The Magistrate Court is a limited jurisdiction court of Civil and Criminal Jurisdiction that was constitutionally created in 1983. The jurisdiction is found in O.C.G.A. 15-10-2, Georgia Code, and the Uniform Rules of the Magistrate Court. The Courts purpose, mission and goal is to provide the citizens of Morgan County a high degree of judicial professionalism by providing a systematic, efficient and accurate court system, where all citizens and litigants of the county can expect a fair and impartial treatment with all aspects of the court and in a timely manner.
The Civil jurisdiction includes the trial and adjudication of civil disputes of $15,000 or less. These cases consist of civil suits, garnishments, evictions (landlord tenant), and foreclosures of personal property/ rental property, Post-Judgment Interrogatories and abandonment of motor vehicles. The Magistrate Court does not hold jury trials and is not a court of record.
The Criminal Jurisdiction includes issuing arrest warrant and search warrants, good behavior warrants/bonds, conducts pre-warrant hearings, first appearance hearings, bond hearings and preliminary hearings. The Court presides over and conducts trials for county ordinance violations, animal control violations and misdemeanors. The misdemeanor violations consists of bad check/deposit account fraud, criminal trespass, alcohol beverage violations involving persons under the age of 21, shoplifting and possession of marijuana less than an ounce.
RENEWAL OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH STATE OF EMERGENCY
In accordance with the Governor’s RENEWAL OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH STATE OF EMERGENCY, the Morgan County Magistrate Court will handle matters to the extent feasible and consistent with this Executive Order the United States and Georgia constitutions of applicable statues and court rules, including the public’s right of access to judicial proceedings and a criminal defendant’s right to confrontation and open courtrooms. These procedures shall remain in effect while the Public Health State of Emergency is in place.
GENERAL SAFETY GUIDELINES FOR MORGAN COUNTY MAGISTRATE COURT
- To the extent possible all parties, attorneys & witnesses should appear via teleconference or video conference.
- The courthouse will remain open for the public, but they are encouraged to stay home.
- Please leave all non-essential people at home. Avoid bringing children or family members, especially the elderly, to court
- No one should come to court if they are not feeling well or have a temperature above 100 degrees. Contact the Magistrate Court Office to be excused and to have your case rescheduled.
- Before you come to the courthouse please answer the four questions below. If you answer to any or the four questions is YES, then you should not come to the courthouse. Instead, contact the Magistrate Court Office to be excused and to have your case rescheduled.
- Have you had a recent onset of coughing?
- Have you had any recent difficulty breathing?
- Have you been around anyone who has been outside of the country in the last 14 days?
- Have you been around anyone who has been diagnosed with or is under investigation for potential COVID-19 infection?
- Prior to entering the courthouse, you will be asked to complete the COVID-19 HEALTH SURVEY.
- MASK or FACE COVERING HIGHLY SUGGESTED. Everyone coming to the courthouse is asked to have a mask or face covering but is not required. If you are wearing a mask or face covering and you are directed to remove the item by a member of the court staff please do so accordingly.
- Entering the courthouse. If you are entering the courthouse and there is a line, maintain social distance. Where there are markings on the ground establishing safe spacing, they are to be followed.
- The social distancing rules are in effect in and around the Morgan County Courthouse. Everyone shall maintain at least six feet distance from anyone else.
- Hand Sanitizer stations are on available in several locations in the courthouse. Everyone is encouraged to use it frequently.
- COURTROOM. There are limits on the number of people who may safely enter the courtroom to comply with the social distancing requirements.
- After signing in and completing the COVID-19 HEALTH SURVEY you are encouraged to remain outside the courthouse or in your car until they are called. All witnesses are to sign in and complete the same survey.
As long as there is PUBLIC HEALTH STATE OF EMERGENCY for GEORGIA these guidelines will remain in effect.