Magistrates and Traffic Hearing Officers

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Magistrates

The Magistrate Program was created to assist the Judges by hearing matters in cases involving domestic relations, civil issues, juvenile dependency, and mental health. The magistrates are attorneys who are appointed by the Chief Judge. Magistrates hear varied types of cases and prepare detailed reports and recommendations to the referring Judges.

Traffic Hearing Officers

The purpose of the Civil Traffic Infractions Hearing Officer Program is to divert less serious civil traffic infractions away from the more formal traffic court. They have the power to accept pleas from defendants, hear and rule upon motions, decide whether a defendant has committed a civil traffic infraction and adjudicate or withhold adjudication in the same manner as a county court judge. They cannot, however, conduct contempt proceedings, hear any case involving an accident with injuries or suspend a defendant’s driver’s license.

The Chief Judge may appoint experienced attorneys on a contract basis to serve as traffic hearing officers. These attorneys have undergone rigorous training to hear all civil traffic infractions except those mandated by law to be heard by a County Court Judge.

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