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Courts and Public Well-Served by Wilco District Clerk

Oped by Commissioner Cook

  • 16 January 2020
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 2870

David provides a clerk for each judge in the district and county courts to assist with daily court proceedings. As a fee officer, she collects court costs and fines deposited within the county and state.

To achieve the smooth operation of these courts, her office is divided into criminal, civil, family and tax. Other sections include juvenile, financial, records management/archiving and appeals. Clerks are assigned to each division.

In 1981, Wilco had one county court, one district court and four employees. It now has four county courts and five district courts. David supervises one part-time and 33 full-time employees.

If this sounds like a lot of staff, think again. In 1981, there were fewer than 500 criminal filings, and in 2018, there were over 3,000.

In 1990, district clerks became responsible for juvenile filings.

Wilco’s population was slightly over 76,000 in 1981. With our population for 2020 estimated to be over 600,000 and by 2040, over 1.4 million, our courts and David’s office will face greater demands.

Digitizing is helping streamline the workload. In December 2012, the Texas Supreme Court mandated electronic filing of all civil and criminal court cases.

The Supreme Court set standards attorneys e-filing must meet, and for district and county clerks to accept the filings.

The Wilco district clerk’s office, which had no computer system until 1989, currently stores over 2,000 boxes of family, civil and criminal paper records. Despite the daunting task, David continues her effort to digitize every paper file.  

David concedes that her biggest challenge is getting the courts and attorneys to fully utilize the electronic filing system.

Her “path of the paperless system” will free space for her office and other county departments as they grow.

The district clerk’s records date to 1848, when Williamson County was first created. Texas law prohibits destruction of historical records, so David ensures that historical records continue to be bound by commercial experts and placed in cases that are water and fire proof.

While David doesn't allow the documents of a case to be posted online for security reasons, she does make the actions that have occurred in a case available for online viewing. 

A portal she recently implemented for court appointed attorneys to retrieve documents online decreases the hours and number of visits to the courthouse attorneys charge, resulting in lower costs for the county.

She also stresses customer service to her staff. “I am elected every four years. I want to ensure that the public knows they can count on me any time they are in my office.”

David was honored as Clerk of the Year 2017-18 by her counterparts statewide. She credits her “experiences” as the reason for this honor from clerks who always know they can call her for assistance.

When you call our district clerk’s office, you get a live person and one willing to help!

Providing the best tools and education to her staff so they carry out their duties on behalf of the citizens of Williamson County remains David’s top goal, which I feel she has duly fulfilled and surpassed.

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