Magisterial District Courts are the first level of Pennsylvania’s Unified Judicial System. They are presided over by Magisterial District Judges (MDJs), who are elected by the voters in each respective district. There are three magisterial districts in Warren County and one in Forest County.
The jurisdiction of Magisterial District Judges (MDJs) includes suits involving as much as $12,000 in civil matters. Suits such as breach of contract and actions of trespass, in which matters they have the authority to hear the cases and render judgments. Their decisions are, of course, subject to appeal to the Court of Common Pleas. They have additional civil jurisdiction over such matters as landlord and tenant cases.
Almost all criminal cases (felonies and misdemeanors) begin in the Magisterial District Courts, which issue search warrants, arrest warrants and summonses.
Magisterial District Judges (MDJs) set bail, make referrals to diversionary programs and preside over preliminary hearings. It is during preliminary hearings where MDJs decide if there is enough information to forward a case to the Warren County Court of Common Pleas for trial.
MDJs can accept guilty pleas and impose sentence for certain misdemeanors. They also preside over the following summary charges: minor violations under the crimes code, most traffic violations, violations of city, borough and township ordinances and violations of the fish, game and dog laws. MDJs in summary cases function as both judge and jury. They hear evidence, make a ruling and impose sentence if there is a conviction. Rulings by MDJs are subject to appeal to the Warren County Court of Common Pleas.
Criminal Proceedings – Central Court
The President Judge has directed that ALL criminal case preliminary hearings be held in what is called Central Court. This means that regardless of which District Court the case originated, it will be disposed of in either the Forest County or Warren County Courthouse and not the District Courts. You should check your summons or hearing notice for your specific instructions on when and where to appear. In Warren County each of the three District Judges hear all cases on a rotating basis.
Cash, Check and Money Order Accepted.
Monday through Friday, see Office Hours. Payments must be made on time. Failure to pay shall result in a Warrant being issued and on all traffic offenses, a suspension of a driver’s license shall be imposed until payments are current. (Additional warrant, sheriff or constable fees shall apply.)
All MDJ offices in Warren County have drop boxes to accept payments after normal business hours. Methods of payment when using the drop box are cash, check or money orders. If paying with cash please place money in an envelope with either the defendants name, address and phone number or case docket/payment plan number.
Monthly Installment Plans
Acceptance of a payment plan or renewal is at the discretion of the Judge. You should contact the specific court where your case originated to determine your eligibility for a payment plan.
The Forest and Warren County Magisterial District Judges’ Calendars are available at ujsportal.pacourts.us. Search under the Judicial District: “Forest/Warren-37“.