Decades ago, the circuit court clerk’s office looked very different than it does today.
Current Adair County Circuit Clerk Dennis Loy states that in the mid-twentieth century, he knows of a circuit clerk and his wife who ran the office by themselves and who sold insurance on top of that to make a living.
In 2020, Loy has seven deputies working under him to efficiently handle the courts of Adair County.
The circuit clerk’s office is the bridge between the public and the circuit and district courts.
A major role of this office is record keeping, as the clerk and deputies create and update all circuit and district court records.
Some of these records are accessible by the public.
“We have a public kiosk that anyone from the public can come to and review records,” said Loy. “If they want something out of a particular case, all they have to do is come to the counter and ask us for what they want and we get it for them.”
Copies can be made of these records, but only the court or an attorney can take a record file with them when they leave.
Circuit clerk’s offices are responsible for preparation for the courts by preparing dockets and assigning the public to jury duty, a civic duty that is taken very seriously.
There are a few reasons that a person may be excused, but to do so, the summoned individual must request their excusal by returning the summoning form to the circuit court clerk with their reason for needing an excuse. The clerk will then present it to the judge and get it either approved or disapproved.
This step is extremely important because if a person misses jury duty without being approved for excusal or even if someone just ignores their summoning, consequences could come.
Circuit clerk’s offices are also the location for the public to pay fines or court fees, but they don’t have the ability to remove it from a record and only the courts can expunge something from a record, said Loy.
It’s balancing the law and the public that Loy says makes the job tough.
“The most challenging part is making sure that we do everything according to the law, but also do everything we can to help the general public,” said Loy. “Helping the public is what we’re supposed to do and what I was elected to do, but sometimes it’s hard for us to help individuals because of the mandate of the law.”
Issuing driver’s licenses and identification cards is unrelated to the courts, but it is something that also keeps the circuit clerk’s office very busy.
With this, they serve both drivers and non-drivers; therefore most people will need to come to the circuit clerk’s office at some point.
Circuit Clerk’s offices in Kentucky play a major role in the organ donation registry, as clerks or deputies are required to ask every person who is issued a license or ID if they want to be an organ donor, to which a person may accept or decline.
Although they issue these forms of identification, the circuit clerk’s office doesn’t issue passports, and Adair County residents who wish to purchase one would go to the Adair County Post Office.
No matter what they’re doing for the public, Loy says he and his deputies are glad to be doing it.
Josh Withers is chief deputy. Holly Jessie, Susan Breeding, Sami Jo Jennings, Megan Coomer, Jane Breeding and Jenny Bennett are deputies.
“We all have the same philosophy of helping the people and doing everything we can do for them. I’m very fortunate that I have the staff that I do, because the people pay us and we’re here to serve the people.”
The Adair County Circuit Clerk’s office is located inside the Adair County Judicial Center at 201 Campbellsville St. and can be reached by phone at 270-384-2626.
The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
By Anna Buckman