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October 2008

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This article is in the news archives --- for current news go to the Third Branch News.


A Look at the Duties of a U.S. Magistrate Judge

Last fiscal year, U.S. magistrate judges disposed of a total of 948,086 matters in the courts. The chart illustrates how their workload contribution to the U.S. district courts breaks down.

The largest number of matters are felony preliminary proceedings, which include search and arrest warrants, summonses, initial appearances, preliminary examinations, arraignments, detention hearings, and bail reviews. Felony pretrial matters disposed of by U.S. magistrate judges include motions, evidentiary hearings, pretrial conferences, probation/supervised release hearings, and guilty plea proceedings. Prisoner litigation includes reports and recommendations in state and federal habeas corpus cases, civil rights cases, and evidentiary hearings. Other civil matters include motions, pretrial conferences, settlement conferences, evidentiary hearings, Social Security appeals, and special masterships. Magistrate judges also handle civil consent cases, which may include a trial, and misdemeanor/petty offense cases.