The County Clerk is an elected official provided for in the Washington State Constitution Article IV, Sec 26. The County Clerk is the administrative and financial officer of Superior Court. The three branches of county government are Executive, Judicial and Legislative and the clerk position is an Executive branch position.
As an independent elected official, the Clerk reserves for the public unrestrained access to a fair, accurate, and independently established record of the opinions decision, and judgments of the court.
Specific functions of the County Clerk include:
Administrator of Court Records and Exhibits:
The Clerk receives, processes, and preserves forever all documents presented in a Superior Court cause of action.
Financial Officer for the Courts
As the court's agent, the Clerk collects statutory fees, fines, trust and support funds; maintains a trust account for monies received; disburses monies as ordered by the court and further provides an investment plan for monies held. Collection, accounting, and investment of court monies is done to ensure that the interests of the public and the county are secured.
The Clerk serves a quasi-judicial function. In this function, the Clerk must review court documents for possible errors, perform acts required by law, issue letters testamentary, warrants of arrest, orders of sale, writs of execution, garnishment, attachments, restitution and set up judgments.
Ex-Officio Clerk of the Court
Under the Constitution of the State of Washington the Clerk has the title of "ex officio clerk of the court." This requires the Clerk's presence at court sessions for the purpose of establishing an independent record of each hearing called "minutes" which are available to the public. The Clerk must also be present at every court hearing or trial to receive and keep a record of all exhibits (evidence) entered by the parties
Jury Management Officer
In Chelan County, the Clerk's Office is responsible for the management of the jury panel for both District and Superior Courts. This requires over 18,500 summons to be sent out per year, processed and maintained through a computer jury management system. Click here for jury information.
As the administrator of a county department, the Clerk has the responsibility to establish office policies and procedures, oversee the budget and maintain the established guidelines and policies of the Board of County Commissioners. Accuracy and efficiency are critical in the Clerk's office, as even the slightest error or omission in marking evidence, indexing, posting or filing the 109,855 legal documents yearly, or error in disbursing funds could affect the life or property of a private citizen.
Court Staff CAN Provide:
- The status of a specific case, unless the case is sealed (not available for public inspection because of state law or judge's decision).
- General information on court rules, procedures, and practices.
- Court-approved forms, (there are not forms available for all legal proceedings) court schedules, and information on how to get matters scheduled.
Court Staff CANNOT Provide:
- Court staff cannot provide legal advice. They are there to provide information. If you are asking, "how?," you are probably asking for legal advice. Don't be upset if the clerk tells you that because they are not lawyers, the law prohibits them from advising you.
- Give advice about whether a case should be filed or what action should be taken.
- Advise what to say in court.
- Fill out people's forms or tell what words to put on a form.
- Speculate what decision the judge might make.