Chief Magistrate Judge
PO Box 670
|Magistrate Court jurisdiction includes: civil claims of $15,000 or less; certain minor criminal offenses; distress warrants and dispossessory writs; county ordinance violations; deposit account fraud (bad checks); preliminary hearings; and summonses, arrest and search warrants. A chief magistrate, who may be assisted by one or more magistrates, presides over each of Georgia’s 159 magistrate courts.
Magistrates may grant bail in cases where the setting of bail is not exclusively reserved to a judge of another court. No jury trials are held in magistrate court. If a defendant submits a written request for a jury trial, cases may be removed to superior or state court.
Chief magistrates are either appointed or elected in partisan, countywide elections to serve a term of four years. The authority to appoint a replacement if a vacancy occurs in the office of the chief magistrate usually resides with the superior court judges of the circuit.
To qualify as a magistrate, an individual must reside in the county for at least one year preceding his or her term of office, be 25 years of age, and have a high school diploma or its equivalent. A magistrate court judge may also serve as a judge of another limited jurisdiction court in the same county.
The chief magistrate of Bryan County is Derrell Snider. Associate magistrate judge is Patrick Long.
Rebecca G. Crowe serves as the clerk of the magistrate court.