What Is a Magistrate?
Different judges have different powers. A magistrate judge is one who has the power to issue a search warrant or an arrest warrant for an investigation. They are also able to cite initial warnings to those arrested. Most judges in Texas have this authority, but the most common type of magistrate judge is a justice of the peace (JOP). County judges and District Court judges are other examples of magistrate judges.
Types of Magistrate Judges
There are several other types of magistrate judges with the same authority. They include:
- Justices of the Texas Supreme Court
- Judges of the Court of Criminal Appeals
- Justices of the Courts of Appeals
- District Court judges
- County judges
- County Court at Law judges
- County Criminal Court judges
- Statutory probate judges
- Associate judges (some, but not all)
- Justices of the peace
- Mayors and recorders of incorporated cities and towns
- Municipal Court judges
- Magistrate judges appointed in Bexar, Brazoria, Brazos, Dallas, Jefferson, Lubbock, Nolan, Nueces, Tarrant, Travis, Webb, and Williamson Counties
- Criminal law hearings officers appointed in Cameron and Harris Counties
The Role of a Magistrate Judge
Magistrate judge duties change depending on whether they are a federal judge or a U.S District Court judge. The latter is appointed by the president and presides over magistrate judges. U.S District Court judges have near infinite powers to determine verdicts, and are held to account only by the Constitution itself.
Magistrate judges only preside over misdemeanor cases. They are allowed to shift districts in order to help other judges with their caseloads. Preparing the cases for district judges and presiding over pretrial proceedings are just some of the duties of magistrate judges, which tend to be more tedious details that district judges don’t want to deal with. And for magistrates to even have the power to preside over any of these cases, both parties must first come to an agreement.
There is some controversy over the amount of power now given to magistrate judges as it concerns their assisting United States district judges. Since they are not appointed by the president, many feel they should not have the authority to take part in the proceedings. But the backlog of federal crimes facing the court has made their assistance necessary, and the practice continues.
PCS Bail Bonds is very familiar with court systems. We are proud of the bail bond services we’ve been able to provide and will continue to do our best to provide fast, effective bail bond services. Just call us at (817) 335-1655 or visit www.PCSBailBonds.com should you have any question about how these courts work.