Troup County Magistrate Court
Welcome

Civil Jurisdiction

Criminal Jurisdiction

Fees

Judges and Clerks


Welcome to the home page of Troup County’s Magistrate Court. We are located on the first floor in the Troup County Government Center in downtown LaGrange, Georgia.

If you require assistance in the filing of any claim, civil or criminal, please do not hesitate to call our office. Our offices are open each weekday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

This site will attempt to answer some general questions about our hours, fees and operations . Although it cannot answer all questions we are hopeful that you will find the information helpful. Please feel free to call us to ask any questions you may have about our procedures, costs and any other information you need.

Contact Information:
Magistrate Court of Troup County
Troup County Government Center
100 Ridley Avenue
LaGrange, Georgia 30240
Phone: 706-883-1695
Fax:706-883-1632


Civil Juristiction

The Magistrate Court was established in 1983 by the Georgia Constitution. Before that date, this court was also known as justice of the peace courts and small claims court. The Magistrate Court has jurisdiction in civil as well as criminal matters.

CIVIL JURISDICTION
The jurisdiction for civil claims is $15,000.00 and if your claim has a value of over $15,000.00, you will be required to file in either State or Superior Court. The monetary limit does not apply to dispossessory actions (evictions) and the jurisdiction conferred in these actions is unlimited.

It is very important that all parties understand that although the proceedings are not as formal in Magistrate Court as they are in State and Superior Court, the same rules and laws are applied. If you are not familiar with legal proceedings or Georgia law, you may well find it advisable to seek the advice of a lawyer of your own choosing. Please be aware that no clerk in our court is allowed by law to provide legal advice to you or to any other party. It is illegal and improper for them to assist you in any substantive matter. It is also improper to attempt to speak to a judge about any pending matter.

Before you file a claim, it is advisable that you assess whether or not you have the proper level of admissible evidence to prevail. It is also advisable that you assess whether or not you will be able to collect a money judgment in the event that you are successful.

EXAMPLES OF CIVIL ACTIONS

Claims for money judgments less than $15,000.00
These can include collections of debts, contract disputes, personal injury and many other types of claims

Dispossessory Actions (Evictions)-no monetary limit

Repossessions of Personal Property

Abandoned Motor Vehicles

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Criminal Juristiction

The Magistrate Court has criminal jurisdiction throughout the county, including all municipalities within the county. Criminal arrest warrants are issued for all crimes, felonies and misdemeanors, alleged to have been committed within the county. Our caseloads have increased dramatically over the past several years owing to the fact that we are the first level of the judicial branch that is responsible for each of the cases made in the county.

The Magistrate Court presides over all first appearance hearings. These hearings are conducted by the court within 48 to 72 hours of arrest and are held each Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. The court conducts these hearings via video-conferencing for each person charged with a criminal offense and who is being held in jail. If bail is warranted, the court sets the bail with any special conditions added to insure the safety of individuals and the county’s citizenry in general.

The court schedules a date for the committal hearing, also known as a preliminary or probable cause hearing. All pending criminal matters, felonies and misdemeanors, are heard by this court. At these hearings, the accused individuals are represented by counsel and a representative of the prosecutor’s offices presents evidence in an effort to establish probable cause that a crime was committed by the accused. If probable cause is established, the issue of bond or bail is again addressed and the court makes a determination.

Private or individual warrants are also issued by this court for misdemeanor offenses. Each person seeking a private warrant must bring an incident report from a law enforcement agency and they will be required to fill out a warrant application regarding the information necessary to establish the name, address and other indentifying information of the accused. State law requires the court to hold what is called a “Pre-Execution” hearing. The accused is notified that a court date has been set for a hearing to determine probable cause. It is important to note that this hearing is not a trial of the issues and this court is not determining the guilt or innocence of the accused. The hearing is to determine whether or not the complaining party can show that all the elements of a particular crime has been committed and whether it is more likely than not that the person accused is the perpetrator of that crime. All defenses to any accusation must be heard in the trial court (State Court) at the time of the trial to determine guilt or innocence. If probable cause is found, the accused is immediately arrested and a bond is established along with any special conditions.

There is a fee to file an application for a private warrant and in the event that a party seeks to dismiss an application for an arrest warrant, that party must pay $100.00 as court costs.

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Fees

This is a partial list of the fees applicable in the Magistrate Court.

Please note that the Marshall’s department serves at the address provided by the person filing the claim. If the address is incorrect, a new service fee is required.

All fees must be paid in cash, money order or cashier’s check. We are not able to provide change to citizens and request that when paying with cash, please bring the exact amount.


CIVIL CASES

Filing of civil claim:
85.00 One Defendant
100.00 Two Defendants-Same Address
40.00 Each additional Defendant

Garnishments:
85.00 Filing and Service

Repossessions and Foreclosures of Personal Property:
85.00 One Defendant
100.00 Two Defendants-Same Address
40.00 Each additional Defendant

Fi. Fa. 9.00 (5.00 to Superior Court and 4.00 to Magistrate Court)

*Note: Please provided a self-addressed stamped envelope

Alias Fi. Fa. 4.00

Levy 15.00

DISPOSSESSORIES (EVICTIONS):
85.00 One Defendant
100.00 Two Defendants
40.00 Each additional Defendant

RESERVICE FEE:
40.00

INTERROGATORIES:
40.00 *If served by Marshal
10.00 Filed within 30 days of judgment
85.00 Filed beyond 30 days of judgment

COURT COST:
15.00 Filed within 30 days of judgment

ALL COPIES: .50 Each page

NULLA BONA:
30.00 (25.00 Magistrate Court and 5.00 Superior Court)
40.00 Rule NISI

CRIMINAL FEES

WARRANT APPLICATIONS:
20.00 Each application

SUBPOENAS: 5.00 Served by the person requesting
                    10.00 For Service by Marshal

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Judges and Clerks

court Vickie Sue McWaters
Chief Magistrate

Judge McWaters has been the Chief Magistrate since her election in 1986. She is a graduate of LaGrange College and Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law. She also maintains a private law practice.

Toye Duffey
Clerk of Court

Ms Duffey is the Clerk of Magistrate Court. She is primarily responsible for the financial accounting and disbursement of funds received by the court. She schedules all criminal proceedings and hearings and coordinates with all law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys.

Tara Ward
Deputy Clerk

Ms Ward’s duties include assisting members of the public with the filing of civil and criminal claims as well as many other clerical duties.

Meghan Pearson
Deputy Clerk

Mrs. Pearson’s duties include assisting members of the public with the filing of civil and criminal claims as well as many other clerical duties.

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