Justice of the Peace
Justice of the Peace Videos
Justices of the Peace (JPs) serve as trial court Judge for four different kinds of civil lawsuits, as a trial court Judge for Class C Misdemeanors, and as an administrative court Judge for a variety of miscellaneous court procedures. JPs in Parker County are elected from four precincts for four-year terms. JPs do not have to be attorneys.
The four different kinds of civil lawsuits heard in Justice Court are:
A small claims case is a lawsuit brought for the recovery of money damages, civil penalties, personal property, or other relief allowed by law. The claim can be for no more than $20,000, excluding statutory interest and court costs but including attorney fees, if any.
A debt claim case is a lawsuit brought to recover a debt by an assignee of a claim, a debt collector or collection agency, a financial institution, or a person or entity primarily engaged in the business of lending money at interest. The claim can be for no more than $20,000, excluding statutory interest and court costs but including attorney fees, if any.
An eviction case is a lawsuit brought to recover possession of real property, often by a landlord against a tenant. A claim for rent may be joined with an eviction case if the amount of rent due and unpaid is not more than $20,000, excluding statutory interest and court costs but including attorney fees, if any.
Repair and Remedy
A repair and remedy case is a lawsuit filed by a residential tenant under Chapter 92, Subchapter B of the Texas Property Code to enforce the landlord’s duty to repair or remedy a condition materially affecting the physical health or safety of an ordinary tenant. The relief sought can be for no more than $20,000, excluding statutory interest and court costs but including attorney fees, if any.
JP Courts also adjudicate the Class C Misdemeanor criminal cases which are filed in their courts by the various state and county agencies which are authorized to write citations, i.e., DPS, Sheriff’s Department. A JP’s duties also include matters such as driver’s license suspension hearings, deed restriction cases, and disposition of stolen property hearings.
A JP is also a magistrate and those duties include matters such as adult and juvenile magistrate’s warnings (on all classes of criminal offenses), magistrate’s emergency protective orders, and signing of probable cause warrants.
Justices of the Peace also perform marriages. If you are interested in getting married by a Justice of the Peace, please contact the JP office of your choice for information on how they handle marriages.
PLEASE NOTE WHEN CONTACTING A COURT:
“A Judge shall not initiate, permit, or consider ex parte or other communications made to the Judge outside the presence of the parties…concerning the merits of a pending or impending judicial proceeding. A Judge shall require compliance with this subsection by court personnel subject to his or her direction and control… Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 3, Section B.(8)
The following items will not be allowed in Justice Court:
- Cell phones and all electronic items must be off or silenced
- Cameras, tape recorders, or other mechanical recording devices without the expressed permission of the Judge
- Animals, unless appearing as evidence with the permission of the Judge or as an aide to the disabled
- Beverage containers or edibles
- Gum chewing
- Persons carrying weapons, including those with permits
- Tobacco products
- Wearing hats
All persons appearing for court must:
- Be present in Court at the time specified by the Court or default judgment or failure to appear may be rendered on the late party
- Provide copies to the Court and to the opposing party of any documents you intend to submit to the Court as evidence
- Refrain from leaning on the bench when coming forward to talk to the Judge
- Refrain from propping feet on tables, chairs, walls or doors
- Refrain from unnecessary talking and noises
- Rise when being addressed or when addressing the Judge
- Wear suitable attire (no shorts or flip flops)
Visitors to the courtroom are welcome to sit quietly and observe the proceedings if space permits. For more information, please contact your precinct’s Justice of the Peace office.