With our world ever changing, especially when it comes to technology and the method of communication, Washburn County Clerk of Courts is joining the force by offering text and email reminders.
For the past couple months, we have offered text and email reminders to Washburn County Jurors. The reminders are to advise the jurors approximately 24 hours prior to the jury trial they have been summoned for is set to proceed as scheduled and their appearance is required. We also utilize these communications by letting them know when a case has been settled or canceled and they no longer need to appear for jury duty that day. Jurors have been appreciative of this easy communication. By offering this service, the clerks’ office spends less time following up with jurors who fail to appear and jurors can receive instant notification.
We have also been offering litigants who agree to receive text messages reminders of their upcoming court hearings, these reminders are sent out automatically two days prior to their scheduled time. Again, plaintiffs and defendants have responded that they have appreciated this service.
By offering defendants the option to receive a text reminder of their court date, we feel less warrants will be issued, thus saving time for staff in the clerks’ office, sheriffs department and district attorneys office. When a defendant fails to show for a court date, the Clerk of Courts Office has to prepare a warrant for failure to appear, forward the warrant to the Judge's Office for signature, and return it to the District Attorney's Office for service. Once the Sheriff's Department arrests the defendant, he/she is brought to the county jail for booking and they have to appear before the Judge with the District Attorney's Office and along with their defense attorney. Clerks as well as a court reporter also have to be present to record proceedings for all hearings. A warrant involves staff time from all departments within the court system, but this also negatively impacts the defendant's employer and family.
We feel by offering the text and email reminders that this convenient effective method of communication will benefit many.
Since April 3, Washburn County Clerk of Courts has been mandatory e-filing for case filings for family, civil, small claims, paternity and criminal files for all litigants with attorneys. If a plaintiff or defendant does not have an attorney, they may file paperwork as usual at the Clerk of Courts Office or may sign up for e-filing but it is not mandatory for them. Probate files are currently e-filed on a voluntary basis and it is expected to go mandatory by the end of 2019 along with guardianships and juvenile files.
As we transition to a paperless office, it will allow not only litigants in a case, but public may view non-confidential documents filed electronically by visiting the public access calendar at the Clerk of Courts Office. Paper copies are available for purchase as well from our office.
If you have any questions, please feel free so contact Shannon Anderson at the Washburn County Clerk of Courts Office at 715.468.4677 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shannon Anderson, Clerk of Circuit Court for Washburn County