TO PROTECT AND SERVE.
The justice of the peace is the legal jurisdiction closest to the average citizen.
Section 19 of Article 5 of the Texas Constitution provides that: justice of the peace courts have original jurisdiction in criminal matters of misdemeanor cases punishable by fine only and such other jurisdiction as may be provided by law. Original jurisdiction is the authority to accept a case at its inception, try it and pass judgment based upon the laws and facts. This is distinguished from appellate jurisdiction which is jurisdiction to review a court's action. The justice of the peace performs the functions of a magistrate and conducts inquests.