AUGUSTA — A state superior court judge has been named to replace a federal judge who will be retiring in January.

Superior Court Justice John C. Nivison of Winslow has been appointed to take the seat being vacated by Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk.

Kravchuk too was a Maine Superior Court judge prior to joining the federal bench almost 14 years ago.

Nivison will be appointed by the district judges of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine and will work primarily from the federal courthouse in Bangor, according to an announcement posted on the U.S. District Court website.

Nivison today declined to comment through Mary Ann Lynch, government and media counsel with the Administrative Office of the Courts.

Lynch said that once Nivison’s post becomes vacant, the governor will nominate a candidate to go before legislators for confirmation.

A federal magistrate judge handles initial court appearances by criminal defendants, sets bail and handles other administrative and pretrial functions.

Nivison was screened by a 13-member panel and then by all the judges of the U.S. District Court.

Nivison graduated from Colby College in Waterville in 1982 and from the University of Maine School of Law in 1985. After spending 14 years working at the Augusta office of Pierce Atwood law firm, Nivison was appointed to the Maine District Court bench in 1999 and then was appointed to the superior court bench in 2007.

He has presided in a number of cases in Kennebec and Somerset counties. Nivison also presides in the Business and Consumer Court, which is based in Cumberland County.

A U.S. District Court magistrate justice, according to the posting on the U.S. District Court website, can handle civil and criminal matters, “including issuing arrest and search warrants, holding probable cause and detention hearings, resolving non-dispositive civil motions and making recommendations on dispositive criminal and civil motions.”