Superior Court Judge Nivison selected to replace retiring U.S. Magistrate judge

Superior Court Justice John Nivison at Penobscot Judicial Center on April 11, 2012.
John Clarke Russ | BDN
Superior Court Justice John Nivison at Penobscot Judicial Center on April 11, 2012.
Posted Sept. 23, 2013, at 7:59 a.m.
Last modified Sept. 23, 2013, at 4:55 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Superior Court Justice John Nivison will replace U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk when she retires in January, according to information posted Friday on the federal court system’s website.

Nivison, 53, is based at the Kennebec County Courthouse. He often presides over cases in Augusta and Somerset County, and also has served on the Business and Consumer Court.

He declined Monday through court spokeswoman Mary Ann Lynch to comment on his new job.

As a federal judge, he will preside primarily in Bangor at the courts on the third floor of the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building, according to the posting. He will occasionally preside at the Edward T. Gignoux Courthouse in Portland.

His salary as a federal judge will be $160,080, according to the U.S. District Court of Maine. Federal magistrate judges are appointed for eight-year terms and may be reappointed to multiple terms.

As a Superior Court justice, Nivison makes about $115,000, according to Lynch.

Kravchuk, 65, of Bangor announced earlier this year that she would retire Jan. 24, 2014. She has served as a magistrate judge since 2000.

Magistrate judges may issue arrest and search warrants, hold probable cause and detention hearings, resolve civil motions that do not involve depositions, make recommendations on criminal and civil motions, select juries for civil and criminal trials and preside over civil trials with the consent of the plaintiffs and defendants.

The position was created in 1968 by Congress to assist U.S. District Court judges, who are nominated by the President and must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate to the lifetime position. Magistrate judges are appointed by the U.S. District Court judges in a geographic district. The Maine district includes the entire state.

Nivison and other candidates were screened by a 13-member panel, headed by Bangor attorney Bernard Kubetz, that included lawyers, a former judge and members of the public, according to the posting.

Nivison graduated in 1982 from Colby College in Waterville and in 1985 from the University of Maine School of Law. He worked in the Augusta office of Pierce Atwood before becoming a judge.

Then-Gov. Angus King appointed Nivison in 1999 to the Maine District Court. In 2007, then-Gov. John Baldacci appointed Nivison to the Superior Court bench.

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