Local News

Wake County Clerk Of Court, Judges At Odds Over Magistrates

Posted January 20, 2005

— Last month, Wake County Clerk of Court Jan Pueschel refused to re-nominate two veteran magistrates. The Chief Superior Court Judge later overruled that decision and opted to keep them. Now, the same judge has signed another order, trying to end an apparent power struggle.

A judge's order suggests Pueschel has not been friendly to some Wake County magistrates. They have complained about getting access to files.

The order directs Pueschel to grant them "complete, unrestricted and unlimited" access to criminal files. Anyone who ignores the order could be "subject to sanctions."

It is another round in a feud that came to light in May when Pueschel questioned how magistrates were handling worthless check cases. At the time, Judge Joyce Hamilton ordered Pueschel to work with the magistrates.

Last month, Pueschel refused to re-nominate two of them, but Judge Donald Stephens overruled Pueschel. Judges Hamilton and Stephens have signed the latest order.

Pueschel said she never denied magistrates access to files, explaining she was only trying to keep people from taking the files without checking them out properly.

Pueschel also told WRAL that the latest order is "innocuous." She said it may be in response to a memo she sent to the district attorney two weeks ago, asking his staff to make sure her staff knows when someone checks out a file.


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