Magistrate Court

What is a Magistrate Court?

Magistrate courts are specialized courts that are part of the Georgia Judicial Branch. magistrate courts have jurisdiction over the following:

  • Arrest and search warrants
  • Bad checks/deposit account fraud
  • Certain minor criminal offenses
  • Civil claims of $15,000 or less
  • County ordinance violations
  • Distress warrants and dispossessory writs,
  • Preliminary hearings
  • Summonses

A chief magistrate heads the court. Magistrate courts exist in all 159 of Georgia's counties.

Meet Your Magistrates

Tracy L. Maddux is the Chief Magistrate for Chattooga County. As Chief Magistrate, he presides over the Magistrate Court. He assigns cases, sets court sessions, appoints other magistrates (with the consent of superior court judges), and sets basic policy for the magistrate court. Chief Magistrate Maddux can also grant bail in cases where the setting of bail is not reserved to a judge of another court. Though Chief Magistrate Maddux does sit as presiding officer of the magistrate court, he cannot lead a jury trial. If a defendant submits a request for a jury trial, the case will be removed from the magistrate court and sent to the superior or state court. Maddux's post is an elected one, and he must seek reelection every four years for his four-year term.

Magistrate Maddux is able to appoint people to assist him as deputy magistrates. Currently, Connie Stone and Probate Court Judge Gary Woods are deputy magistrates.