While most people will never be charged with a serious crime, either you or someone you know has appeared in a Municipal Court. Municipal Court is usually a city court that handles traffic tickets, lots of traffic tickets, and ordinance violations such as accumulation of trash, and neighbor issues such as trespass and barking dogs. Fines are imposed on the guilty. Those who work there refer to it as "Muni Court."
This court should not be confused with the television courtroom shows where two people ask a judge to resolve an issue that usually requires payment of money to one or the other of the participants, those are small claims courts. The patrons of Municipal Court are ordinary citizens who usually appear without the benefit of an attorney and provide their own defense in a forum with which they are not familiar. A few do very well in their own defense. Most simply want to get the matter behind them. But some provide a fascinating display of human ingenuity, ineptness, self rationalization and much unintended humor. Muni Court shares a few of author Bluth's experiences as a muni court judge in two rural communities.
About the Author: For almost two decades, Robert Bluth has been an attorney who practices general business law, litigation, and corporate law. For over sixteen years, for a few hours on most Wednesday evenings he has served as a municipal court judge for two small rural towns. He and his wife have seven children.