Butler County magistrate to retire after 38 years

Ronald J. Pepples will retire from his position as Butler County Magistrate on Nov. 29 after over 38 years of service. He will continue to serve the community in private practice at his law office in Parkersburg.

“There is a measure of satisfaction in being able to do your part in the justice system,” Pepples said of his tenure.

He will retire on his 72nd birthday, as in Iowa, non-federal magistrates and judges are required to retire at 72, unless they apply for senior judge status.

In civil law, a magistrate has jurisdiction in small claims court for judgments not in excess of $6500. He also deals with forcible entry and detainer cases, where landlords seek to remove tenants who are not paying rent.

On the criminal side, a magistrate holds trials for simple misdemeanors: crimes that involve a penalty no greater than a fine of $65 to $625 dollars and/or a sentence not exceeding 30 days of jail. He also issues search warrants and arrest warrants for every level of crime, from simple misdemeanors to Class A felonies.

Additionally, magistrates handle committals for treatment for substance abuse and mental health: from the order for initial pickup through the hearing.

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