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2009 Annual Report Circuit Court Clerk’s Office

George E. Schaefer, III Clerk


Supervising Deputies

Clerk of Court George E. Schaefer

Criminal DaVida M. Davis

Chief Deputy Thomas A. Larson Executive Assistant Cheryl Dougherty Comptroller Nicholas D. Georges

Civil Anthony Fuller

OFFICE OF THE CLERK FOURTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT NORFOLK CIRCUIT COURT 100 Saint Paul’s Boulevard Norfolk, Virginia 23510 (757) 664-4580

Licenses, Permits and Finance Gerald L. Stokes Wills, Estates and Deeds Michele M. Evans

Victim-Witness Program (757) 664-4850

To: The Honorable City Council Members and City Manager From: George Schaefer, Clerk of Circuit Court CC:

Budget Director, Circuit Court Chief Judge

Subj: Annual State of the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office Report Date: March 30, 2010 Ladies and Gentlemen; It is with great pleasure that I present this report on the state of the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office to you. As I enter my 7th year as the Circuit Court Clerk, I can only express to you my sincere appreciation for the partnership that we have maintained and continue to develop with virtually every department within the city. The repeated downturn in the economy has been the driving force throughout 2009, showing a steady downward trend in the housing market. Revenue generated for the City of Norfolk and the Commonwealth of Virginia declined over the twelve month period. We experienced an upswing in the August/September/October timeframe giving hope that the economy in Norfolk was on a rebound. Revenue dipped again in November but increased in December, indicating what looks to be a slow and tedious economic rebound. Continuing to highlight my commitment to increased productivity, reduced costs and enhanced public access to the courts, my office has completed the digital effort stated in the 2008 report and expanded the Criminal Case Files to include most of 1995 and 1996. This means that we now have Criminal Case Files in digital format, readily accessible from 1995 to present as well as over 40 years of Land Records and Marriage Licenses. As we proceed into the fiscal year 2011 budget process, we are confident that sufficient funds can be

Fax: (757) 664-4372 Criminal Division Fax: (757) 441-5295

Wills, Deeds and Estates Division Fax: (757) 664-4112


allocated to complete the state mandated requirement on the Civil Case Files. This process will result in a savings of over $2,000,000.00 in construction costs for any new courthouse. Our partnership with the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia has seen an explosion across the Commonwealth as 39 courts began adopting the methods that my office has put in place. Some of these methods are outlined below: 1. E-filing of court documents – We are completing the final stages to begin e-filing civil cases in the 4th quarter of 2010. Development is almost complete and will be launched in the 4th Circuit for testing and evaluation. 2. Digital Document Control – This has been the single largest contributor of productivity savings to date. We continue to digitize our files and have reached the following milestones: a. Criminal files – 1995 through present day files digitized b. Civil files digitized back to January 1, 2006 c. Land Records – Digitized back to January 1968 d. Marriage Licenses – Digitized back to April 1968 e. Judgments – Digitized back to January 1990 f. Finance Statements, Miscellaneous and Wills – Digitized back to March 1993 g. General Miscellaneous files – Digitized back to March 1930 3. Case View – Case view has seen a dramatic increase in usage over the past year. This system has allowed members of the Virginia State Bar to gain remote access to our Criminal and Civil case files, easing the burden on our staff and resources. We are preparing a new release that will increase capacity, speed and usability. 4. We continue to be an integral part of the redesign of the Supreme Court Case and Financial Management Systems, Electronic Recording Workgroup as well as the electronic data exchange group established by the United States Office of Justice Programs (USOJP) through the National Center for State Courts (NCSC). Technology advances helped us continue to provide services at a level consistent to what the citizen’s expect. However, even technology has its limitations. Drastic cuts to the state budget this year forced me to reduce my workforce nearly 20% from 51 full-time to 41 fulltime plus 1 part-timer. Layoffs of such magnitude had consequences and like many Clerks Office around the Commonwealth, we struggled initially to handle the workload. A concerted effort by my management team to identify inefficient business practices, consolidate operations and revise procedures, enabled us to regain our footing and, I believe, will allow us to run this office effectively with less resources in the years ahead. 2009 was a relatively stable year as far as the number of Criminal Cases commenced and completed. We have seen a large increase in the number of Civil Cases filed in this court. Concealed Weapons Permits are still on the rise continuing the trend from last year. Will documents executed during the past year have decreased slightly from 2008. Deed recordings remain at the lowest levels that we have seen in years. Since the single largest revenue stream


comes from the recordation of land records, the decline in deeds has resulted in significantly lower revenue realized during 2009. As General Receiver my office has continued to provide the best value to the citizens for which we are holding funds. By lowering the costs associated with the management of those funds and negotiating a higher interest rate, we have been able to add roughly 6% to each of the 450 individual accounts that we manage. We continue receipting and disbursing restitution payments to victims. Since actively pursuing funds through the Tax Set-off program, we have been able to recoup more funds owed to victims. We also developed additional steps now being put in place by the Commonwealth’s Attorney to ensure collection capabilities for restitution. The Clerk’s Office has collected and disbursed over $418,000.00 to victims in the 4th Circuit.

