HARRISBURG — Magisterial District Judge Susanne V. Steffee 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 and the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, the educational program for Magisterial District Judges is held in Harrisburg.
The weeklong 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.
Continuing education course work is required by statute of each of the more than 500 Pennsylvania magisterial district judges, with approximately 50 attending one of 13 classes during each academic year.
Magisterial district judges represent the “grass roots” level of Pennsylvania’s judicial system. In counties other than Philadelphia, magisterial 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 $12,000. Magisterial district judges may also accept guilty pleas in misdemeanor cases of the third degree under certain circumstances. They also have jurisdiction to issue arrests and search for warrants and to hold arraignments and preliminary hearings in criminal cases.