12/29/04 — Clerk of Court Minchew calls magistrate dismissals "unfortunate"

View Archive

Clerk of Court Minchew calls magistrate dismissals "unfortunate"

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on December 29, 2004 2:00 PM

A decision to terminate two magistrates was both unfortunate and unnecessary, Wayne County Clerk of Court Marshall Minchew said Tuesday.

Minchew had asked Judge Jerry Braswell to reappoint Chief Magistrate Remona McIver and Magistrate Sandra Castle, but Braswell notified them last Friday that he would not.

Their terms will now end Friday. The new slate of magistrates is scheduled to be sworn into office Saturday.

Braswell has not told the two magistrates his reasons for not reappointing them. He also has not responded to telephone messages left by News-Argus reporters at his home and his office.

But Minchew called the decision "unfortunate" and "a great loss for our county."

Mrs. McIver has been a magistrate for almost 17 years, the last two as chief magistrate, and Mrs. Castle for four years. Minchew said that he has known both women for more than a decade.

"They have served our county and judicial system well," he said.

Mrs. McIver has been "always kind, courteous and fair in her work," he said, and he described Mrs. Castle as "very conscientious."

"If there had been any concerns about their work, I trust that I would have known that," he said.

Both magistrates told the News-Argus Sunday that their husbands are disabled and that they depend on their state jobs for health insurance. Mrs. McIver also claims that Braswell had harassed and threatened her for more than a year. Both women are reportedly considering legal action.

Braswell did reappoint magistrates Frank Admonds, Larry Riggle, Bonnie Hill, Melinda Jordan, Patricia Williams and Terry Hatch. He also appointed newcomers William Buchanan, Tim Brannan and James Myles.

Minchew had recommended Ms. Williams and Hatch not be re-appointed. He did recommend Buchanan, Brannan and Myles for appointments, he said.

Magistrates are nominated by the clerk of court, Marshall Minchew, supervised by the chief District Court judge, Joseph Setzer, and appointed by the chief Superior County judge, Braswell. Braswell is not required to follow Minchew's recommendations.

Minchew said that he has not had any conversations with Braswell about his recent appointments.

Setzer could not be reached for comment on the two magistrate's performance.

Magistrates are the lowest-ranking officials in the judicial system. They establish the terms of release for newly arrested defendants -- usually secured or unsecured bonds or written promises -- hold Small Claims Court and conduct weddings.