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Justices of the Peace


Description of Office

Justice of the Peace Courts are the most accessible judicial settings for the average citizen. Justices of the Peace hear misdemeanor cases punishable only by fine, as well as most civil disputes involving claims of 10,000 or less. They perform magistrate functions and conduct inquests.

Justices of the Peace may issue warrants for search and arrest, issue civil process, conduct preliminary hearings, administer oaths, perform marriages, and serve as coroners in counties without a medical examiner. They may also oversee mortgage foreclosures, enforce liens on personal property, and resolve landlord-tenant disputes.

Justices of the Peace have ultimate authority over the operations of their offices, including the authority to hire, fire, and direct the activities of their personnel. They also have authority to direct the use of all financial resources allocated to their offices in the county budgeting process.