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The Fate of “Fight Court”: You Decide

Ferguson Hayes Hawkins, PLLC Jan. 25, 2017

North Carolina is one of only a handful of states that has retained the “private warrant court,” or as regular denizens of the courthouse know it: “fight court.”

Cases in “fight court” begin when one individual applies for a warrant against another individual, instead of the usual procedure of a law enforcement officer applying for a warrant, or issuing a citation.  Some of the cases are amusing in their pettiness.  Many involve grudge matches where both parties have taken out warrants against each other simultaneously.  In quite a few cases, the “victim” or prosecuting witness never shows up.  Other cases — for instance, charges of assault on a female and child abuse — are serious matters that cannot be ignored.

The question I have for you is this: Is “fight court,” as well as the practice of allowing private citizens to apply for warrants, simply a drain on our court system’s already strained resources?  Or does the practice of allowing private warrants recognize that the courts belong to the people, and would dispensing with the system wrongfully deprive the public of access to the courts?