The Magistrate Court was created by legislation in 1983. Prior to then there were Small Claims Courts with Justices of the Peace presiding. Each county within the State of Georgia has a Magistrate Court. Each court has a Chief Magistrate that is elected by the citizens of the county. Many Magistrate Courts have at least one, if not more, judges or Magistrates who are associates and serve in the same judicial capacity and handle related casework.
The Civil Jurisdiction
The Magistrate Court’s Civil jurisdiction is now $15,000. This became effective July 1,1999 by legislation through the General Assembly. On Landlord / Tenant and rental disputes there is no monetary limit, this court has an exclusive right over these cases.
The Criminal Aspect
The Magistrate Court Judges must approve all criminal warrants issued within Upson County. Law enforcement personnel generally secure the criminal warrant in the majority of criminal cases within the City of Thomaston and Upson County. Citizens are lawfully permitted to secure their own arrest warrants, however, the court prefers some form of law enforcement involvement.