New Clerk Academy Tallahassee, Florida
Objectives • Learn the Role of the Clerk • Required Statutory Responsibilities • Not Required Responsibilities • Independent Function • Get to know the players • Private Sector • Public Sector • Custodian of the Record
Clerk as Custodian of the Record • 28.13 To keep papers.—The clerk of the circuit court shall keep all papers filed in the clerk’s office with the utmost care and security, arranged in appropriate files (endorsing upon each the time when the same was filed), and shall not permit any attorney or other person to take papers once filed out of the office of the clerk without leave of the court, except as is hereinafter provided by law.
Why Documents Are Recorded • To provide public notice and access • Act as independent 3rd party • No vested interest in transaction • Not a guarantee of accuracy or validity
Offical Records vs. Public Records • “Official records” means each instrument that the clerk of the circuit court is required or authorized to record in one general series called “Official Records” as provided for in s. 28.222. • “Public records” has the same meaning as in s. 119.011 and includes each official record. • Every Official Record is a Public Record but not all Public Records are Official Records
Clerk as Recorder 28.222 Clerk to be county recorder.— • (1) The clerk of the circuit court shall be the recorder of all instruments that he or she may be required or authorized by law to record in the county where he or she is clerk. • (2) The clerk of the circuit court shall record all instruments in one general series called “Official Records.” He or she shall keep a register in which he or she shall enter at the time of filing the filing number of each instrument filed for record, the date and hour of filing, the kind of instrument, and the names of the parties to the instrument. The clerk shall maintain a general alphabetical index, direct and inverse, of all instruments filed for record. The register of Official Records must be available at each office where official records may be filed.
Role of the Elected Clerk • One of your many jobs is Recorder • That means to record documents • Your name is on the documents (check to make sure) • To Maintail the record in accordance with statutory requirements • To ensure physical security • To provide appropriate access
Documents to be Recorded • Agreements • Assignments • Assignment of Judgment • Cancellations or Satisfactions of Mortgages and Liens • Certified Copies of Court Documents • Certificate of Discharge • Certificate of Separation of Service • Death Certificates • Declaration of Domicile • Deeds • Easements • Financing Statements • Judgments • Leases • Mortgages • Notice of action pending in a US Court having jurisdiction in this state • Notice of Claims of Lien • Notice of Commencements • Notices of Levy • Notices of Liens for taxes • Notice of Lis Pendens • Powers of Attorney relating to any of the instruments • Releases • Releases of Judgments • Satisfactions of Judgment • Tax executions and other instruments relating to the ownership, transfer, or encumbrance of or claims against real or personal property, or any interest therein • Tax Warrants • Any other instruments required or authorized by law
Official Record Funding • A funding source for your office • BUT it’s an unpredictable revenue stream • If we could accurately predict what will be coming in the door for recording… • Study indicators: news reports, mortgage activity, economic trends
Technology has Changed Process • Historically, documents were recorded and microfilmed and index was in OR Books • All Clerks now image documents upon receipt and maintain electronic index • State wide repository of Official Records • Electronic Filings of Court Records • Electronic Filings of non Court Records
Some Difficult Decisions • Your office returned a document that could/should have been recorded • The document you recorded should have been recorded in a different county • A claim of lien was not recorded timely • You only indexed 2 names and the submitter wants 4 names indexed • The document “set” has an affidavit with a contract for sale attached • There’s no notary on the deed
Issues to Consider • When do you refuse to record? Are you the recording police or just the Custodian? • Do you Notarize documents? • Money Issues • Conterfeit • Escrow Accounts • Working with Local Governments • Checks from out of Country • Bounced Checks
Organizational Structure • Integrated into other operations or stand alone function • Cross Training • Location to Maximize Customer Service • Recording from Court • Technology
Standardizing Indexing • FCCC list of 35 types (from 11/2000) for use when document images available • List created before laws changed in 2002 • How many is enough? Too many? • If/when you change a type, do you change the historical data base? Why or why not?
Digitizing Images • Law says from at least 1990 • How far back are you now? • Plans to go back further? • Convenience for customers • Staff availability • Timelines & costs for conversion of film to images • Accessibility of film issues • Equipment • Confidentiality
Redaction • (5)(a) No county recorder or clerk of the court may place an image or copy of a public record, including an official record, on a publicly available Internet website for general public display if that image or copy is of a military discharge; death certificate; or a court file, record, or paper relating to matters or cases governed by the Florida Rules of Family Law, the Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure, or the Florida Probate Rules. • (b) Any records specified in this subsection made available by the county recorder or clerk of the court on a publicly available Internet website for general public display prior to June 5, 2002, must be removed if the affected party identifies the record and requests that it be removed. Such request must be in writing and delivered by mail, facsimile, or electronic transmission, or in person to the county recorder or clerk of the court. The request must specify the identification page number of the document to be removed. No fee may be charged for the removal of a document pursuant to such request. • (c) …notice of the right of any affected party to request removal of records pursuant to this subsection shall be conspicuously and clearly displayed by the county recorder or clerk of the court on the publicly available Internet website on which images or copies of the county’s public records are placed and in the office of each county recorder or clerk of the court. ….the county recorder or the clerk of the court must have published, on two separate dates, a notice of such right in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the county recorder’s office is located as provided for in chapter 50. Such notice must contain appropriate instructions for making the removal request in person, by mail, by facsimile, or by electronic transmission. The notice shall state, in substantially similar form, that any person has a right to request that a county recorder or clerk of the court remove an image or copy of a public record, including an official record, from a publicly available Internet website if that image or copy is of a military discharge; death certificate; or a court file, record, or paper relating to matters or cases governed by the Florida Rules of Family Law, the Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure, or the Florida Probate Rules. Such request must be made in writing and delivered by mail, facsimile, or electronic transmission, or in person to the county recorder or clerk of the court. The request must identify the document identification page number of the document to be removed. No fee will be charged for the removal of a document pursuant to such request. • (d) Any affected person may petition the circuit court for an order directing compliance with this subsection. • (e) By January 1, 2006, each county recorder or clerk of the court shall provide for electronic retrieval, at a minimum, of images of documents referenced as the index required to be maintained on the county’s official records website by this section.
