The Oklahoma County Court Clerk presides over the largest and busiest Court Clerk’soffice in the state. Approximately 120,000 new court cases were filed in Oklahoma County last year, more than any other state, local or federal court in Oklahoma. The number of new case filings increases about 5% every year.
The Court Clerk’s primary duty is to record and maintain court records filed in Oklahoma County. From the inception of the office until 2002, records were maintained almost entirely in paper form. That year, the first ever document imaging project was commenced with approximately one-third of the county’s case files being electronically recorded. In March, 2004, Court Clerk Presley published the first ever court document images accessible via internet. The majority of records kept by the Court Clerk are open for public inspection.
Another important duty of the Court Clerk is to collect and account for all funds deposited in connection with court proceedings. The Oklahoma County Court Clerk’s office annually receives more than $20 million in criminal fines, court costs, bond forfeitures, child support and other such payments. Fiscal oversight of Court Clerk funds is provided by the Supreme Court, the State Treasurer, State Auditor, County Treasurer and by internal audit staff.
Court Clerks are the courts’ criminal fine collectors, charged by law to enforce financial sanctions ordered by the courts. In 1997, Court Clerk Presley began the first formal Cost Administration department, dedicated solely for this purpose. Since then, millions more than ever before have been collected in criminal cases in Oklahoma County.
The first computerized jury processing system in Oklahoma’s state courts was initiated recently, thanks to current Court Clerk Patricia Presley. Before automation, jurors arrived on Monday mornings, but trials often did not begin until Tuesdays because pencil and paper processing took so long. Now, trials are timelier; the average juror’s service is shorter; and the entire process is less expensive.
Records maintenance and financial accounting may be the primary legal duties of the Court Clerk’s office, but customer service is the Court Clerk’s primary product. The office continues to receive comments about its friendly, customer-oriented atmosphere.
Other services provided by the Oklahoma County Court Clerk’s office include passport processing; marriage licenses; and licensing of private process servers and low point beer providers.