As the first level of judicial authority in Pennsylvania, Magisterial District Court is frequently where most people experience the judicial system for the first time.
Magisterial district judges, who are elected to serve six years and earn an annual salary of $91,597, handle all traffic cases, other minor criminal cases and civil cases involving amounts up to $12,000. Judges in magistrate court also set bail and conduct preliminary hearings in misdemeanor and felony criminal cases to determine if the cases should be dismissed or advance to the Court of Common Pleas.
In Delaware County, there are 33 magisterial district courts. Seven seats on the magistrate bench will be expiring this election cycle.
On Tuesday, voters will choose among 17 Republican and/or Democratic candidates in six districts with primary races: Magisterial District 32-1-21, which covers Chester City Ward 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7; Magisterial District 32-1-23, which covers Collingdale; Magisterial District 32-2-37, which covers Sharon Hill, Darby Borough and Colwyn; Magisterial District 32-2-39, which covers Brookhaven, Parkside, Upland and Chester Township; ; Magisterial District 32-2-48, which covers Middletown, Chester Heights and Edgmont; and Magisterial District 32-2-52, which covers Aldan, Clifton Heights and Upper Darby Ward 1, precincts 4,5, 6 and 7, and Ward 2.
In Magisterial District 32-1-28, which covers Media, Swarthmore and Nether Providence Wards 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7, endorsed Democrat incumbent Magisterial District Judge Deborah Krull is cross filed and uncontested on both the Republican and Democrat ballots.
Magisterial District 32-1-21: Endorsed Republican incumbent Magisterial District Judge Dawn L. Vann, and city police Capt. Marilyn N. Lee are both cross-filed on the Republican and Democrat ballots, with Joy Taylor also vying for the Democratic nod. Taylor is city director of constituent services. There is no endorsed Democrat.
Magisterial District 32-1-23: Endorsed Republican incumbent Magisterial District Judge Gregory J. Loftus, who is cross filed on both the Republican and Democrat ballots, has a challenge from endorsed Democrat Lee Grimes on the Democrat ballot.
Magisterial District 32-2-37: Five people are vying for the Democratic nod, including Sheila A. Carter, Brandin Duckett, John W. Haigis, Fayetta Laura Acosta and Tammi Forbes. Forbes is the endorsed Democrat.
Magisterial District 32-2-39: Two vying on the Democrat ballot are Margaret Eighan and Georgia L. Stone. Stone is cross filed on the Republican ballot and is endorsed by the GOP. Eighan is endorsed by the Democratic Party.
Magisterial District 32-2-48: Both endorsed Republican incumbent Magisterial District Judge Walter “Sonny” Strohl, and endorsed Democrat Donna M. Cantor, an attorney for 30 years, are cross filed on the Republican and Democrat ballots.
Magisterial District 32-2-52: Endorsed Republican incumbent Magisterial District Judge Kelly A. Micozzie-Aquirre is cross filed on both the Republican and Democrat ballots. Beth M. Salkind is the endorsed candidate on the Democrat ballot.