Get to Know your Partners • Partners and Players • Legislature: Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act (URPERA) • Department of State Records Retention Office • Property Records Industry Association (PRIA) • Title Companies, Banks, Surveyors, etc • Attorneys • Courts • Property Appraisers and Tax Collectors
Marriage • Roles of Clerk • Issue Marriage Licenses • Perform Ceremonies • 25% of all Marriages in Leon County are done in Courthouse • Accept executed Marriage License • Maintain License of Pre Marital License Providers • Collect and Distribute Fees in accordance with FS 741 • Record it in Offical Records • Transmit it to State Vital Records
Marriage License Requirements • Must Come in Person to Clerks Office • Provide Drivers License or other Government ID • Provide Social Security Number or Immigration number • Sign Affidavit that they have read the Family Law Handbook • Must be 18 years or older, can be waived by judge if they are expectant or have been previously married
Marriage Requirements (con’t) • 16 but less than 18 by either party it requires Parental consent. • If one Parent has sole custody than only one person needs to provide permission. • Under 16 only judge can authorize them being married. • Must be of opposite sex with ID identifying gender.
Process • Three day waiting period • Waiting period can be waived if both parties are from out of state • Waiting period can be waived if both parties have attended four hours of Marriage Counseling from registered provider
Process (con’t) • License is good for 60 days • Marriage License must be returned within 10 days of the ceremony. • Marriage license fee reduced by $32.50 for taking Pre marital Counseling.
Conducting Marriages • Can be on site or off site • Can be done by any Deputy Clerk either on Clerk time or after hours • $30.00 fee for conducting Ceremony • Some Clerks have created a chapel in Courthouse • The ceremony is not dictated by law.
Passports • Not a required Service. You decide whether you want to offer this service • Clerk can accept applications. Passports issued for Federal Government • Required for International Travel • Not required for travel to US territories including Puerto Rico, Guam, US Virgin Islands • Is required to travel to Canada
Requirements • A current valid driver's license, military identification, government identification, or previous U.S. Passport will serve as identification. Social Security cards are NOT acceptable for identification. • Certified copy of birth record. • The birth record must be certified by the state in which the birth took place. A raised or embossed seal must be affixed to the birth record. Children under age 14 require both parents' signatures. Click here to link to the U.S. Department of State's Explanation and Requirements. • Proof of citizenship • If you were born outside of the United States, a Naturalization Certificate or Certificate of Citizenship is required. • Social Security Number • A social security number is required for all passport applications regardless of the age of the applicant. • Two passport photos • Two recent identical passport photos, 2" x 2". are required. Photographs can be taken at the s Office. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. M-F. Cost of the 2 photographs required is $10.00. There are also private photographic studios in Tallahassee that can provide this service.
Requirements (con’t) • You must apply in person • You need to allow 60 days prior to your travel to get your passport • For additional Fee, Passports can be expedited
Why do I want to Issue Passports • Public Service • Good Public Relations • Can be integrated into your other non court functions. • Generates Reveues that you control.
Other Responsibilities • Clerks are an intregal part of County Government • Clerks and Judges were responsible for running Counties in the 1840’s • Over time, Clerks and the Board of County Commissioners have agreed to the Clerk accepting other responsibilities and compensating the Clerk for these responsibilities
What are some of these Responsibilities? • Some Clerk are the County Administrator • Some Clerk prepares the County Budget • Other Responsibilities • Print shop • Records manager for entire county government • Providing delivery services for all County offices
Key Points to Take Away • Know your Role and Responsibility • The role of the Clerk is in the Constitution and the Statutes • Each county is unique and has unique operations • Your function is more than just being Clerk to the Court and CFO of your county
References • THE FLORIDA ELECTRONIC RECORDING ADVISORY COMMITTEE REPORT Prepared Pursuant to 695.27, F.S., 2007 • Clerk of Court Statutes Chapter 28 • Number: AGO 92-77,Date: October 30, 1992, Subject: Recording facsimile documents in the official records (example) • Clerk WebEx Training on Records Retention • RECORDS BEST PRACTICES on FLCLERKS.COM • Tax Deed Best Practices revised (10/2011) • Records Management Webinar August 30, 2011 (PowerPoint) • Disaster Preparedness • Best Practices Disaster Preparedness • Disaster Preparedness • Records Management Disaster Plans • Bulk Media Sales Pricing Guidelines (Sept 2008) • Best Practice on Foreign Judgments (new 11/10/10) • Best Practices Redaction Requests Procedure (10/2011) • Best Practices Request for Redaction Form (10/2011) • Best Practices Exemptions from Public Records Chart (10/2011) • Final Report and Recommendations on Indexing Names and Parties to Documents Being Recorded in the Official Records of Florida (Feb 2010)