- justice of the peace
- An office of ancient origin, established in the United States as part of the English judicial system under the common law. Brown v Knox County, 187 Tenn 8, 212 SW2d 673, 5 ALR2d 1264. A magistrate; often a township officer, although exercising county-wide jurisdiction, and sometimes regarded as a county officer. 31 Am J Rev ed J P § 3. Essentially a magistrate, a judicial officer, although vested with some administrative or ministerial powers. 31 Am J Rev ed J P § 2. A judicial office of limited jurisdiction, the jurisdiction usually being limited to actions, other than those involving title to real property, wherein the amount in controversy is relatively small, and in criminal cases, to prosecutions for minor offenses and misdemeanors, and preliminary hearings upon charges of felony or serious misdemeanor. The incumbent of the office of justice of the peace. Not a judge for all purposes, for example, not within the meaning of a statute fixing an age limit for "judges." People v Mann, 97 NY 530. But a judge within the meaning of the rule that words spoken by a "judge" in the course of a judicial proceeding over which he is presiding, and in relation to the subject of the proceeding, are absolutely privileged. 33 Am J1st L & S § 177.
Ballentine's law dictionary. Anderson, W.S.. 1998.