When State Court caseloads grow, the courts clamor for more judges and staffers to handle them. But what happens when caseloads shrink?
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Magistrate Court is sometimes referred to as a “people’s court” because it is more informal and people often represent themselves. Magistrate Court’s jurisdiction includes civil claims of $15,000 or less; certain minor criminal offenses; landlord/tenant disputes; county ordinance violations; deposit account fraud (bad checks); preliminary hearings in criminal matters; and summonses, arrest and search warrants. There is a Magistrate Court in each of Georgia’s 159 counties.
State Court has limited jurisdiction over all misdemeanor violations, including traffic cases, and civil actions regardless of the amount claimed. State Court has the authority to hear appeals of decisions from Magistrate Court. The General Assembly has to create a State Court through local legislation, so only 71 of Georgia’s 159 counties have one.
Superior Court is Georgia’s general jurisdiction trial court. It has exclusive constitutional authority over felony cases, divorces, equity and cases regarding title to land. The Superior Court corrects errors made by lower courts and has the right to directly review decisions made in some lower courts. Each county has its own Superior Court, though a judge may serve more than one county.
Source: Administrative Office of the Courts of Georgia