Magistrate Judge

Joseph Neil Pittman
Chief Magistrate Judge

Bethany Tanner
Magistrate Judge

P.O. Box 1053
Sandersville, GA 31082

478-552-3591 (office)
478-552-4010 (fax)

This webpage is made available to the citizens who may have business with the Magistrate Court. It is not intended to be a complete disclosure of all the services provided by this Court or legal procedures and principles pertaining to the Magistrate Court.

The magistrate Court and its employees CANNOT AND WILL NOT PROVIDE LEGAL ADVICE – TO DO SO WOULD BE UNLAWFUL. Our office will be happy to explain any process of the various proceedings that may be encountered in the Magistrate Court.If you have any questions, please feel free to ask any person associated with the Magistrate Court. Hopefully, this will answer and question you may have.
For Forms and additional information visit this website





Civil Matters/Hearings

    • Small Claims – The Court’s jurisdictional limit is $15,000. Action taken by individual(s) attempting to collect an unpaid debt. If an answer is filed by the Defendant(s), a hearing is scheduled within (30) days. If a judgement is rendeered, an individual has (3) remedies provided by law in which collections may be perfected: Continuing garnishment (wage attachment), one-time garnishment (bank), FiFa (recorded lien against Defendant)


    • Dispossessories – Action taken by a landlord to initiate eviction process on a tenant and regain legal possession of property. If an answer is filed by the Defendant(s), a hearing is scheduled within (2) weeks.


    • Writ of Possession – Order by the Court notifiying the tenant to vacate said premises within the guidelines of the law.


    • Garnishment – Action taken by creditor asks the court to order a third party who is indebted to turn over to the creditor any of the debtor’s property (such as wages or bank accounts) held by that third party.


    • Foreclosures – Action taken by party to regain possession of collateral. If an answer is filed by the Defendant(s), a hearing is scheduled within (2) weeks.


    • FiFa- A lien against Defendant(s) which is recorded through the Clerk of Superior Court. It also can be used as a writ of execution which directs the Sheriff’s Department to sieze Defendant’s personal property to satisfy a money judgment.


    • Interrogatories– A question (usually a set of questions) submitted to an opposing party in a lawsuit as part of discovery.


  • Abandoned Motor Vehicle Forclosures- Action taken by a Party to obtain an order from the Court allowing public sale of vehicle to satisfy an unpaid debt.

Criminal Matters Hearings/Warrants

    • Initial Appearance Hearings – Determines if bail can be set in accordance with the laws of the State of Georgia. These hearings are often times conducted pursuant to the laws of the State of Georgia.


    • Commitment Hearings – The purpose is to determine if probable cause exists in order to forward the case to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. These hearing are also known as Preliminary Hearings.


    • Pre Warrant Hearings – The purpose is to determine of probable cause exists to justify issuance of a warrant(s) against an accused. The majority of civilian criminal warrant applications are set for a hearing to provide a fair and impartial inspection of all the facts prior to any decision being rendered. Both the accused and applicant appear at this hearing, along with witnesses, documents and any other relevant evidence.


    • Arrest Warrants – Criminal warrants are issued through the Magistrate Court. Law Enforcement Officers and civilians request warrants based on probable cause. Probable cause determines if a criminal warrant is approved or denied by the Magistrate judge.


    • Search Warrants – Law Enforcement Officers are authorized to request search warrants. Civilians cannot apply for a search warrant. Probable cause determines if a search warrant is approved or denied. Search warrants are extremely invasive of a citizen’s personal freedom and liberty, therefore tremendous scrutiny is administered when deciding on the approval of this warrant.


  • Deposit Account Fraud (Bad Check) – The Magistrate Court handles all misdemeanor bad checks and the prosecution of those misdemeanors while all felony bad checks are prosecuted in Superior Court. Warrants are issued as to these cases.

Filing Fees

    • Civil Suits(Small Claims)- $ 91.00


    • Sheriff’s Service Fee (Additional Defendant )- $ 50.00


    • Dispossessory -$ 91.00


    • Garnishments -$ 91.00 


    • FiFa- $ 5.00
    • Interrogatories- $ 10.00


    • Pre Warrant Hearing Applications -$ 20.00


    • Stay away Hearings – $ 40.00


  • Appeals -$ 200.00