Office of Circuit Clerk Duties and Responsibilities
The office of the clerk of the circuit court is established by Article 8, Section 9 of the West Virginia Constitution. Circuit Clerks are elected for a period of six years and their duties, responsibilities and compensation are set by statute.
The circuit clerk is an officer within the judicial system and plays a pivotal role in that system. The clerk is an independently elected official with autonomy to establish procedures and policies necessary to carry out statutory responsibilities. The circuit clerk works under the supervision of the chief circuit judge and with all the entities and agencies that comprise the justice system.
The circuit clerk is the official record keeper and fee officer for circuit court, family court and the mental hygiene office. The clerk’s duties are ministerial; that is, the duties are prescribed by statute, order, rule or other directive.
As the official record keeper, the circuit clerk is responsible for recording and maintaining all records filed in the office including but not limited to, civil, criminal, divorce, child custody and support cases, mental hygiene, guardianship, domestic violence, juvenile delinquency, juvenile neglect and adult and appeals from magistrate court. The circuit clerk also prepares cases appealed to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals from the Circuit Court. The clerk is custodian of all computer records, pertaining to cases filed in the circuit and family courts and manages the court’s computerized case docketing system.
In addition to the role as official record keeper of the court, the circuit clerk is also the fee officer. The circuit clerk is authorized by statute to collect various fees, fines, and costs associated with cases, and hold and disburse other types of payments and deposits, such as bonds, restitution and witness fees. With the exception of the portion of fees and costs that are sent directly to the State under various statutory provisions, all such monies are either deposited into the county treasury for subsequent disbursement to the appropriate agency or, as in the case of bonds or restitution, disbursed directly to the appropriate individual.
The circuit clerk also serves as the jury administrator for the court and is responsible for the management of the petit and grand jury systems in the county. Under the direction of the court, the clerk creates the master list of prospective jurors, randomly selects panels for attendance, qualifies and summons the jurors, participates in jury orientation, and monitors attendance and mileage for reimbursement purposes. The circuit clerk is required to provide jury panels for both the magistrate and municipal courts. Additionally, the circuit clerk provides information to the public, media and bar on behalf of the court system.
The circuit clerk’s office provides procedural assistance and information to pro se litigants. The circuit clerk serves as the court’s statistician preparing monthly statistical reports which are submitted to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals and other state agencies.