The Desoto County Court system includes many courts located within the county. Desoto County has not only the County Courts but also municipal courts. The municipal courts in Desoto County are located in the Cities of: Walls, Horn Lake, Southaven, Olive Branch, Hernando, Nesbit, and Lake Cormorant. What is a municipal court and what types of cases to they handle?
Municipal courts have jurisdiction over misdemeanor crimes, municipal ordinances and city traffic violations. Municipal judges may conduct initial appearances in which defendants are advised of the charges being filed, as well as bond hearings and preliminary hearings.
The next court system would be the county courts which include Desoto County Justice Court and Desoto County County Court, Desoto County Circuit Court.
Justice Courts have jurisdiction over small claims civil cases involving amounts of $3,500 or less, misdemeanor criminal cases and any traffic offense that occurs outside a municipality. Justice Court judges may conduct bond hearings and preliminary hearings in felony criminal cases and may issue search warrants.
There are 82 Justice Courts with 197 judges. Justice Court judges are the only Mississippi judges elected in partisan races. They serve four-year terms.
County Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over eminent domain proceedings and juvenile matters, among other things. In counties which have a County Court, a County Court judge also serves as the Youth Court judge. County Courts share jurisdiction with Circuit and Chancery Courts in some civil matters. The jurisdictional limit of County Courts is up to $200,000. County Courts may handle non-capital felony cases transferred from Circuit Court.
County Court judges may issue search warrants, set bond and preside over preliminary hearings. County Courts have concurrent jurisdiction with Justice Courts in all matters, civil and criminal. Mississippi has 22 County Courts and 30 County Court judges. Counties which have a County Court include Adams, Bolivar, Coahoma, DeSoto, Forrest, Hancock, Harrison, Hinds, Jackson, Jones, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lee, Leflore, Lowndes, Madison, Pearl River, Pike, Rankin, Warren, Washington and Yazoo.
County Court judges serve four-year terms. Elections are non-partisan.
Circuit Courts hear felony criminal prosecutions and civil lawsuits. Circuit Courts hear appeals from County, Justice and Municipal courts and from administrative boards and commissions such as the Workers’ Compensation Commission and the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.
There are 22 Circuit Court districts and 57 Circuit Court judges. The number of Circuit Judges per district ranges from one to four. Circuit Court judges are selected in non-partisan elections to serve four-year terms.
Trials are heard with a 12-member jury and usually one or two alternate jurors. A judge may preside without a jury if the dispute is a question of law rather than fact.
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