Chief Judge James F. Holderman announced today that the U.S. District Court Clerk's Office has now made the application for the position of United States Magistrate Judge available online. The Court anticipates that one or more vacancies will exist for the position of United States Magistrate Judge this year. Chief Judge Holderman intends to appoint a Merit Selection Panel that will screen the candidates and make recommendations to the district judges in the fall of 2009. The Court hopes to fill the open Magistrate Judge positions by spring 2010. These are full-time positions with an eight-year term of office and a duty station at the U.S. Courthouse in Chicago, Illinois. The duties of the position of a United States magistrate judge include the conduct of most preliminary proceedings in federal criminal cases, the trial and disposition of federal misdemeanor cases upon consent of the litigants, the conduct of various pretrial matters and evidentiary proceedings on reference from the district judges of the Court, and the trial and disposition of federal civil cases upon consent of the litigants. To be qualified for appointment as a United States magistrate judge, an applicant must be, and have been for at least five years, a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of a State, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands of the United States, and have been engaged in the active practice of law for a period of at least five years.