12/30/04 — Judge denies 3rd magistrate another term

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Judge denies 3rd magistrate another term

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on December 30, 2004 2:02 PM

A third veteran magistrate, R. Allen Jones, was not reappointed for a new term that starts Saturday.

Jerry Braswell, the resident Superior Court judge for Wayne County, told the News-Argus on Wednesday night of his decision.

The judge earlier had declined the reappointments of Chief Magistrate Remona McIver, a 17-year veteran, and Magistrate Sandra Castle, who had served four years.

When asked about the dismissals, Braswell said, "I won't discuss personnel matters publicly ... I won't make any public comments about my magistrates."

Jones was the center of controversy two years ago when he was reappointed for a two-year term despite protests from several other magistrates.

Others had complained that Jones had abused his authority. Among the complaints were that Jones had conducted Small Claims Court cases for a board on which he served, campaigned for a candidate, arrived late and left early for his eight-hour shifts, took vacation time when he had none and tried to fix a traffic ticket for a friend.

Among those who testified against Jones in a two-day court hearing in March, 2003, were Mrs. McIver and Mrs. Castle.

Two others who were not reappointed in 2002, Robert Holmes, a 22-year veteran and the former chief, and J. Robert Forsythe, who had served five years, also testified against Jones.

Jones, Mrs. McIver and Mrs. Castle will be replaced by William Buchanan, the former owner of Goldsboro Nissan; Tim Brannan, a teacher and coach at Wayne Christian School, and James Miles, a former Goldsboro police officer.

Another magistrate, Glenn Sloan, had submitted his resignation a few months ago. Then he asked to finish his term, Braswell said.

The six returning magistrates are Frank Edmonds, Larry Riggle, Melinda Jordan, Terry Hatch, Bonnie Hill and Patricia Williams.

Wayne County was assigned eight full-time and two part-time magistrate positions. Braswell said he consolidated the part-time positions of Sloan and Ms. Hill into one full-time position.

The magistrates will be sworn by Braswell in at 9 a.m. Saturday in Courtroom No. 5 in the Courthouse.

The judge said he selected the magistrates from about 22 applications submitted Dec. 20 by Clerk of Court Marshall Minchew. Braswell said he had asked for four applications for each position, a total of 36.

The judge said the next day he reviewed the applications and scheduled appointments, conducted interviews Dec. 22 and decided Dec. 23 on those who would be appointed. By law, he said, he had until Monday, Dec. 27. But he noted that both last Friday and Monday were state government holidays.

Braswell said he handled the process with "all deliberate speed" in reviewing the applications, interviewing the applicants, making an informed decision and notifying all as quickly as possible.

Magistrates set terms of release for newly arrested defendants, either secured or unsecured bonds or written promises. They also hold Small Claims Court and perform marriages.