Responsibilities of the Justice Court
Smith County Justice Court has jurisdiction over all actions for the recovery of debts or damages as well as personal property, up to $2,500. Clients file affidavits in Justice Court to recover property to settle debts, or to seek relief from disputes over family matters or issues involving neighbors and others.
Additionally, Justice Court handles fines resulting from citations by the Mississippi Highway Patrol and Fish and Wildlife Department officers. It holds court for citizens who protest such citations. It also holds court to settle criminal violations occurring outside the municipalities but within the county and performs marriage ceremonies. It issues process papers, subpoenas and warrants requiring an appearance in court on a specified date.
Justice Court works cooperatively with the Public Service Commissioner and received monies resulting from periodic vehicle inspection roadblocks.
The officers of the court consist of Justice Court Clerk, or Court Administrator, 12 deputy clerks, a bailiff and four judges. Process papers, subpoenas, and warrants are served by Constables who are elected officials.
A 1984 statute by the Mississippi Legislature requiring a competent number of
justice court judges in each county eliminated the Justice of the Peace System and established the present Justice Court System.