Justice of the Peace

Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 & 3   |   Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 & 4 
Jarrell Hedrick                                             Nancy Bradshaw
In the 1876 Constitution of the State of Texas, Article Five, Section One, the office of Justice of the Peace was established as a court with judicial power.

The Justice Court in reference to the Constitution of the State of Texas, provides:

  • Exclusive civil jurisdiction in matters of $200 or less controversy
  • Justice of Peace Courts have original jurisdiction in criminal misdemeanors punishable by fine only
  • Such other jurisdiction as provided by law
  • Civil Jurisdiction is further defined in Section 27.031, Texas Government Code. In addition to the jurisdiction and powers provided by the Constitution and other law, the justice court has original jurisdiction of:
  • Cases of forcible entry and detainer (Eviction)
  • Civil matters in which exclusive jurisdiction is not in the district or county court and in which the amount in controversy is not more than $10,000, exclusive of interest
  • Foreclosure of mortgages and enforcement of liens on personal property in cases in which the amount in controversy is otherwise within the justice court’s jurisdiction
  • The Justice of the Peace is the legal jurisdiction closest to the average citizen. It is often referred to as " The People's Court". There are two of these judges in Martin County, each elected to a four year term.

  • Additionally, Article 2.09 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure defines “magistrates” to include the Justice of the Peace. Duties of a magistrate in Article 2.10 of the Code are:
  • To cause the arrest of offenders by the use of lawful means that they may be brought to punishment
  • To issue all process intended to aid in preventing and suppressing crime
  • To preserve the peace within his jurisdiction by the use of all lawful means

Justice courts DO NOT have jurisdiction over the following suits: (1) on behalf of the State to recover penalties, forfeitures or escheats; (2) for divorce; (3) for slander or defamation; (4) for title to land; or (5) to enforce a lien on land. Gov’t Code § 27.031(b).