Jamie Scarbrough announces candidacy for circuit clerkPublished 11:00pm Tuesday, October 16, 2012
At the age of 19, I was clueless as to the function or purpose of the Circuit Clerk’s Office. I interviewed for my first job with the woman who would be my first boss, the Honorable Brenda Meadows Peacock, in July 1995.
I soon learned that the ladies that worked alongside of me were very well versed and extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of the various divisions of court, with many years of experience. These women became my teachers—and I consider myself having learned from some of the best in the state of Alabama.
I started out on the bottom and worked my way through the ranks over a period of 15 years, learning all that I could about the judicial system. For the past 2 years, I have proudly served as the Circuit Clerk of Pike County. As any business owner or manager would agree, customer service is always of the highest importance. When a person walks through the doors of our office, they are experiencing some type of dilemma and deserve customer service that they can trust. Each day, I measure the success of our office by two questions: “Did we help someone today?” and “Did we make a difference in someone’s life?”
Since October 2010, I have diligently worked on several projects within the Circuit Clerk’s Office. I am very fortunate to work within the State of Alabama Unified Judicial System, because not only do I work with judges that have some of the top time-standards in the state, Alabama is leading the nation in electronic filing and technological advancements within our judicial system. As we all know, nothing is perfect, but I certainly take pride in the quality and quantity of work that is produced in the Pike County Circuit Clerk’s Office. We may not have the most up-to-date equipment, but we make great use of the equipment that we have been provided.
Each year, about $5 million passes through the Circuit Clerk’s office, between 10,000 and 15,000 cases are processed and 800 – 1,000 warrants are issued. It takes patience, understanding and hard work to keep up with a very uniform and rigorous court calendar. I honestly feel our Court Specialists are among the hardest working in the state. Since Brenda Peacock instituted, we have continued cross training each specialist so that each division of the office can continue to meet the expectations of our citizens.
The divisions of this office include: Traffic, Small Claims, District Civil, Child Support, Juvenile, District Criminal Misdemeanors/Felonies, Grand Jury, Circuit Civil, Domestic Relations, Circuit Criminal, Court of Criminal Appeals, Court of Civil Appeals, Supreme Court, Absentee Elections (when the Clerk is not on the ballot), and Bookkeeping. There is no manual to learn the job, nor is there a school that you can attend to learn the procedures in each division. I applaud my specialists at their willingness to learn all of them.
A few months ago, I approached our Presiding Circuit Judge and the District Attorney with a request for assistance in collecting old restitution amounts. I have designated this, the “Aggressive Restitution Recovery Program”. In an effort to collect restitution in several old cases that are 10-plus years in age, our presiding Circuit Judge has agreed to remit the court costs in aged-out cases, for the payment in full of the restitution amount. This is in an effort to collect money for small businesses and victims of crime, which may feel as if they would never be recouped for various crimes. In a few short months, we have collected more than $15,000 in restitution payments, either through lump sum payment or Income Withholding Orders.
Each month, jurors are summoned to the courthouse to fulfill one of the most important civic duties one can have. While the process is time consuming, we try to make the experience of jury service one that each juror finds informational and educating. In an effort to save a tremendous amount of time, I approached the judges within our circuit to propose that I collect the preliminary information prior to the appearance day for the jurors. When the jurors arrive, I have already logged all of the information into our system, so all that I have to do is take role and print out the jury venire list for the judges and attorneys. This saves anywhere from 1-1.5 hours on the morning of jury duty. Now, when the judge and attorneys arrive at 9 a.m., they are ready to begin generally qualifying the jurors. I have had a great response from prospective and selected jurors.
Something else that I am very proud of is the networking of the office website. We do not use the website for official court business, but it has been very helpful to the public. The website makes information more easily accessible through the use of a “Quick Links” section which makes it easy to explore the most commonly used sections of the website. Each division of the court had to be broken down and patterned to Pike County procedures. Once the paperwork was submitted to the Administrative Office of Courts, they had to pass the information through their legal department, and then build the website. The function of the office website is to provide the public with filing fees, basic procedure, informational links, and state forms. We are not permitted by law to provide legal advice, so the website is very basic.
I would have to say that one of the most important duties of the Circuit Clerk would be the process of issuing warrants and determining probable cause. When it comes to criminal cases, the paperwork which is signed at the time of the issuance of the warrant by the Circuit Clerk is very important to each individual case. If you are the victim of a crime, the last thing you should be worried about is the legitimacy of the warrant on which you have placed your signature. I am very proud that I have a great working relationship with the investigators and officers in our law enforcement agencies, and remain on call 24/7 as they need my services.
My name is Jamie Scarbrough and I am proud to serve as your Circuit Clerk. I have worked from the bottom level of this office and have always made service to the public my top priority. I am married to Paul Scarbrough, who is the General Foreman at Sanders Lead Company in the Furnace Department. I have three children: Brittney, a freshman at Troy University; Blake, a junior at CHHS; and Allie, a third-grader at Troy Elementary. I am a 1994 graduate of Pike County High School. I have served as the Captain of the Courthouse Relay for Life Team for seven years, and am a member of the Pike County Republican Women since its’ inception, Troy Rotary Club, Pike County Chamber of Commerce, CHHS Sports Boosters, CHHS Champions Club, and Charles Henderson Athletic Foundation Board Member.
I am asking for your vote on Nov. 6 and ask that you remember “Let’s Keep Experience”! Don’t let it be your first emergency situation when you realize the importance of a Circuit Clerk with experience in the office. I thank each of you that have given me words of encouragement, support in my campaign, and most importantly your prayers.
This article was submitted by candidate Jamie Scarbrough.