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Judge Bruce Appleton recertified as magisterial district judge

Published November 25. 2009 05:00PM

Magisterial District Judge Bruce F. Appleton 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 facility for Magisterial District Judges is held in Harrisburg.

The week-long 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 the year's curriculum are updates on Civil Law, including bankruptcy law and landlord/tenant law, criminal law and the motor vehicle code; courses pertaining to understanding and valuing diversity; tobacco sales to minors; clean indoor air act; MDJS rewrite update; state and procedure audits and reports; protection from abuse update; and overview of the Supreme Court criminal and minor courts rules committee; non-discrimination policy, rule 509; updates on evidence; arrest and administrative warrants and risk management for depression and stress.

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 $8,000. 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.

Established by Constitution, the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts provides support to the Supreme Court in exercising its supervisory duties over each of the other state courts. The Minor Judiciary Education Board was established by legislative act to administer the continuing education program for magisterial district judges, Philadelphia Traffic Court Judges and Philadelphia Arraignment Court Magistrates (formerly Bail Commissioners), as well as certifying courses for magisterial district judges, Philadelphia Traffic Court Judges and Philadelphia Arraignment Court Magistrates and other initial jurisdiction court judges.

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