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Palmyra Magisterial District Judge Carl R. Garver says he will not seek reelection when his second six-year term in office expires on Jan. 1, 2024.

The 67-year-old Republican was first elected in 2011.

Magisterial district judges preside over Pennsylvania’s “small claims courts.” They handle traffic and minor criminal cases, preliminary stages of misdemeanor and felony criminal cases, landlord-tenant disputes, and civil lawsuits involving up to $12,000.

Garver’s court, one of six in Lebanon County, covers cases arising in Palmyra Borough, North Londonderry, South Londonderry, East Hanover, and Cold Spring townships.

Garver said he’s announcing his retirement now to give others plenty of time to get on the ballot for the May 2 primary election. His successor will be elected at the Nov. 7 general election.

The position pays $98,565 annually.

Garver spent decades in law enforcement before becoming a district judge, including stints as a Dauphin County detective and Texas state trooper.

He has taught criminal justice at Penn State Harrisburg and Lebanon Valley College, and served on the Palmyra school board for five years. He is currently second vice president of the Palmyra Rotary Club.

Garver said he is retiring at 67, well before the mandatory retirement age of 75, to pursue personal interests such as church activities, alumni councils, professional and academic associations, travel, gerontology, and volunteering.

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Chris Coyle writes primarily on government, the courts, and business. He retired as an attorney at the end of 2018, after concentrating for nearly four decades on civil and criminal litigation and trials. A career highlight was successfully defending a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who was accused,...


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