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Wanted: new federal magistrate

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Attorneys who want to be a magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana can now apply.

Court officials are accepting applications until June 30 for those interested in becoming a federal magistrate to succeed Magistrate William T. Lawrence who is on his way through the U.S. Senate's confirmation process to become a federal judge. If confirmed, he would succeed Judge John D. Tinder who was elevated to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals late last year.

An application and job description for the full-time magistrate position, which has an eight-year term and pays an annual salary of $155,756, can be found on the U.S. District Court's Web site.

The person selected to succeed Magistrate Lawrence would be responsible for conducting most preliminary proceedings, trials and dispositions of misdemeanor cases, civil mediation and settlement proceedings, various pretrial and evidentiary matters, and civil trials and dispositions upon consent from all litigants.

Applicants must be younger than age 70 and an attorney in good standing for at least five years, competent to perform all duties, of good moral character, emotionally stable and mature, committed to equal justice under the law, patient and courteous, and capable of deliberation and decisiveness.

While the selection process is confidential, a merit selection panel of attorneys and other members of the legal community will be named publicly to review applicants, Chief Judge David Hamilton said. The panel will name five candidates it considers best qualified, and then the court will make the appointment following an IRS tax check and FBI investigation.

The process is expected to take about six months once started, though much depends on the number of candidates and how quickly Magistrate Lawrence's confirmation moves to the full Senate. The U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary approved his nomination earlier this month and no timeline exists for when the full legislative body might consider his nomination.

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