TO PROVIDE FOR SUPERVISION OF MAGISTRATES BY THE CLERK OF SUPERIOR COURT IN EACH COUNTY, TO PROVIDE THE JUDICIAL STANDARDS COMMISSION WITH THE AUTHORITY TO INVESTIGATE AND DISCIPLINE MAGISTRATES, TO AUTHORIZE THE USE OF SIX-PERSON JURIES IN MISDEMEANOR CASES, AND TO PROVIDE FOR CERTAIN CONTROL OF CALENDARING IN SUPERIOR COURT BY THE SENIOR RESIDENT SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE.
House committee substitute makes the following changes to 1st edition. Removes provisions relating to (1) the supervision of magistrates by the clerk, (2) Judicial Standards Commission investigation and discipline of magistrates, and (3) the use of six-person juries in misdemeanor cases. Adds new provisions to (1) provide for the appointment of chief magistrates, (2) create additional types of discipline of magistrates, and (3) require a study of the method of appointing magistrates. Changes title accordingly. Effective when the act becomes law, amends GS 7A-146 to include within the powers and duties of the chief district judge, the authority to appoint a chief magistrate and creates a new subsection (12), setting out the role and status of a chief magistrate. Amends GS 7A-173 to provide for the suspension without compensation of magistrates in lieu of permanent removal. Suspension is terminated upon a finding that no grounds for disciplinary action exist. Also provides for public reprimand of magistrates where conduct does not warrant suspension or removal. Effective when the act becomes law, requires the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), in consultation with the Conference of Superior Court Judges, the Conference of District Court Judges, the Conference of Clerks of Superior Court, and the North Carolina Magistrates Association, to study the issue of whether the requirement that senior resident superior court judges appoint magistrates from nominations by the Clerk of Superior Court should continue, or whether a constitutional amendment to provide for a different method would be more practical and lead to better efficiencies in the administration of justice. Requires the AOC to report to the 2012 Regular Session of the General Assembly.
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