1997 Regular Session
To: Judiciary B; Fees and Salaries of Public Officers
By: Representative Guice
House Bill 915
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 9-11-9, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE CIVIL JURISDICTIONAL AMOUNT IN JUSTICE COURT; TO AMEND SECTION 11-9-105, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO SPECIFY THE ASSIGNMENT OF CIVIL CASES IN JUSTICE COURT; TO AMEND SECTION 25-3-36, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE COMPENSATION OF JUSTICE COURT JUDGES; TO AMEND SECTION 25-7-25, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE FILING FEE FOR CIVIL CASES IN JUSTICE COURT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 9-11-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
9-11-9. Justice court judges shall have jurisdiction of all actions for the recovery of debts or damages or personal property, where the principal of the debt, the amount of the demand, or the value of the property sought to be recovered shall not exceed Three Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($3,500.00).
The justice court judges shall have no pecuniary interest in the outcome of any action once suit has been filed.
SECTION 2. Section 11-9-105, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
11-9-105. Anyone desiring to sue in the justice court shall lodge with the clerk of the justice court the evidence of debt, statement of account, or other written statement of the cause of action. The clerk shall record all filings and shall, as far as practicable, assign the cases to each justice court judge in the county on a rotating basis to insure equal distribution of the cases among the judges of the county; however, in all counties in which the courtrooms provided by the county for use of the justice court judges are located in more than one (1) place in the county, the clerk, in addition to assigning cases to the judges on a rotating basis, may also assign a courtroom for each case, such assignment may be made based upon the proximity of the courtroom to the defendant's residence or place of business. The assignment of civil cases shall be as provided in this section and Section 25-3-36(1)(c). The clerk shall issue a summons for the defendant, returnable to the next term of the court of the justice court judge to which the case is assigned, which shall be executed five (5) days before the return day; but if the process be executed less than five (5) days before the return day, the service shall be good to require the appearance of the defendant at the term next succeeding the one to which it is returnable. Any summons issued within five (5) days before a term of the court shall be made returnable to the next succeeding term, unless a shorter day be named, in pursuance of the provision for a trial without delay in the case of nonresident or transient defendants. When the case has been recorded and assigned and process issued, the clerk shall, within two (2) working days, forward certified copies of all documents pertaining to the case to the justice court judge to which the case is assigned for further processing.
SECTION 3. Section 25-3-36, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
25-3-36. (1) From and after October 1, 1998, every justice court judge shall receive as full compensation for his or her services and in lieu of any and all other fees, costs or compensation heretofore authorized for such justice court judge, an annual salary * * * as follows:
(a) In counties with two (2) justice court judges, a salary of Fifteen Thousand Dollars ($15,000.00) for the disposition of criminal cases.
(b) In counties with * * * more than two (2) justice court judges, a salary of Twenty Thousand Dollars ($20,000.00) for the disposition of criminal cases.
(c) In all civil cases the justice court judges shall receive Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00) for each civil case assigned to them. The clerk of the justice court shall assign civil cases to justice court judges on a rotating basis in order to assure that each judge shall dispose of the same number of cases.
* * *
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, in the event that the number of justice court judges authorized pursuant to Section 9-11-2(1) is exceeded pursuant to the provisions of Section 9-11-2(4), the aggregate of the salaries paid to the justice court judges of such a county shall not exceed the amount sufficient to pay the number of justice court judges authorized pursuant to Section 9-11-2(1) and such amount shall be equally divided among those justice court judges continuing to hold office under the provisions of Section 9-11-2(4).
(3) From and after January 1, 1984, all fees, costs, fines and penalties charged and collected in the justice court shall be paid to the clerk of the justice court for deposit, along with monies from cash bonds and other monies which have been forfeited in criminal cases, into the general fund of the county as provided in Section 9-11-19; and the clerk of the board of supervisors shall be authorized and empowered, upon approval by the board of supervisors, to make disbursements and withdrawals from the general fund of the county in order to pay any reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in complying with this section, including payment of the salaries of justice court judges as provided by subsection (1) of this section. The provisions of this subsection shall not, except as to cash bonds and other monies which have been forfeited in criminal cases, apply to monies required to be deposited in the justice court clerk clearing account as provided in Section 9-11-18, Mississippi Code of 1972.
(4) The salaries provided for in subsection (1) of this section shall be payable monthly by warrant drawn by the clerk of the board of supervisors on the general fund of the county.
(5) Provided, that the salary of any justice court judge shall not be reduced during his term of office as a result of a population change following a federal decennial census.
(6) Any justice court judge who is unable to attend and hold court by reason of being under suspension by the Commission on Judicial Performance or the Mississippi Supreme Court shall not receive a salary while under such suspension.
SECTION 4. Section 25-7-25, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
25-7-25. Costs and fees in the justice court shall be charged as follows and shall be paid in advance to the clerk of the justice court in accordance with the provisions of Section 9-11-10.
(a) A uniform total fee in all civil cases, whether contested or uncontested, which shall include all services in connection therewith, including levy of execution, attachment and garnishment, except as hereinafter stated, each $30.00
(b) For more than one (1) defendant, for service of process on each defendant 3.00
(c) For all services in connection with the issuance of a peace bond 15.00
(d) For celebrating a marriage, and certificate thereof 10.00
(e) Commission to take depositions 5.00
(f) Appeal with proceedings and bond 5.00
(g) A clerk's fee to be collected in all criminal cases in which the defendant is convicted, as follows:
(i) For all violations in Title 63 other than driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or reckless driving 5.00
(ii) All other criminal cases 10.00
(h) In addition to the salary provided for in subsection (1) of Section 25-3-36, each justice court judge may receive a fee of not more than Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00) for each marriage ceremony he performs in the courtroom or offices of the justice court at any time the courtroom or offices are open to the public. This fee shall be paid by the parties to the marriage. Each justice court judge may receive money or gratuities for marriage ceremonies performed outside of and away from the courtroom and the offices of the justice court, that the parties to the marriage request to have performed at any time the courtroom or offices of the justice court are closed. These monies or gratuities, in an amount agreed upon by the parties to the marriage, are not considered fees for the justice court and are not subject to the requirements set forth in the provisions of Section 9-11-10.
SECTION 5. The Attorney General of the State of Mississippi shall submit this act, immediately upon approval by the Governor, or upon approval by the Legislature subsequent to a veto, to the Attorney General of the United States or to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in accordance with the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.
SECTION 6. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after the date it is effectuated under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.