Magistrate Barbara B. Porzio

Magistrate Barbara B. Porzio

Magistrate Barbara B. Porzio was born in Waterbury, Connecticut in 1954.  She is married to Stephen Kolozvary, who is a retired attorney.  They have three children.

Judge Kimbler appointed Magistrate Porzio to the Medina County Court of Common Pleas in 2001.  Prior to working as a magistrate in Medina County, Magistrate Porzio was a domestic relations magistrate in Cuyahoga County from 1988 to 2001. In total, she has been a magistrate for over 26 years.

Magistrate Porzio received a B.A. with Honors from the University of Connecticut in 1976 and a J.D. from the State University of New York in Buffalo in 1979. She practiced law until 1988, when she was appointed as a referee in Cuyahoga County.  Magistrate Porzio has lectured for the Judicial College of the Supreme Court of Ohio, the Ohio Association of Domestic Relations Judges, the Ohio Judicial Conference, the Association of Ohio Magistrates, the Ohio State Bar Association, as well as numerous bar associations throughout the state.

Magistrate Porzio was a founding member of the Ohio Association of Magistrates and has served on the association's board of trustees for over ten years.

Q: What is a magistrate?

A: A magistrate is an attorney licensed in Ohio, who is appointed by the court to conduct some or all hearings in a case. A magistrate conduct a trial just as judge would and issue a decision in the case. However, a magistrate’s decision becomes the judgment of the court only after it has been reviewed and adopted by the judge.

Q: Can a magistrate hear any kind of case?

A:  In the court of common pleas, a magistrate can hear those cases which are allowed by the Rules of Civil Procedure or the Rules of Criminal Procedure. Generally, the magistrate conducts the trial or hearing in any non-jury civil case, garnishment proceedings, motions and petitions for civil stalking protection orders.

Q: Who decides what cases are heard by the magistrate instead of the judge?

A: Judge Kimbler decides what cases are referred to the magistrate. This is done by an “order of reference." A case can be referred to a magistrate without the consent of the parties.  

Q: What are the powers of a magistrate?

A: Subject to the order of reference, a magistrate has the authority to regulate the proceedings as a judge would. This includes the power to issue rule on the admissibility of evidence, take testimony, and make a contempt finding when a person behaves improperly in court or does not abide by the court’s orders.

Magistrates issue orders and decisions.  A magistrate's order is effective immediately and usually rules on procedural matters such as a motion to continue a hearing.  Magistrates’ orders generally are effective without a judge’s approval. If a party wants the judge to review the order, then the party must file a motion to set aside.  However, the order will still remain in effect while the request is pending unless the judge or magistrate issues a stay.   An order is usually issued for matters that are not dispositive of the entire case.  

A magistrate’s decision is issued when substantive issues are being addressed, or when the decision, if affirmed, would result in a final disposition of the case.  A magistrate would issue a decision when deciding a foreclosure case or a complaint seeking a monetary judgment.   The magistrate’s decision is not effective unless and until it is adopted by the judge. In that respect, the magistrate’s decision is like a recommendation.

Q: Can a magistrate make a final judgment in a case?

A: No; only a judge can render a final judgment in a case.

Q: What if I disagree with the magistrate’s decision?

A: If you disagree with a magistrate's decision, you may file written objections within 14 days after it is filed with the clerk, according to the provisions of Civil Rule 53.

Q: What are some of the differences between a judge and a magistrate?

A: Judges are elected to serve on the court for a term of six years, while magistrates are appointed by the judge and serve at the pleasure of the court. Like judges, magistrates must follow the code of ethical standards and other rules set by the Supreme Court of Ohio that regulates the judiciary.