Community Courts

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    Local courts whose function is to try cases involving vandalism, disorderly conduct, public intoxication, public urination, shoplifting, trespassing, prostitution and other offenses that affect the quality of life in a community. Most community courts are initiated by other courts or local district attorneys, are structured to serve a particular neighborhood and are located in the area they serve. A few serve entire cities. The specific focus of these courts depends on the nature of the problems in the communities they serve and the concerns of the residents and business people who live and/or work there. Offenders are often required to make restitution by providing service in the community in which their crimes were committed and may be ordered to participate in social services such as counseling, drug treatment and job training when warranted.

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    Service NameDescriptionLocationProgramAgency
    Berks County Magisterial District JudgesIt is the mission of the Berks County Magisterial District Judge System to seek justice, to foster public trust and confidence in an independent judiciary, and to provide high quality courteous service to all users of the magisterial district courts by processing cases and resolving disputes in a manner that reflects the system's commitment to open access to the courts, fairness, impartiality, administrative efficiency, fiscal responsibility and public accountability. The seventeen magisterial district judges and two centralized magisterial district courts in Berks County are under the supervision and administrative control of the President Judge. Each magisterial district judge is elected to serve within his/her magisterial district for a six-year term. The Berks County Central Arraignment Court and Reading Central Court are the two centralized courts established within the minor judiciary system. The Berks County Central Arraignment Court, located on the 1st floor of the Berks County Courthouse, serves as an after-hours emergency duty court insuring the continual availability of at least one issuing authority in the Twenty-third Judicial District. The Reading Central Court, also located on the 1st floor of the Berks County Courthouse, was established to efficiently dispose of preliminary hearings in misdemeanor and felony cases filed in any of the five magisterial districts within the City of Reading. Magisterial district judges are included in Pennsylvania's Unified Judicial System. Magisterial district judges have jurisdiction over civil claims where the disputed amount is less than $12,000.00, landlord/tenant disputes, summary offenses (traffic and non-traffic offenses), and hold preliminary hearings in misdemeanor and felony cases. They grant emergency relief under the Protection From Abuse Act and the Older Adult Protective Service Act. Additionally, magisterial district judges issue arrest warrants, conduct preliminary arraignments, set and accept bail, issue search warrants, and perform marriage ceremonies. Magisterial district courts are connected to the statewide-automated Magisterial District Judge System, which came online in 1992. This records management system assists the courts in case processing and financial accounting. Special Courts Administration provides administrative support to the magisterial district judges by preparing the Magisterial District Judge System's operating budget, administering facility and equipment needs, assisting in personnel management, providing staff training and professional development, and assisting with case management. Click here for a list of Magisterial District Judges BerksCourthouseCounty of Berks
    Lancaster County Magisterial District JudgesHandle all traffic cases, other minor criminal cases and civil cases involving amounts up to $12,000. Also set bail and conduct preliminary hearings in misdemeanor and felony criminal cases to determine if the cases should be dismissed or transferred to the Court of Common Pleas for further proceedings. Click here for a list of Magisterial District Judges LancasterLancaster County Magisterial District CourtCounty of Lancaster
    Lehigh County Magisterial District JudgesLehigh County Magisterial District Judges. Click here to locate your local Magisterial District JudgeLehighLehigh County Government CenterLehigh County Government Center
    Lycoming County - District MagistratesMagisterial District Judges hear cases involving traffic violations, minor criminal matters, disputes between landlords and tenants, and civil cases such as contract matters or injuries with damages claimed up to $12,000. They have initial jurisdiction over all criminal cases, and make decisions on the issuance of warrants, and finding sufficient justification to send misdemeanor and felony cases to the Courts of Common Pleas for further action.LycomingLycoming County - Magisterial District JudgesLycoming County Government
    Magisterial District 41-3-02Responsible for: -Small Claim Courts: Filing civil & landlord complaints -Marriages -Filing criminal complaints -Paying on traffic fines, etc. -Dog Law/Game Law -Bail Bondsmen (approved by county) -Area constables for serving papers JuniataMagisterial District 41-3-02Magisterial District 41-3-02
    Perry County CourthouseProvides general information regarding the following: Marriage License, Recording of Deeds, Register of Wills, Voter Registration, Elections, Waste, Tax Assessments, Dog License, Passports, Prothonatary, Clerk of Courts, Probation, Court, District Attorney.PerryPerry County CourthousePerry County Courthouse
    Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, Magisterial District CourtsPennsylvania consists of 67 counties and every county except for Philadelphia County has Magisterial District Courts. These courts are lower courts of limited jurisdiction and there may be numerous Magisterial District Courts in each county, usually one per zip code and can include several municipalities. They handle matters such as landlord-tenant disputes, small claims, summary offenses, and violations of municipal ordinances and some Magisterial District Courts also handle traffic violations. For Magisterial District Court locations, addresses, phone numbers, and judges visit Magisterial District Judges to find the appropriate court. If filing, call the court to determine if it is the proper court for filing. Philadelphia County does not have a Magisterial District Court system. Instead use Philadelphia County Municipal Court or Philadelphia County Traffic Court. These courts hear similar matters to the Magisterial District Courts. Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, Magisterial District CourtsUnified Judicial System of Pennsylvania
    Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, Magisterial District Courts - Filing a Small Claims ActionSmall claims courts in Pennsylvania are called Magisterial District Courts (formerly Justices of the Peace). You do not need a lawyer to represent you and the amounts claimed cannot exceed $12,000. A filing fee is required ranging in an amount somewhere from $40 to $80 depending on the amount in dispute. There also may be an additional charge to cover the cost of delivering a copy of the complaint to the defendant (the person or entity you are filing the claim against). You may be able to recover both these costs if you win your case. It is recommended that you first send the defendant a certified letter demanding payment or whatever you are seeking from them and of your intent to file a small claims lawsuit if they do not comply. Be sure to include a clear and reasonable deadline date for their compliance or for their written response. This is usually the quickest and cheapest way to achieve your goal. Most people or businesses would rather avoid a court appearance. How to write a demand letter along with samples can be found by searching “Writing a Demand Letter” on the internet. If you hear nothing from the other party by your deadline date, then you can consider filing a small claim against them. Each county in Pennsylvania (except for Philadelphia) is divided into districts, and each district has a Magisterial District Judge. You can find the correct Magisterial District Court to file your small claim by going here: Magisterial District Judges. You should file your lawsuit
    • Where the defendant lives or where the business involved is located;
    • Where the contract was signed or carried out;
    • Where the damage or accident happened;
    • Where the goods involved are permanently kept.
    Then call the court and explain your situation to make sure it is the proper court for filing your case. They will also then tell you the filing fee amount. The filing fee will be paid when you will file the Complaint with the court. The Complaint form, which you need to fill out, can be found here: Forms For the Public. If you need to provide confidential information, then use the Confidential Information Form which is omitted from the public record. Philadelphia County does not have a Magisterial District Court system. Instead use Philadelphia County Municipal Court or Philadelphia County Traffic Court. These courts hear similar matters to the Magisterial District Courts.
    Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, Magisterial District CourtsUnified Judicial System of Pennsylvania
    Washington County Magisterial District Court 27-3-07Adjudicate summaries (traffic and non-traffic); arraign and hold preliminary hearings on misdemeanors and felonies; civil jurisdiction not more than $8000; performs civil marriages. Criminal Venue: Where the crime occurred. Civil Venue: Where they may be served or the cause of action arose. WashingtonMagisterial District CourtsWashington County Court of Common Pleas

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