In American law. A judicial officer of inferior rank holding a court not of record, and having (usually) civil jurisdiction of a limited nature, for the trial of minor cases, to an extent prescribed by statute, and for the conservation of the peace and the preliminary hearing of criminal complaints and the commitment of offenders. See Wenzler v. People, 58 N. Y. 530; Com. v. Frank, 21 Pa. Co. Ct. R. 120; Weikel v. Cate, 58 Md. 110; Smith v. Abbott, 17 N. J. Law, 366; People y. Mann, 97 N. Y. 530, 49 Am. Rep. 556. In English law. Judges of record appointed by the crown to be justices within a certain district, (e. g., a county or borough,) for the conservation of the peace, and for the execution of divers things, comprehended within their commission and within divers statutes, committed to their charge. Stone, J. Pr. 2.
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