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To qualify as a magistrate judge in Georgia, the individual must have resided in the county for at least one year preceding his or her term of office, be twenty-five years of age, and have a high school diploma. Other qualifications may be imposed by local legislation.
A magistrate DOES NOT have to be an attorney.
Here's the statute:
O.C.G.A. § 15-10-22. Qualifications of magistrates; restrictions on practice of law (a) Each magistrate shall have been a resident of the county for one year next preceding the beginning of his term of office and shall as of such date be at least 25 years of age and shall possess a high school diploma or its equivalent. However, an officer becoming a magistrate pursuant to Code Section 15-10-120 shall be eligible to the office of magistrate without the necessity of meeting these qualifications. Additional qualifications for the office of chief magistrate or magistrate or both may be imposed by local law.(b) A magistrate who is an attorney may practice in other courts but may not practice in the magistrate's own court or appear in any matter as to which that magistrate has exercised any jurisdiction.
O.C.G.A. § 15-10-25. (Training requirements; payment of training costs) outlines the training requirements: (a) All magistrates shall periodically satisfactorily complete a training course as provided in Article 8 of this chapter. All senior magistrates shall periodically satisfactorily complete a training course as provided in Code Section 15-10-223.(b) The Georgia Magistrate Courts Training Council shall keep records of training completed by magistrates and senior magistrates.(c) Subject to the provision of Code Section 15-10-24, if any magistrate or senior magistrate does not satisfactorily complete the required training in any year, the Georgia Magistrate Courts Training Council shall promptly notify the Judicial Qualifications Commission which shall recommend removal of the magistrate from office unless the Judicial Qualifications Commission finds that the failure was caused by facts beyond the control of the magistrate or senior magistrate.(d) The reasonable costs and expenses of such training shall be paid by the county governing authority from county funds.
This is the only required training under the law.
Here's a link to the training requirements of Article 8: http://statutes.laws.com/georgia/title-15/chapter-10/article-8/15-10-130
Look at 15-10-130 to 15-10-137
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