The Civil Court of Richmond County is a forum for civil disputes in which the amount in controversy does not exceed $45,000. A majority of the civil litigants in these cases are represented by attorneys.
Civil Court is a court of record. The Civil Practice Act and the rules of evidence apply. This is also the forum in which hearings are held to determine whether adequate evidence exists to issue arrest warrants for felonies and misdemeanors committed in Richmond County, including citations or warrants for deposit account fraud (issuance of a bad check).
Finally, Civil Court is the forum in which preliminary hearings are held to determine if adequate evidence exists to bind felony defendants over to Superior Court for indictment by the Grand Jury.
The Magistrate Court has jurisdiction to address civil disputes in which the amount in controversy is not in excess of $15,000. A majority of litigants in this court appear pro se, or unrepresented.
Magistrate Court is a court of inquiry, not a court of record. Although the Civil Practice Act does not apply, the rules of evidence do. Magistrate Court is the forum in which a majority of the dispossessory, or eviction, actions are filed and addressed. It is also the forum in which violations of county ordinances are addressed. In general, the maximum sentence that can be imposed for violation of any one county ordinance is a $1,000 fine and confinement for 60 days. The Judges of Magistrate Court also handle the Initial Appearance Hearings of individuals arrested on felony warrants.
Civil and Magistrate Court acting in concert address all extradition matters for Richmond County and the hearing and setting of a majority of the bail bonds.