Case loads that appear before Bartow's courts continue to rise with crime, drug abuse and an increased population and both Magistrate and Superior Court judges are juggling the burden while the county struggles to balance budgets across the board. However, the courts have not been affected by the cuts as much as others.
The Magistrate Court handles cases in both the civil and criminal arenas with anything from small claims to warrants.
"We do quite a bit around here," Chief Magistrate Judge Tom Moseley said. "We are a small claims court, [which means] we handle civil suits with a $15,000 maximum limit. We do evictions and we do garnishments if the amount in contest is less than $15,000. We do personal property foreclosures and we do abandoned motor vehicle processing -- that's our civil side. On the criminal side, we issue arrest warrants and search warrants [and] we do warrant application hearings, bond hearings and preliminary hearings. We do trials of county ordinance violations and misdemeanor bad checks. We stay pretty busy, and in our spare time, we do free weddings."
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