The Clerk of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City is the official record-keeper of the court. The Clerk is elected by the people of Baltimore City, and is responsible to the citizens for keeping accurate and accessible records.
The Clerk is a critical piece of Baltimore’s justice system. Baltimore’s courts are the busiest in the state, so a disorganized, inefficient Clerk’s Office creates problems for all of Baltimore’s citizens— victims of crimes, jurors, defendants, families who are adopting children, couples getting married, anyone buying or selling property… almost every City resident touches the Clerk’s Office.
The Clerk's Office provides services in four primary ways:
Court Services: The Clerk provides direct administrative support to the judges in court proceedings and prepares legal documents for the court such as criminal court orders, summonses, and legal service of process. The Clerk is responsible for maintaining all court files and ensuring proper recordkeeping of the legal documents in the court files
Land Records: The Clerk is responsible for collecting the taxes and fees associated with the legal recordation of deeds, retaining all deeds and land records recorded, and for ensuring adequate public access to these public records.
Custodian of Court Cases: The Clerk is the official record-keeper of all circuit court cases which include contract disputes, claims of negligence, criminal cases, divorce proceedings, land disputes, mortgage foreclosures, court judgments, and many other types of court cases.
Public Services: The Clerk is responsible for issuing marriage licenses, processing notary public commissions, and processing business licenses.
But despite the importance of the Clerk’s Office, two decades of neglect and fiscal mismanagement has left Baltimore City’s Clerk’s Office fundamentally broken. In the most recent state audit of the office, auditors pointed out how lax managerial supervision leaves opportunities for the embezzlement of tax-payer money. The audit also found that the office wasn’t collecting fees — $7.8 million in total — that were owed to the court. In these tough economic times, fiscal irresponsibility in one office can impact all of Baltimore City.
But, all of these problems can be solved. Together, we can turn the office around. We can restore integrity to the Clerk’s Office by electing a Clerk with integrity, who is committed to transparency. Strong leadership, grounded in accountability, will transform the Clerk’s Office into the court’s greatest asset, so that all City residents are served in honesty and fairness.