02/01/05 — Ex-Wayne magistrate hired by Lenoir County

View Archive

Ex-Wayne magistrate hired by Lenoir County

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on February 1, 2005 2:01 PM

A Wayne County magistrate who was fired from her job on Christmas Eve has been hired by Lenoir County.

Remona McIver was to be sworn in today in Kinston.

Mrs. McIver was one of two magistrates told by Superior Court Judge Jerry Braswell that they were not being reappointed.

Mrs. McIver was to be sworn in by Lenoir County's resident Superior Court judge, Paul Jones.

"I feel good. I'm very excited," Mrs. McIver said Monday night. "I look forward to working with the magistrates in Lenoir County as I did in Wayne County. I want to carry on the tradition of being as fair and as nice to people in Lenoir County as I was to the people in Wayne County."

Mrs. McIver will be supervised by Chief District Court Judge Joe Setzer. Setzer also serves Lenoir and Greene counties, which are in the 8th Judicial District, along with Wayne County.

A magistrate must live in the county in which they hold court. Mrs. McIver said she will stay with her sister in Lenoir County while she is working. She was notified of her appointment in a letter about a week ago.

Magistrates in Lenoir County work the same eight-hour shifts, seven days a week, as they do in Wayne County.

Magistrates serve for two years. They are nominated by the clerk of court and appointed by the resident Superior Court judge.

The second fired magistrate, Sandra Castle, says she has not yet found another job. She said she has had some job interviews and has sent out applications.

"I'm real happy that she got that job," Mrs. Castle said of Mrs. McIver's new assignment.

Both women testified in a misconduct hearing about two years ago against another magistrate, R. Allen Jones. Several magistrates had complained that Jones had heard small claims cases for agencies for which he had served on their boards. They also said he reported late, took extended breaks, left early and took vacation days when he had none. Braswell ruled that Jones' actions did not constitute misconduct.

Bob Holmes and Bob Forsythe, two other magistrates who were not reappointed in 2003, also had testified against Jones.

Jones also was not initially reappointed to a new term by Braswell but after a replacement changed his mind and took another job, Jones was reappointed.

A group of Wayne County citizens, including Holmes and Forsythe, met recently in Belfast and started a petition to oust Braswell.

Magistrates are the lowest-ranking judicial officials. They set release terms for newly arrested defendants, hold small claims court and conduct weddings.