Ex-Officio Clerk of Superior Court
The County Clerk is one of several independent, elected officials provided by the Washington State Constitution, with specific and special duties assigned by statute, local and state court rules. The position of County Clerk is best characterized as the administrative and financial officer of the Superior Court. The purpose of this office is to ensure the separation of powers among the three branches of government by preserving the integrity of the judiciary. Those three branches are Executive, Judicial and Legislative.
This purpose is accomplished in three ways:
- By being independent of the judicial branch, the Clerk protects the judiciary from the appearance of impropriety or unfairness in the setting of cases, implementation of orders, or investment of funds.
- The Clerk is located in the Executive Branch of government and provides the avenue for external oversight of the judiciary without legislative or executive branch interference with its actions, integrity or independence.
- As an independent elected official the Clerk preserves for the public unfettered access to a fair, accurate, and independently established record of the opinions, decisions and judgments of the court.
Specific functions of the County Clerk include the following.
Administrator of Court Records & Exhibits
All documents presented in superior court cases must be received and processed by the Clerk. The processing involves filing of documents, classification, assignment of cause numbers, computerized docketing and calendaring of all scheduled court proceedings. Judgments are entered and indexed in all case types as appropriate.
Financial Officer for the Courts
As the court's agent, the Clerk collects statutory fees, fines, trust funds and support funds. These funds are invested, held in trust, and disbursed as ordered by the Court. The Clerk disburses all restitution paid by criminals. The Clerk maintains a computerized accounting system for all monies held and disbursed.
For the issuance of writs, subpoenas, and other court-related orders, the Clerk serves a quasi-judicial function. Those duties include reviewing court documents for possible errors, issuing warrants (both civil and criminal), issuing writs of execution, garnishment, attachments, restitution and orders of sale, issuing letters testamentary, and performing other acts as required by law.
Ex-Officio Clerk of the Court
Under the Constitution of the State of Washington, the Clerk has the title of Ex officio Clerk of the Court. This requires the Clerk's presence at all court sessions for the purpose of establishing a record of court proceedings, and receiving and recording court documents and exhibits.
The Klickitat County Clerk is also responsible for Jury management. The Clerk's Office sends jury summonses, maintains a pool of jurors and is responsible for the random selection of jurors.
The Klickitat County Clerk is also an authorized agent for accepting Passport Applications.