WY Senate approves bill that could reduce number of full time magistrates

Jan 17, 2013

The State Senate has approved a bill that gives the Wyoming Supreme Court the authority to reduce the number of full time Circuit Court magistrates. A magistrate is appointed by a Judge to oversee court duties when the Judge is not present.  In rural areas a magistrate handles minor judicial duties. The bill is intended to help the Supreme Court save money in areas where it does not believe full time magistrate services are necessary.  The Court would appoint part-time magistrates, instead.  But Kaycee Senator John Schiffer opposed the bill, saying that it could hurt smaller counties.   

“Kind of the old motto, do less with less and let the people pay for it.  And as far as the discussion that just because you live in a small community that you are not entitled to access to justice, I believe is fundamentally wrong.”

Schiffer says if the Supreme Court wants to save money, it should look at video courts or other high tech ways of delivering services.  The bill passed and moves to the House for further consideration.