The Mississippi Municipal Courts are limited jurisdiction courts in the state, and they are highly focused on municipal ordinance violations, misdemeanors and traffic crimes. In many cases, Municipal Judges perform preliminary hearings to advise offenders of their charges and their rights. Municipal Courts also hold bond hearings and other types. These courts do not conduct jury trials; everything is heard by and decided by a judge.
Mississippi has 237 Municipal Courts spread across the state. Some municipalities have a few Municipal Court judges, and some only have one. Most Municipal Court judges are appointed by the Governor or other government boards within the municipality. There is no standard office term; they vary by municipality.
All divisions of the judicial branch of Mississippi, including Municipal Courts, are administered by The Mississippi Administrative Office of Courts. The AOC was created in 1993 to assist the courts, judges, staff, and patrons with making the legal process as efficient as possible. It is located in Jackson, Mississippi and supports all court personnel including Municipal Court staff. Some of the duties this resource provides are:
- “To collect case statistics from all civil, criminal and youth courts in the state.
- To coordinate and conduct studies and projects to improve the administration of justice.
- To require the filing of reports and the collection and compilation of statistical data and financial information.
- To make recommendations regarding the state of the dockets and the effective number of judges and other court personnel.
- To prescribe uniform administrative and business records, forms, systems, and records.
- To prepare and submit budget recommendations necessary for the maintenance and operation of the judicial system.
- To develop and implement personnel policies for nonjudicial court employees.
- To make recommendations for the improvement of the operations of the judicial system.
- To take necessary steps in the collection of unpaid fines and court costs.