What is a Magisterial District Judge?
Magisterial District Court is the people's court, the community's court. Traffic tickets, parking tickets, and
violations of municipal ordinances (like snow shoveling, grass cutting, and garbage) are all heard in District Court.
If you are issued a ticket by Bethlehem or Fountain Hill police or parking authority, you will appear before the
Magisterial District Judge. Magisterial District Court is the first level of judicial authority in Pennsylvania
and is the court where most people experience the judicial system for the first time.
Magisterial District Judge's (or MDJ's) handle traffic cases, minor criminal cases, landlord tennant disputes,
and other and civil cases involving amounts up to $12,000. MDJ's 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.
The citizens of West Bethlehem and Fountain Hill deserve an MDJ who can serve as a neutral and detached arbiter of the facts. Your local judge should have no prior relationships or loyalties that may distract them from this vital role. An independent judiciary is a necessary part of the checks and balances that keep our system functional. The best way to serve the citizens, the police, and the cause of justice is to maintain an inviolable separation of powers between these branches of government.