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 Justice Court
Justice Court Judges are elected officials serving 4 year terms.  To qualify to serve as a Justice Judge the candidate must meet the following requirements:
  • High school diploma is mandated
  • Justice Court Training Course provided by the Mississippi Judicial College of the University of Mississippi Law Center
  • Annual continuing education requirements prescribed by the Judicial College
  • Resident of County at least 2 years prior to serving it
  • Hold at least one session of court per month, but not more than two.

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.


Judge Jerry Baldwin and Judge Hulon West


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