Judge of the Magistrate Court

The Georgia Constitution of 1983 required that justice of the peace courts, small claims courts, and magistrate courts operating on the effective date of that constitution should become and be classified as magistrate courts.

Each magistrate court and each magistrate has jurisdiction and power over

  1. the hearing of applications for and the issuance of arrest and search warrants;
  2. issuance of warrants and related proceedings as provided in Article 4 of Chapter 6 of Title 17 of O.C.G.A., relating to bonds for good behavior and bonds to keep the peace;
  3. the holding of courts of inquiry;
  4. the trial of charges of violations of county ordinances and penal ordinances of state authorities;
  5. the trial of civil claims including garnishment and attachment in which exclusive jurisdiction is not vested in the superior court and the amount demanded or the value of the property claimed does not exceed $15,000 provided that no prejudgment attachment may be granted;
  6. the issuance of summons, trial of issues, and issuance of writs and judgments in dispossessory proceedings and distress warrant proceedings as provided in Articles 3 and 4 of Chapter 7 of Title 44 of O.C.G.A.;
  7. the punishment of contempts by fine not exceeding $200 or by imprisonment not exceeding 10 days or both;
  8. the administration of any oath that is not required by law to be administered by some other officer;
  9. the granting of bail in all cases for which the granting of bail is not exclusively committed to some other court or officer;
  10. the issuing of subpoenas to compel attendance of witnesses in the magistrate court and subpoenas for the production of documentary evidence before the magistrate court;
  11. the trial and sentencing of misdemeanor violations of Section 16-9-20 of O.C.G.A. relating to the criminal issuance of bad checks;
  12. the execution or subscription and the acceptance of written waivers of extradition as provided in Section 17-13-46 of O.C.G.A.; and
  13. the trial and sentencing of other specified misdemeanor violations; and
  14. such other matters as are committed to their jurisdiction by other general laws.

(quoted from: Hudson, Betty and Hardy, Paul, Handbook for Georgia County Commissioners. Athens: Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia, 2002, pp. 72-73.)