A Hamilton County Commission panel today decided to re-open the application process for the county’s four judicial magistrate positions in order to extend the magistrates’ hours.
County commissioners expressed concern last week that several of the judicial magistrates, officially known as commissioners, were working less than 30 hours a week yet receiving health insurance.
The panel today said they would want the magistrates to work at least 32 hours a week.
Magistrates work nights, weekends and holidays. They perform limited judicial duties, such as setting bonds and signing warrants, when General Sessions Court judges are not on the bench.
Chief Judicial Commissioner Yolanda Mitchell has said she tried to extend the magistrates’ hours, but met resistance.
The panel also discussed the case of Bob Meeks, a magistrate whose job may be at risk. Mr. Meeks offered to withdraw his application for his magistrate position last week because of questions as to whether he practiced criminal law.
Magistrates are allowed to practice civil law but not criminal law.
For complete details, see tomorrow’s Chattanooga Times Free Press