste of time and psychic energy
C: People want to be heard and respected
D: There is more connecting us than dividing us.
E: We often get what we focus on
F: We have a choice whether to respond or react
G: We get farther if we work together
Magisterial District Courts are the first level of Pennsylvania's Unified Judicial System. They are presided over
by Magisterial District Judges (MDJs), who are elected by the voters in each respective district.
The Jurisdiction of Magisterial District Judges (MDJs) includes suits involving as much as $12,000 in civil matters,
such as suits for breach of contract and actions of trespass, in which matters they have the authority to hear the
cases and render judgments. Their decisions are subject to appeal to the Court of Common Pleas. They have
additional civil jurisdiction over such matters as landlord and tenant cases.
Almost all criminal cases (felonies and misdemeanors) begin in the Magisterial District Courts, which issue search
warrants, arrest warrants and summonses.
Magisterial District Judges (MDJs) set bail, make referrals to diversionary programs and preside over preliminary
hearings. It is during preliminary hearings where MDJs decide if there is enough information to forward a case to
the Court of Common Pleas for trial.
MDJs can accept guilty pleas and impose sentence for certain misdemeanors. They also preside over the following
summary charges: minor violations under the crimes code, most traffic violations, violations of city, borough and
township ordinances and violations of the fish, game and dog laws. MDJs in summary cases function as both judge
and jury. They hear evidence, make a ruling and impose sentence if there is a conviction.
Origins of the Pennsylvania Courts?
In 1673, inhabitants of the “South River” (as the Delaware River was then known) journeyed
to New Amsterdam (New York) The deputies, “entering and delivering their credentials,...including a
request that they may be granted and allowed some privileges, handing in, to that effect, some articles
…… They were allowed "free trade," "rights in the government" and "Freedom of Conscience."
The document goes on to say:
“And whereas it is highly necessary for the maintenance of good order, police and so forth, that the
inhabitants of the South river be provided with some courts of justice, we have therefore deemed it
necessary to order and instruct the inhabitants of said river to nominate by plurality of votes, for each
court, eight persons as magistrates…….”
The Court at Upland (Chester) started to sit in 1676, but in 1680, decided
In regard the Upland Creek where the Court hitherto hath sat is at the lower
end of the County _ the Court therefore for the most ease of the people have
thought fit for the future to sit & meet at the Town of Kingsess in the
Schuylkills. ….Records, June 8, 1680
(William Penn received the Charter in 1681 and a new era began )
|Magisterial Judges can also perform marriages