Everyone knows how important a circuit clerk is to the court system. However, few people know the amount of financial responsibility required or the number of citizens she assists every year.
The Newton County Circuit Clerk’s Office is a very busy place. In 2014, more than 8,791 people asked the Court to intervene in a dispute, provide justice to a victim, or settle a family matter. With a population of 58,845 people in 2013, that means that almost 7 percent of the people in the County accessed the Court in 2014.
· Circuit Clerk, Patty Krueger, is responsible for the overall management of the Newton County Courts and the services and support it provides.
· The State of Missouri employs 18 Deputy Clerks in Newton County, plus the Circuit Clerk. The County funds one clerk who works on a temporary part-time basis.
· Within the circuit court, there are various divisions, such as civil, domestic, small claims, family, criminal, probate, and juvenile. The Clerk’s Office is divided into three different departments:
o Civil Department- (staff of 8) - processes case types that are civil and/or domestic in nature, such as Small Claims, Landlord/Tenant actions, Breach of Contract suits, Malpractice, Wrongful Death, Dissolution and Paternity, Protection Orders.
o Criminal Department- (staff of 8) -processes all traffic tickers written by Deputies and Highway Patrol in Newton County, Misdemeanors and Felonies.
o Juvenile/Probate Division- (staff of 3) – processes Juvenile Abuse-Neglect and Delinquency cases, all Probate matters such as Wills, Estates, Guardianships and Mental Health cases
· In March of this year, the Newton County Courts implemented the Missouri Electronic Filing (eFiling) System to enhance access and efficiency. The eFiling System allows the courts to receive process and manage cases electronically. In making this change, attorneys are offered extended hours of access to cases, providing them with greater flexibility; reduce County budget costs for printing, copying, and mailing; and better serve the bar, their clients and the public. Attorneys can check the status of cases online or submit filings without making trips to the courthouse, calling during business hours or waiting for available staff support to conduct a search.
· Public case docket information is available through Case.net and is accessed easily through the Missouri Courts website at www.courts.mo.gov. From here the public is able to inquire about case records including docket entries, parties, judgments and charges in public court.
· Since August 2014, there have been 8,182 cases filed in Newton County Courts. During this same period 11,262 cases were closed or disposed. There are currently 4,582 court cases pending in Newton County.
· Each month, the Courts will receive and disburse funds in excess of 1 million dollars. These funds are derived of fines, court costs, bonds, garnishments, and filing fees mostly.
· Jurors are summoned by the Circuit Clerk’s Office. Jury service is one of the most important civic duties a citizen can perform. The protection of rights and liberties in circuit courts largely is achieved through the teamwork of judge and jury. A person does not need any knowledge of the legal system to be a juror.
· Other services provided by this office to Newton County residents include passport application acceptance, criminal history records checks, judgment index inquiries and assistance with genealogy and old records.
Our sincere thanks to Patty and staff for the terrific job they do. They certainly help keep things running smooth in Newton County.