Restitution to Victims Restitution to Victims 2004

Restitution to Victims 2005

Restitution to Victims 2006

$160,000.00 $140,000.00 $120,000.00 $100,000.00 $80,000.00 $60,000.00 $40,000.00 $20,000.00 $0.00

Secure Remote Access to Real Estate records continues to be popular with Title Examiners, Attorneys, Law Enforcement and the Federal and State Government. We remain in partnership with several City of Norfolk Departments: City Attorney, Real Estate, Planning and Codes Administration, HRUBS, and Health and Human Services; providing access as needed. We continue to maintain our presence as an integral part of the Electronic Recording Workgroup through the Virginia Information Technology Agency (VITA) as well as the electronic data exchange group established by the United States Office of Justice Programs (USOJP) through the National Center for State Courts (NCSC).


The importance of our participation in these groups is evidenced by the total number of cases, both criminal and civil filed this past year as well as the ever increasing numbers of marriage licenses, concealed weapons permits, judgments, restitution, time to pay plans, etc. that are processed by this office. Examples: Criminal Cases concluded in CY09: 9,513 (down 4%) Civil Cases opened in CY09: 6,238 (down 0.9%) Will documents processed in CY09: 8,789 (up 17.6%) Land Record documents processed in CY09: 36,452 (down 3%) Digital records produced: 1,638,761 From the numbers above, our overall case filings are stable. Home sales continue to lag both in new construction and previously occupied. Land record transactions decreased 3% from 2008 which does show a significant improvement over the 21.7% decrease over 2007. We are slightly lower than the national average. Working closely with Sheriff’s Office staff, we have been able to “forgive” over $165,000.00 dollars in court cost debt in exchange for community service work performed by 176 inmates in the Sheriff’s Office Work Release Program. We continue to review each area of revenue on both the state and local level, ensuring a maximum collection of costs for the city and state treasury. Passport Services continue to be in demand. We have processed 393 passport applications in 2009; a 9.9% increase. Passports Passports 2004

Passports 2005

Passports 2006

Passports 2007

Passports 2008

Passports 2009

120

100

80

60

40

20

be r D ec em

be r N ov em

O ct ob er

be r ep te m S

ug us t A

Ju ly

Ju ne

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Fe br ua ry

Ja nu a

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Cash flow through this office was just over $55 million dollars in calendar year 2008, a 4% decrease over 2008. Please find attached statistics from 2009. I have included, as a part of this package, graphs that we employ to determine the ebb and flow of the activities at the courthouse. This gives us the ability to manage our staff efficiently and foresee problem areas. Thank you for your time and I look forward to a continued partnership between the Circuit Court and the City we serve.

Very truly yours;

George E. Schaefer Clerk of Circuit Court


Divorces Filed in 2009 – 2,660 Divorces Divorces Filed 2004

Divorces Filed 2005

Divorces Filed 2006

Divorces Filed 2007

Divorces Filed 2008

Divorces Filed 2009

350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August September October November December

Marriage License Applications in 2009 – 2,668

Marriage Licenses 350

Marriage Licenses 2004

Marriage Licenses 2005

Marriage Licenses 2006

Marriage Licenses 2007

Marriage Licenses 2008

Marriage Licenses 2009

300 250 200 150 100 50 0 January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August September October November December


Civil Suits Filed in 2009 – 3,126

Civil Suits Filed Civil Suits Filed 2004

Civil Suits Filed 2005

Civil Suits Filed 2006

Civil Suits Filed 2007

Civil Suits Filed 2008

Civil Suits Filed 2009

350

300

250

200

150

100

50

0 January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August September October November December

Civil Appeals Processed to SCV in 2009 - 49

Civil Appeals Civil Appeals to SCV and CAV 2004

Civil Appeals to SCV and CAV 2005

Civil Appeals to SCV and CAV 2006

Civil Appeals to SCV and CAV 2007

Civil Appeals to SCV and CAV 2008

Civil Appeals to SCV and CAV 2009

14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August September October November December


