On Thursday, May 9, 2024, the Charlotte Observer reported that a Mecklenburg County magistrate had been removed from office following misconduct charges.

According to the article, Mecklenburg County Superior Court Judge Peter Knight ordered Robin Sabio to be removed as a magistrate on April 29, nearly two months after then-Chief District Court Judge Elizabeth Trosch had suspended her on March 8. Judge Trosch alleged that Sabio had lost more than $2,000 in bond money, skipped required training classes, and failed to show a minimum level of competence for the role. New court documents also revealed that errors in involuntary commitment paperwork filed by Sabio had led to at least one failed commitment process.

While Sabio was suspended for seven weeks, court officials took steps to improve training for magistrates. Chief Magistrate Wanda Moore, who oversees magistrates in Mecklenburg County alongside Judge Trosch, developed a new training protocol. The article did not provide details on the new procedures.

According to court documents cited in the article, Sabio began missing shifts and ignoring requests to attend disciplinary meetings after her office discovered the missing money, which was eventually returned to the proper county. Sabio had claimed to be on medical leave following surgeries but such time off had not been approved. She also alleged that asthma attacks caused her to be late on some occasions but did not provide any documentation.

The article provided context on the role of magistrates, explaining that they represent about 10% of the judicial branch workforce and are often the first judges citizens interact with after an arrest. Key duties include processing involuntary commitment requests, accepting guilty pleas, and overseeing warrants and protection orders. It described the process for hiring magistrates in Mecklenburg County.

After giving Sabio two days to voluntarily resign, Judge Trosch filed her misconduct complaint, leading to the removal proceedings. In documents, Trosch noted “persistent and recurring errors” in civil and criminal cases handled by Sabio.

 

 

Source: Charlotte Observer