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first on State budget cuts will mean one fewer magistrate in Winneshiek County

Posted: Sun, Apr 9, 2017 5:29 PM

Winneshiek County will soon have one magistrate instead of two.

While most people think of district judges when they think about the judicial system, magistrates are also an important part of Iowa's court system.  Magistrates are required to be attorneys and have jurisdiction over simple misdemeanors, including traffic matters.  When someone is arrested and taken to jail, a magistrate comes to the jail within 24 hours or talks with them by phone and makes a decision on what bond to set in the case.

Every county is assigned at least one judicial magistrate position.  Winneshiek County has had two magistrates—Postville attorney Charles Kelly and Ossian attorney Nathaniel Moonen.

But the Iowa Legislature has been cutting funding to Iowa's court system.   The fiscal 2017 funding of the state's judicial branch was $5.4 million below what was requested—even before the legislature cut another $3 million from the budget.

So when members of the "Winneshiek County Judicial Magistrate Appointing Commission" meet at 4:00 p.m. May 16th, they will be interviewing candidates for one position, not two.

All applicants for the position must personally attend the May 16th Commission meeting to be interviewed.  They must be an attorney licensed to practice law in Iowa.  They must also pick up an application form from the Winneshiek County District Court Clerk's Office, and then return the completed application form to the Clerk's Office in the Winneshiek County Courthouse by 4:30 p.m. on May 10th, with a letter of interest and resume of qualifications attached.

The person selected to be the magistrate will receive an annual salary of $39,438.00 and will serve a four-year term from August 1st of this year to July 31st of 2021.