For decades Mecklenburg County Justices of the Peace presided over minor civil and criminal cases and performed marriages (which is what I always think of). In 1967 “J.P. courts” were replaced by magistrates, but Justices of the Peace still serve folks in a hurry to wed.
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Here’s a quirky little story about the unrefined offices of some Charlotte J.P.s:
February 17, 1958 Charlotte Observer
Where the J.P.s Conduct Court
“You are judged by the house you live in.”
So say critics of the justices of the peace. They include lawyers, judges, other justices and much of the public.
And if the saying is true, then some Charlotte J. P.s would have to plead guilty.
One has his office in an alley; another has his in a building decorated with large red signs with neon lights; another in an old frame house.
And it has brought rise to some jokes which tend to ridiculre the J. P. and the law.
“Take it down to Judge so-and-so. Justice is right down his alley.”
And, “it’s not too late. Judge so-and-so is lighted up for night business.”
Add this sort of thing to the often-repeated saying that J. P. stands for “Judgment for the Plaintiff,” the critics say, and you get an idea of the standing of the J. P. courts with some segments of the public.
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