Passport Applications Processed in 2009 - 375

Passports Passports 2004 Passports 2007

Passports 2005 Passports 2008

Passports 2006 Passports 2009

120 100 80 60 40 20 0

Criminal Cases Commenced in 2009 – 8,444

Criminal Cases Commenced Criminal Cases 2004

Criminal Cases 2005

Criminal Cases 2006

Criminal Cases 2007

Criminal Cases 2008

Criminal Cases 2009

1600 1400 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0 January February

March

April

May

June

July

August September October November December


Criminal Cases Concluded in 2009 – 9,513

Criminal Cases Concluded Criminal Cases 2004

Criminal Cases 2005

Criminal Cases 2006

Criminal Cases 2007

Criminal Cases 2008

Criminal Cases 2009

1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0 January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August September October November December

Criminal Appeals Processed to CAV in 2009 - 398

Criminal Appeals Criminal Appeals to SCV and CAV 2004

Criminal Appeals to SCV and CAV 2005

Criminal Appeals to SCV and CAV 2006

Criminal Appeals to SCV and CAV 2007

Criminal Appeals to SCV and CAV 2008

Criminal Appeals to SCV and CAV 2009

70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August September October November December


Total Receipts for 2009 - $24,549,782.90 Total Receipts Receipt Total 2004

Receipt Total 2005

Receipt Total 2006

Receipt Total 2007

Receipt Total 2008

Receipt Total 2009

$6,000,000.00

$5,000,000.00

$4,000,000.00

$3,000,000.00

$2,000,000.00

$1,000,000.00

$0.00

Clerk’s Fees Collected in 2009 - $1,625,589.43 Clerk's Fees

$350,000.00 $300,000.00 $250,000.00 $200,000.00 $150,000.00 $100,000.00 $50,000.00 $0.00

Clerk's Fees 2004

Clerk's Fees 2005

Clerk's Fees 2006

Clerk's Fees 2007

Clerk's Fees 2008

Clerk's Fees 2009


Trade Name Applications Processed in 2009 – 1,262

Trade Names Trade Names/Misc 2004

Trade Names/Misc 2005

Trade Names/Misc 2006

Trade Names/Misc 2007

Trade Names/Misc 2008

Trade Names/Misc 2009

250

200

150

100

50

0 January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August September October November December

Notary Applications Processed in 2009 - 943

Notary Applications Notary Applications 2004

Notary Applications 2005

Notary Applications 2006

Notary Applications 2007

Notary Applications 2008

Notary Applications 2009

250

200

150

100

50

0 January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August September October November December


Concealed Weapons Permits Issued in 2009 – 1,526

Concealed Weapons Permits Concealed Weapons Permits 2004

Concealed Weapons Permits 2005

Concealed Weapons Permits 2006

Concealed Weapons Permits 2007

Concealed Weapons Permits 2008

Concealed Weapons Permits 2009

250

200

150

100

50

0 January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August September October November December

UCC Recordings in 2009 - 406

UCC Recordings UCC Recording 2004

UCC Recording 2005

UCC Recording 2006

UCC Recording 2007

UCC Recording 2008

UCC Recording 2009

250

200

150

100

50

0 January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August September October November December


Judgments Recorded in 2009 – 14,503

Judgements Judgments 2004

Judgments 2005

Judgments 2006

Judgments 2007

Judgments 2008

Judgments 2009

3000

2500

2000

1500

1000

500

0 January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August September October November December

Wills Probated in 2009 – 8,788

Wills Wills 2004

Wills 2005

Wills 2006

Wills 2007

Wills 2008

Wills 2009

1600 1400 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0 January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August September October November December


Land Recordation’s in 2009 – 36,452

Land Records Land Records 2004

Land Records 2005

Land Records 2006

Land Records 2007

Land Records 2008

Land Records 2009

6000

5000

4000

3000

2000

1000

0 January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August September October November December

Restitution collected and paid out to Victims in 2009 - $418,003.24

Restitution to Victims $160,000.00 $140,000.00 $120,000.00 $100,000.00 $80,000.00 $60,000.00 $40,000.00 $20,000.00 $0.00

Restitution to Victims 2004

Restitution to Victims 2005

Restitution to Victims 2006

Restitution to Victims 2007

Restitution to Victims 2008

Restitution to Victims 2009


Liens Attached in 2009 - 193

Liens Liens 2004

Liens 2005

Liens 2006

Liens 2007

Liens 2008

Liens 2009

60

50

40

30

20

10

0 January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August September October November December


2009 Annual Report