Justice of the Peace courts in Texas are specifically designed not to have lawyers as Judges but instead citizens as common sense mediators. Brian Hutcheson is a small business owner who serves the citizens of Precinct 2 as Texas law has designed the court to be operated.
Here is a description of office provided by the Texas Association of Counties.
- Hears traffic and other Class C misdemeanor cases punishable by fine only.
- Hears civil cases with up to $10,000 in controversy.
- Hears landlord and tenant disputes.
- Hears truancy cases.
- Performs magistrate duties.
- Conducts inquests.
- Juvenile citations
- Mental health warrants
- Substance abuse intervention
“A lot of times the courts seem unfair,” says Russell Casey, a Tarrant County Justice of the Peace who was appointed by the state Supreme Court to chair a task force that wrote the new rules. Casey isn’t a lawyer. He says that’s why he was picked [to chair the task force.]
“The process seems like it’s out to get you, and we have tried very hard to eliminate the trapdoors and lawyer tricks that have made the courts develop a reputation over the years of being very scary and unfair.”
From the Dallas Morning News: “A state law passed in 2011 makes it clear how the new consumer court is supposed to work: “The hearing is informal, with the sole objective being to dispense speedy justice between the parties,” the law states. The rules may not be “so complex that a reasonable person without legal training would have difficulty understanding or applying the rules.”