The SoWe Board and the SoWe Community Safety Committee has moved to submit public comments and concerns in response to the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas Magisterial District Reestablishment Proposal for the Second Judicial District. The proposal outlines recommendations to reduce the caseload for district 02-1-01, the southwest district of Lancaster City. District 02-1-01 has the highest caseload in the county. The proposal recommends to reduce the size of the district as well as allow certain cases such as welfare fraud to be tried by judges from other magisterial districts with lower caseloads and were not elected by residents of district 02-1-01.
SoWe maintains that the proposal does not allow southwest residents to equally and equitably access the justice system compared to county residents. SoWe calls for a larger community engagement process to understand community concerns. Full comments and concerns are outlined in the letter below.
The Lancaster County’s website describes the Magisterial District Courts as ‘the first level of judicial authority the Pennsylvania and is the court where most people experience the judicial system for the first time. Magisterial District Judges handle all traffic cases, minor criminal cases, and civil cases involving amounts up to $12,000.’ There are 19 MDJ’s throughout the county, who are elected by their district to serve six-year terms.