FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 27, 2004
MACOMB COUNTY CLERK FIRST TO ALLOW CIRCUIT COURT DOCUMENT REQUESTS ONLINE
MOUNT CLEMENS, MI – the Macomb County Clerk/Register of Deeds today announced a new service that let’s you request public court documents via the Internet.
“It should be easy to get public court documents and this new service is one way we’re trying to make it easier,” said the Macomb County Clerk. “Public court documents may still be requested in person, by fax or by mail. We’re just giving the public one more convenient option.”
“Protecting the security of the documents is important to me and I am pleased that the Macomb County Clerk is using the same secure system that helps process birth certificate requests to process court document requests,” said Peter J. Maceroni, Macomb County Circuit Court Chief Judge. “This service fits nicely with our searchable online circuit court case index.”
Divorce Judgments, criminal sentences, civil judgments, docket entries, name searches and other public court documents may be requested online. No court documents are actually stored on the Internet. The online requests are processed by the county clerk and documents are mail or faxed by county clerk staff. If you don’t know the case number, it’s no problem – the clerk’s office also has a searchable case index online. The online index gives the public 24-hour Internet access to look up whether or not a case exists involving a particular person or business, the case number, case type, the year it was filed and the judge assigned to it.
To request a court document, visit the county clerk’s web site at http://www.macombcountymi.gov/clerksoffice, click the Circuit Court tab and then click on the “Court Documents” link. From there you can select the type of document you want. Sabaugh’s office will then forward the requested information to you. Need documents in a hurry? For your convenience, Sabaugh’s office will even send them via overnight express mail or via fax. Have questions about the service? Simply click the telephone icon on the web site. Your telephone will ring and a member of the county clerk’s staff will be on the phone to assist you.
The new service is paid for entirely with user fees and not tax dollars. In addition to the usual per page and certification fee, a $6.00 service charge is added that covers the cost of providing the service. Only one service charge is applied even if several different documents from several different cases are requested in one order. Fees are paid via credit card, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. Requesting documents via the Internet is voluntary. Documents are still available with no service charge if documents are requested in person at the clerk's office or via U.S. Mail or fax; however, the same copy charges still apply.
The county clerk’s office partnered with Vitalchek Network, Inc. to handle the processing of the credit card payments. Vitalchek has provided and maintains all software programming and server hardware. The Macomb County Clerk’s office has worked with Vitalchek since 2001 when she became the first county clerk in Michigan to offer birth certificates, death certificates and marriage records via the Internet.
Law firms and investigators are finding that being able to request court documents via the Internet will save money and time and reduce trips to the courthouse.
“The Macomb County Clerk’s new service will benefit my clients because they don’t have the resources or time to gather this valuable information,” said Robert D. Crosby, attorney with Vitale, Flemming & Crosby, P.C. “Combining online document requests with the searchable online case index was a good idea.”
“This new system would speed up court record research, making many trips to the court unnecessary,” said St. Clair Shores resident Megan Kerr. “The Macomb County Clerk is providing good service to Macomb County.”
“No one should have to visit the county clerk’s office to get a copy of their own court record,” said the Macomb County Clerk. “Many people are surprised to learn we will send documents via overnight mail to anyone needing that extra level of service.”
The service is scheduled to start on Monday, June 7, 2004. At the Macomb County Clerk’s request, Chief Judge Maceroni signed an administrative order authorizing the service. Assuming no objection is raised by the State Court Administrate Office, a rare event, the service will start as scheduled.
This use of technology is the latest improvement in a long line of successes by the Macomb County Clerk. As the Macomb County Clerk – the Register of Deeds also:
- Started a “Mobile Branch Office” to bring clerk’s office services to people who are unable to drive to Mount Clemens during working hours.
- Was the first county clerk in Michigan to offer jurors summoned for jury duty free bus rides to and from the courthouse.
- Was the first county clerk in Michigan to offer evening hours, making it easier for working people to get their vital records and get personal service.
- Speeds the process of recording real estate records by accepting electronic filing of deeds, mortgages and other real estate records.
- Put Macomb County Circuit Court case names, numbers and judges on the Internet to make it easier to look up whether or not cases were filed involving a particular person.
- Was the first county clerk in Michigan to use computerized scanning and indexing for the register of deeds.
- Was the first county clerk in Michigan to accept credit cards.
- Was the first county clerk in Michigan to launch a toll-free 24-hour fax-on-demand system to provide forms and information.
- Was the first county clerk in Michigan to provide overnight delivery service for birth certificate requests and other vital records.
- Was the first county clerk in Michigan to put business registrations and death records on the Internet.
- Started a Personal Protection Order Assistance Center to help victims of abuse.