Mark Von Nida
Madison County Circuit Clerk
The overall mission of the Circuit Clerk's office is to file and process state and local court cases, collect fines and fees, maintain and certify court records, store court exhibits, clerk trials, and process all paper records on behalf of the courts. Passport applications are also accepted at the Circuit Clerk’s office. In Madison County, the Circuit Clerk's office is divided into four main law sections: Civil, Family, Felony and Traffic. A separate section, Document Imaging & Archives, is responsible for imaging, preserving and storing court records. All sections are staffed by deputized clerks, who assign numbers to cases, maintain and update case files, clerk trials, set dockets for various courts, and ultimately oversee the preservation of case records. In 2009 alone, 98,291 cases were filed with the Madison County Circuit Clerk's office.
Case records are automated in the Madison County Circuit Clerk's office. All case pleadings are also electronically imaged. Case information is accessible to the public at computer terminals located at the service counters in the various sections and in the lobby of the courthouse, as well as satellite offices in Alton, Collinsville and Granite City. Through the Clerk’s software provider, subscribers may also access electronic case dockets over the internet. Court dockets are also available online to the public at the Circuit Clerk’s web page.
Civil section deals with a variety of cases: product liability, personal injury, breach of contract, class actions, eminent domain, railroad cases, probate (wills), small claims, evictions, and defamation of character - to name a few. Once civil matters are filed with the Clerk's office, Civil clerks determine the categories into which cases are recorded and often issue summonses that enable the judicial process to begin.
Family/Domestic Relations processes and maintains records for divorces, civil no-contact orders, orders of protection for victims of domestic violence, child adoptions, juvenile cases, and paternity suits. Child-support payment records for Madison County children of divorce are maintained by the Clerk's Family section, enabling the Courts and State’s Attorney to ensure that financial support reaches some 12,000 children of divorced parents.
Felony, often referred to as the "Criminal section," is where criminal cases are filed and processed. Charges filed here are initiated by either the State's Attorney, Attorney General, or the grand jury on behalf of law enforcement agencies. Cases range from homicide, armed robbery, home invasion, eavesdrops, sexually violent persons, fugitive from justice, and felony drug charges to repeat DUI offenders. Felony clerks initiate and manage case files, set dockets for trial and preliminary hearings, and process the paperwork for incarceration and placing defendants on probation. The Felony section is located in the Criminal Justice Center in Edwardsville.
Traffic & Misdemeanor section handles the highest volume of cases – some 70,000 each year. Traffic violations, DUIs, misdemeanors, municipal ordinance violations, and conservation make up two-thirds of all cases in Madison County.
All traffic tickets, warrants and citations issued in Madison County by state, municipal and county police agencies are deposited with the Circuit Clerk’s office for hearing. Traffic clerks set court dockets, clerk court hearings and collect fines and fees. The monies collected in this section – over $9 million annually – are distributed to various agencies, including villages and municipalities, state police, secretary of state, state treasurer, victims’ funds, traffic safety programs and safety services.
Defendants in most traffic cases who wish to avoid a court appearance may pay traffic fines online, by telephone, or by mail.
Imaging & Archives stores and preserves hundreds of thousands of case records as well as evidence and exhibits from trials. Since 2006, pleadings for all cases have been electronically imaged making information more readily accessible to judges, clerks and the public. Madison County Circuit Clerk was the first circuit clerk’s office in Illinois to scan all of its case filings to electronic image.