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Eyeing new magistrate openings

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Within a year, the federal court system that covers the southern half of Indiana could have two new full-time magistrates, one being a newly created position that would be the first creation of its kind in almost three decades.

At a meeting June 11, the 13-member Committee on the Administration of the Magistrate Judges System unanimously agreed that the Southern District of Indiana should be one of six nationally to receive a new full-time magistrate position. Chief Judge Richard Young in Indianapolis sits on the committee that makes recommendations to the Judicial Conference of the United States, which will consider those recommendations and make a final decision when it meets in September.

This is the first request of its kind for the Southern District since the early 1980s, according to Chief Judge Young. It would be a significant change for the court jurisdiction that is one of the nation’s busiest.
 

richard young Young

“I feel that it’s justified because we have for a long time been one of the busiest District courts in the nation,” he said about the new position, noting that the Judicial Conference has previously approved an additional Article III judgeship here but Congress hasn’t yet authorized that. “With the budget and economy like it is, I don’t see Congress passing a judgeship bill in the near future. So, in order to acquire judicial help in our District, we decided to request an additional magistrate judge.”

Congress had previously authorized the Judicial Conference to create six new positions, according to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts. Aside from this requested position, Chief Judge Young said the committee’s other recommendations also include the Central District of California, the District of Nevada, and the District of Minnesota. The committee chair, Chief Judge George King in the Central District of California in Los Angeles, could not be reached to confirm all six of the positions by IL deadline for this story.

But Chief Judge Young said that if the position is approved later this year, the new magistrate would be based in Indianapolis where space is available. That was one item the committee considered because the District wouldn’t have to find or rent space for a new magistrate and add to the budget. Any new magistrate would join the current full-time Magistrate Judges Tim Baker, Debra McVicker Lynch, and William Hussman; as well as part-time Magistrates Craig McKee and Mike Naville who handle search warrant and criminal matters; and recalled Magistrate Kennard Foster.

That person would add to the change already taking place at the Southern District following the recent confirmation of Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson for an Article III judgeship. The Senate confirmed her nomination June 7 and she was sworn in June 14, creating a magistrate position opening for the first time since January 2007 when she took that post.

Finding someone to fill the potential new magistrate spot would happen the same way as is now occurring with the position vacated by Judge Magnus-Stinson: a merit-selection panel made up of 15 to 17 attorney and non-attorney members has been formed to review applications, handle interviews, and select candidates to recommend for the position, Chief Judge Young said. The process is confidential to protect applicants’ privacy, and the five most qualified candidates will be forwarded to the District judges for consideration and final approval.

Applicants – who should generally have practiced for at least five years and be 70 years old or younger – have until July 14 to apply. The position pays an annual salary of $160,080 and runs for an eight-year term before that person is eligible for reappointment.

A magistrate judge gets initial assignments and handles pre-trial work and mediation and settlement conferences. Magistrates also have limited jurisdiction in criminal cases to hear only misdemeanors. Parties can consent to allow magistrates to hear full cases and take them to trial. •
 

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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