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1. a public civil officer, invested with some part of the
legislative, executive or judicial
2. in a narrower sense, the term includes only inferior judicial officers, such as justices of the peace. UNITED STATES [FEDERAL] MAGISTRATE: appointed by US District Court judges, magistrates have powers that include the ability to hear and determine specified pretrial motions pending before a district court, to conduct hearings, including evidentiary hearings, and to submit proposed findings of facts and recommendations for disposition.
Source: Barron's Dictionary of Legal Terms, Steven H. Gifis, 5th Edition; © 2016