Functions of the County Clerk
The Clerk is the administrative and financial officer of the Superior Court of the county. It is a highly technical office, which deals mainly with attorneys and judges.
All court records for Superior Court must be kept by the county clerk, recording all appearances, the time of filing of pleadings, a calendar for all scheduled proceedings, and a daily record of those proceedings. The cases must be indexed, filed properly and kept forever on microfilm. Accuracy and efficiency are synonymous with the county clerk as even the slightest error or omission in indexing, posting, filing or in preparation and issuance of writs or warrants of arrest can make the clerk liable for untold amounts of damage.
The cases filed in the clerk’s office include felony criminal, civil law suits, domestic violence, dissolution (divorce), child custody, paternity, probate, juvenile offender and dependency, truancy and judgments in all these cases. Each is a special field in its own, and separate dockets, indexes, journals and recording and filing systems must be maintained. The clerk is required to record every paper filed in an action.. Mental Illness cases are filed & handled in Thurston County.
In addition, the clerks are also required to keep judgment (execution) dockets and indexes, and can be held personally liable for any court judgment, which fails to appear properly on the judgment docket or indexes. Every document filed with the clerk’s office must be placed in its proper file after various docket entries have been made. In addition to keeping all of the original papers, the clerk is required to microfilm/journalize all orders, decrees, and judgments for security purpose.
State statutes require a clerk to be present in all court proceedings involving any of the seven categories mentioned thus far. Accurate and complete minutes must be written, bound and preserved; and all exhibits marked, filed, and kept in security.
The clerk collects statutory fees for litigation and fines, holding the moneys directed by order of the court in trust. These funds may be invested for the benefit of the county and/or litigants. The clerk also receives and disburses money on judgments, child support payments, and restitution in criminal and juvenile matters, and must maintain an efficient and modern accounting system.
A clerk must be present at all court proceedings, with accurate and complete written minutes taken. The clerk collects statutory filing fees for litigation, moneys for processing passports, and for court costs, fines and restitution.
The staff provides the most efficient service for the public without giving legal advice.
The County Clerk handles jury management. The jurors are randomly selected from a pool of the voter registration list and the Department of Licensing list for Mason County residents.
County clerks may serve as agents for the Federal government, assisting in application for passports and/or applications for naturalization. This is performed as a courtesy to the Federal government and a service to the public in non-court activities.