justice of the peace

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justice of the peace,

official presiding over a type of police courtpolice court,
court with jurisdiction limited to minor offenses, chiefly the least grave misdemeanors and breaches of municipal ordinances. In practice the trial is usually held before a judge sitting without a jury.
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. In some states of the United States the justices, who are usually elected, have jurisdiction over petty civil and criminal cases as well as having such duties as the issuing of search warrants and the performance of marriage services. The justice of the peace was formerly of greater importance than he is at present. The establishment of the office throughout England in 1360 represented a further extension of royal authority to local government, especially to rural areas. The justices, selected from the gentry, enjoyed extensive administrative and police authority, and they had judicial power over most crimes. The office was established also in the American colonies, but by the latter part of the 19th cent. it had been relegated to a much less central role, especially in administrative areas, in both England and the United States.

justice of the peace

1. (in Britain) a lay magistrate, appointed by the crown or acting ex officio, whose function is to preserve the peace in his area, try summarily such cases as are within his jurisdiction, and perform miscellaneous administrative duties
2. (in Australia and New Zealand) a person authorised to administer oaths, attest instruments, and take declarations
References in periodicals archive ?
38) That Alington received these appointments while the Lancastrians were in complete control does not pass unnoticed by Roskell, who notes 'that he was clearly not active as a Lancastrian partisan at this time' since 'it was the Yorkists who reappointed him to the commission of the peace for the county and even gave him a place on the quorum of the bench on 26 August 1460, that is, after the Yorkists' recent victory at Northampton had placed the administration of the county at their disposal'.
43) Alington continued to receive various appointments in the last two years of the 1460s, including a March 1468 commission to inquire into the escape of felons from Cambridge gaols, and an additional appointment to a commission of the peace in 1468 for Cambridgeshire.
5: Court Proceedings by Petty Sessional Division and Commission of the Peace Area.

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