By RICK HAYES email@example.com
---- — MT. VERNON — A permanent records system for Jefferson County court cases will soon be available.
Circuit Clerk John Scott has taken on the daunting task, through a contract agreement with HOV Services to scan the mountains of files now sitting in the courthouse basement onto CD’s and microfilm.
““We’re overrun with old files, numbering in the thousands,” Scott said. “Obviously, before this technique was developed, clerks had to keep storage areas and keep records. This has been a project that I looked at and anticipated since I took office in 2006.”
The project is being paid out of the Circuit Clerk’s document storage fund, which the county collects through fines and fees at no cost to taxpayers. The documentation storage fund has grown from $25,424 in 2006 to $254,974. Scott is also able to pay one of his clerks through that fund and the court automation fund, as well as file folders, paper, and anything related to document storage.
“Through the hard work of my staff and due diligence in watch that fund, we can now work on this project,” Scott said.
Jimmy Bradford, who Scott described as a “numbers man,” has been hired for part time duty four days per week to place the files in proper numerical order and in boxes for the various court offenses. Bradford is the brother of former Jefferson County Sheriff Roy Dean Bradford, and has 56 years of experience in various parts departments for Ford Motor Co.
“Once these files are scanned they are put on a CD and brought back to the circuit clerk’s office. They are also put on microfilm — one to the state archives and one comes back to the office for storage,” Scott said. “This office will use the CD’s to look up old cases.”
Scott said the project will free up room in the courthouse, in the Circuit Clerk’s office, and to further automate the office and the court system.
Since November, Bradford has been placing DUI and misdemeanor files from 1996 through 2008 into boxes to be sent off to HOV Services, based in Rantoul.
“They have to be closed files and the defendants can not be on supervision or probation,” Scott explained. “We have a tentative date of March 1 for HOV to come down here with a semi to pick up what we have ready to go.”
Scott estimated 100 boxes of files will cost approximately $20,000 to process and scan.
The nine employees of the Circuit Clerk’s office all have their own printers, and Scott said eventually he would like for all the employees to have their own scanners to update current cases.