How to Sue a Magistrate Judge

By Kesha Ward, eHow Contributor

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As a general rule, magistrate judges cannot be held liable for money damages.

In America, magistrate judges are appointed to work in district courts. Magistrate judges are offered appointment by a majority vote of judges within the federal district. They serve a term of eight years if they are full time or four years if they work on a part-time basis. After their appointment, they may be reappointed. Magistrate judges are official officers of the court, and suing a judge for acts done while in the exercise of his judicial function will require evidence of overt misconduct.


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      Gather the specifics of your case. Unless there was outright misconduct, it may be difficult to prove they acted outside the scope of their charge as a judge. Write down the reason for your suit along with how you believe the judge behaved contrary to what would be considered appropriate. You will also need to be able to express how the judge’s behavior has impacted you.

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      Contact an attorney who has experience with judicial misconduct cases. If the attorney has experience with cases involving the conduct of judges, he will be able to assess whether you have a case. Contact the American BarAssociation for attorney referrals.

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      Meet with the attorney face-to-face. When you meet with the attorney, have your written notes handy. The attorney will want to get as much information as possible to determine if you have a valid claim. Work with the attorney to determine if your case is more appropriate for a lawsuit or if it should be reviewed by the judiciary committee in your state first. If the attorney feels you have a case strong enough for a lawsuit, they will pursue by first filing a claim with the attorney general’s office. If after reviewing your case it is determined the judicial review process is more appropriate, the attorney can help you prepare your case to be reviewed by the judiciary committee in your state.

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