19 N. Ky. L. Rev. 99 (1991-1992)
United States Magistrate Judges: Suggestions to Increase the Efficiency of Their Civil Role

handle is hein.journals/nkenlr19 and id is 113 raw text is: UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGES:
SUGGESTIONS TO INCREASE THE EFFICIENCY OF
THEIR CIVIL ROLE
Michael J. Newman*
I. INTRODUCTION
Only some lawyers, few law students, and almost none of the
public know what United States magistrate judges' are, how and
in what respect they differ from federal district judges (or even
that they are federal judicial officers), or the nature of their
distinct authority.2 This article answers the fundamental question,
what is a United States magistrate judge? and examines magis-
trate judges' role in civil litigation. To this end, the article is
comprised of two parts. Part one reviews magistrates's civil
function and expanding civil jurisdiction as evidenced by statute
and by application of the consent doctrine. Part two, premised
on the idea that magistrate judges are and will foreseeably
remain an essential element of district court case resolution,
provides suggestions to increase magistrates' judicial efficiency
within their role as now defined.
* Michael J. Newman is an adjunct faculty member at Salmon P. Chase College of
Law and a judicial clerk to the Honorable Jack Sherman, Jr., United States Magistrate
Judge for the Southern District of Ohio, at Cincinnati. He is a 1989 cum laude graduate
of American University's Washington College of Law. The opinions expressed in this
article are those of the author, and not of Magistrate Judge Sherman.
1. On December 1, 1990. the name United States magistrate was changed to United
States magistrate judge. Judicial Improvements Act of 1990, Pub. L. No. 101-650, S 321,
104 Stat. 5089, 5117 (1991).
2. These identification problems are likely caused or compounded by the fact that not
all attorneys practice in federal court, and that, of those who do, only some appear before
magistrates. An additional factor may be that the term magistrate has a different
meaning in federal and state court. In some states, for example, magistrates, although
empowered to issue warrants and set bond, need not have legal training. See Judge Moran
Responds To Article By Non-Lawyer Magistrate Judge, 17 Fed. Magistrate Judges Ass'n
Bull. 4 (June 1991) (describing North Carolina law). United States magistrate judges, in
contrast, although also authorized to issue arrest warrants, 18 U.S.C. S 3041 (1988). and
set bail, 18 U.S.C. S 3141 (1988), must have, among other criteria, at least five years of
good standing bar membership prior to appointment. 28 U.S.C.A. S 631(bXl) (West Supp.
1991).
3. Throughout this article, the terms magistrate and magistrate judge are used
interchangeably to denote United States magistrate judges.

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