County Seeks input on Planned Bristol District Court Expansion
A “draft” plan to close Bristol Borough District Court (BBDC) was shelved by county officials with a new plan aiming to expand its coverage area.
The original “draft” proposal from the county court administration circulated included closing Magisterial District Court on Bath Street in Bristol Borough when District Judge Frank Peranteau plans to retire in December 2024.
The plan also called for closing the court in Newtown Borough and forming a centralized system to handle DUI cases.
The Bath Street Court covers the borough and sections of Bristol Township, including Croydon and West Bristol but with a new proposal on the table the courts catchment area is likely to expand, county officials said.
A source with intimate knowledge of the “original draft plan” said opposition from the Bucks County Magisterial Justices Association, which represents judges working out of the county’s 18 district court locations, was a major factor in killing off the proposal to close the Borough District Court.
As required by both the Pennsylvania constitution and statute, “re-establishment” is a process by which the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania reviews the boundaries of magisterial districts within applicable judicial districts. This review includes the magisterial districts of the Seventh Judicial District, which is comprised of Bucks County and the process takes place every 10 years in the year following the official reporting of decennial census figures, county officials said.
The proposal currently on the table, seeks input from the public, seeks to add sections of Bensalem Township, to the coverage area for the BBDC.
-The boundaries of Magisterial District No. 07-1-01 and Magisterial District No. 07-1-02 will be redrawn such that Bensalem Township voting districts LE1 and LE2 will move from the jurisdiction of District 07-1-01 (Magisterial District Judge Michael W. Gallagher) to the jurisdiction of District 07-1-02 (Magisterial District Judge Frank W. Peranteau, Sr.)
-Cases filed by Bucks County Park Rangers arising from activity in the area of the Delaware River access located in Bensalem Voting District LM1 will be transferred from the jurisdiction of Magisterial District No. 07-1-01 (Magisterial District Judge Michael W. Gallagher) to that of Magisterial District No. 07-1-02 (Magisterial District Judge Frank W. Peranteau, Sr.)e
The public can review the entire proposal which includes coverage changes for District Courts in Central and Upper Bucks County also by clicking here.
To inform the public of this process and to offer the opportunity for comments regarding the proposal, the following overview of proposed modifications to the magisterial districts of the Seventh Judicial District is provided. Copies of this overview are available at the Bucks County Justice Center in the office of the Court Administrator, 100 N. Main Street, Doylestown, PA, and at each local magisterial district court office.
Members of the public who wish to offer comment on the proposed changes can do so by writing to MDJcourtplan@buckscounty.org, faxing a message to 215-348-6503, or mailing a letter to the Office of the Court Administrator c/o Reestablishment Comments, Bucks County Justice Center, Doylestown, PA 18901. All comments can be submitted through Feburary 25.
Judge Peranteau is currently on vacation and was unavailable to comment for this story.
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