Circuit Court Clerk
20 N. Public Square
Murfreesboro, TN 37130
Juvenile Clerk's Office
P: (615) 898-7972
F: (615) 217-7120
P: (615) 217-0069
F: (615) 898-7801
P: (615) 898-7831
F: (615) 898-7835
Circuit Court Civil Division
P: (615) 898-7820
F: (615) 217-7118
Circuit Court Criminal Division
P: (615) 898-7812
F: (615) 217-7119
P: (615) 217-7146
F: (615) 217-7118
This office is unable by law to provide legal advice to individuals. As a result, if you believe you have a matter requiring legal assistance or advice, you should seek the assistance of a private attorney. Failure to commence legal action within certain time frames may bar you from obtaining legal relief. Therefore, you should act quickly to consult with an attorney to review your rights.
Understanding the Records and Archive Fee
We in the Clerks of Court offices recently enacted an additional Records and Archives Fee. While TCA 10-7-408 did not provide for this fee previous to 2009 (making it a pure expense proposition prior to amendment to the code), we still have a responsibility to the public trust and law to ensure these records are maintained in an appropriate, accessible format in perpetuity.
We’ve summarized the questions asked to ensure that you have any remaining information necessary for continued support of the resolution.
- Who will be paying the fee?
- • Fee is only for the first filing on any legal proceeding.
• First filings in civil cases are paid by the plaintiff to start the legal proceeding. Fees can be assessed to the defendant if judgment is made against them, but the fee is paid first by the plaintiff to initiate the action.
• First filings in criminal cases are initiated by the arresting or prosecuting agency. Fees are assessed to the defendant or dismissed at the close of the case. No additional actions in the process of a legal proceeding in either arena will generate the records/archive fee.
• We can only reasonably anticipate civil filings in revenue estimates.
• 2010 Civil filings between the General Sessions, Circuit and Juvenile courts totaled 13,992 initial filings. Had the fee been available during that calendar year, approximately $69,960 of revenue would have been generated.
• A five year average of Civil filings in the three divisions is 12,988 or approximately $64,940.
- How many books are we behind?
- We are approximately 350 minute books behind, but minute books constitute only one category of up to 41 categories of permanent records created by the Clerks of Court.
- How far back do the books go into history?
- We are working well with our County Records Commission and Mr. Lodl to store and maintain inactive files in appropriate storage facilities. However, we do on occasion need information from records archives and would benefit from continuing to properly scan and archive records before the 1990’s.
- How long will it take to generate the money to cover the costs?
- There is not an anticipated surplus due to the fact that we are currently behind in properly archiving and otherwise protecting the integrity of the documents.
- How long before a surplus?
- The fees will be used for both scanning and archiving documents in our current active files locations. Based on the filings projections above, we anticipate that an appropriate back-scanning and archiving program of just active permanent files could take as much as five years to become “current.”
- What format: scanned file, microfilm (for the State) or both?
- We cannot reasonably maintain permanent records indefinitely on any computer aided media, such as specific software or hardware types because we would then be required to maintain the ability to read the means of storage (think 5 ¼ and 3 ½ inch floppy drives and tape backup systems, or computer viruses or DNS attacks).
While all documents will be scanned to a currently available computer media format, they must also be transferred to computer optical microfilm (with approved film types specified by the Tennessee Department of State) for preservation as archival records. This is the only media, properly stored, that can reliably last 100 years or more.
Archival quality acid-free paper could also be used, but then proper maintenance of the paper requires clean rooms, free of dust, dirt, debris and the use of gloves when viewing the records. That is not a reasonable request for active permanent records in a Clerks of Court office.
- Can the State levy a fine if the books are lost and they are not scanned?
- “Even though county officials may change with every election, the offices themselves must maintain a level of continuity. To ensure this, the responsibility for keeping and turning over the records of county offices was specifically addressed in the statutes requiring county officials to be bonded. Part of what is insured by the bond of an official is the fulfillment of a duty to “...faithfully and safely keep all records required in such principal’s official capacity, and at the expiration of the term...turn over to the successor all records and property which have come into such principal’s hands...”. Failure to do so can result in recovery against the insurance company or sureties on the bond who may in turn proceed against the official in his or her individual capacity for subrogation of the claim. It is the solemn obligation of each county official to act as the legal custodian of the records of that office, to provide for their security and care, and to turn them over in good order to his or her successor.”
“Officials who let a record be inaccessible or become decayed through careless storage or risk its loss through electronic system deterioration or obsolescence violate law and public trust.”
Records Management for County Governments Manual
TN Archives Management Advisories (TAMAs)
- What would happen if we don’t scan these?
- Should a catastrophic event (like fire, water, or tornado) damage the records, we will be hard pressed to recreate the voice of the court on behalf of the State, County or individual citizens involved in the legal proceedings in Rutherford County.
Men charged with setting fire to Celina city hall
County wants to secure documents
Feel free to contact the Rutherford County Clerks of Court if you have any further questions.
If you have Probate concerns please contact the County Clerk's Office.
Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts
Justice for All
(A TN Supreme Court Initiative)
(Free legal advice
Tennessee Code Annotated
Chancery Court Clerk & Master
Rutherford County, Tennessee does not discriminate based on race, color or national origin in federal or state sponsored programs, pursuant to
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d). Sonya Stephenson, Title VI Director.