Statehouse committee approves magistrate plan for Shelby County

The House Committee on Courts and Criminal Code voted Wednesday to support State Rep. Sean Eberhart’s (R-Shelbyville) legislative proposal that would allow for the appointment of a full-time magistrate in Shelby County.

A magistrate is a civil officer or lay judge who administers the law. Eberhart said most magistrates conduct court proceedings, handling minor offenses and preliminary hearings for more serious offenses.

“The last time Shelby County was granted another judicial officer was 40 years ago,” Eberhart said. “Since then, our community has experienced a boost in population, workforce and economic development, along with the casino attracting visitors from across the state and country to our area.”

Eberhart said House Bill 1053 would give the power of appointing the magistrate to the county judges.

“Right now the Shelby County court system is bogged down, and our three judges are doing the work of more than four judges,” Eberhart said. “By adding this magistrate position, it would help lift the burden currently placed on our courts, and ensure a more efficient administration of justice in Shelby County.”

House Bill 1053 is now headed to the House Committee on Ways and Means for further consideration.