§ 171. Justice court judges; jurisdiction
A competent number of justice court judges and constables shall be chosen in each county in the manner provided by law, but not less than two (2) such judges in any county, who shall hold their office for the term of four (4) years. Each justice court judge shall have resided two (2) years in the county next preceding his selection and shall be high school graduate or have a general equivalency diploma unless he shall have served as a justice of the peace or been elected to the office of justice of the peace prior to January 1, 1976. All persons elected to the office of justice of the peace in November, 1975, shall take office in January, 1976, as justice court judges.
The maximum civil jurisdiction of the justice court shall extend to causes in which the principal amount in controversy is Five Hundred Dollars ($ 500.00) or such higher amount as may be prescribed by law. The justice court shall have jurisdiction concurrent with the circuit court over all crimes whereof the punishment prescribed does not extend beyond a fine and imprisonment in the county jail; but the Legislature may confer on the justice court exclusive jurisdiction in such petty misdemeanors as the Legislature shall see proper.
In all causes tried in justice court, the right of appeal shall be secured under such rules and regulations as shall be prescribed by law, and no justice court judge shall preside at the trial of any cause where he may be interested, or the parties or either of them shall be connected with him by affinity or consanguinity, except by the consent of the justice court judge and of the parties.
All reference in the Mississippi Code to justice of the peace shall mean justice court judge.