FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 3, 2003
MACOMB COUNTY AMONG FIRST TO PUT SEARCHABLE CIRCUIT COURT case LIST on the internet
Macomb County Circuit Court Chief Judge Peter J. Maceroni and the Macomb County Clerk – Register of Deeds today announced a joint effort that is believed to place Macomb County among the first in Michigan to put circuit court case names, case numbers and the judges assigned to those cases on the Internet. This new service makes it possible to find out whether Macomb County civil or criminal cases were filed involving a company or individual without having to make a trip to the county clerk’s office. It also provides access to the name index if the county’s main frame computer system is not accessible.
“Having a back up circuit court case index available on the Internet is an important safeguard,” said Macomb County Circuit Court Chief Judge Peter J. Maceroni. “I thank the County Clerk for suggesting this innovative way to protect court data while at the same time making it easier for the public to access circuit court information.”
“This new service for the public would not have happened without Judge Peter J. Maceroni’s support,” said the Macomb County Clerk. “Having this data on the Internet will improve customer service because no one will have to come to my office to find out if there are any cases filed against a particular business or person, or to look up a case number.”
"The County Clerk's new service will make it easier for our Program to help senior citizens. We will definitely utilize it," said Thomas Hartwig, Staff Attorney for the Legal Assistance Program of the Macomb County Department of Senior Citizen Services. "Also, seniors wanting to hire a contractor for home improvements will now be able to use the Internet to check up on a contractor to see if any lawsuits have been filed against the company."
“Thanks to the County Clerk it is now easier to find out if new recruits have pending court cases and whether they meet the high standards set by the Navy,” said Edmond J. Vodochodsky, Recruiter-in-Charge, Navy Recruiting Station, Mount Clemens. “I can now do from my desk what I used to have to drive to the clerk’s office to do. This new service gives me more time to serve our country doing other duties my job requires.”
“Even before this new service, the Macomb County Clerk’s office had the best customer service of all the counties I visit,” said James D. Schoenherr, Senior Investigator, Recon Management Group, LLC. As an investigator, Schoenherr routinely checks court records to see if cases are filed involving particular people. “Now the Clerk’s Internet service will let us get information much quicker and save money for our clients. Being able to search the database before I even leave my office will save us an average of three to four hours per search.”
Members of the public now have 24-hour Internet access to look up whether or not a case exists for a particular person and, if so, the case number, whether it was a civil, criminal or domestic case, the year it was filed and the judge who was assigned to the case. To see the case file or learn the status of a case, a person must still visit, fax or write to the county clerk’s office. But even getting information in the clerk’s office could be faster now because a person can come to the counter already knowing the case number they want. There is no charge to view a file in the clerk’s office. Photocopies cost 40 cents each, which is lower than the photocopy cost in Wayne and Oakland Counties.
Currently, court data is stored on a main frame computer. The county is scheduled to replace the current system by the end of next year. Having the data on the Internet is an important safeguard in case the old system fails before the new system is installed.
There was no additional cost to the county to put the data on the Internet because the Macomb County Clerk was able to use existing county staff and existing computer equipment. This was not part of the new court system to be installed in 2004.
The Macomb County Clerk first began looking at putting court data on the Internet several years ago when she put business registrations on the Internet. The power blackout gave her an opportunity to revisit the issue because the loss of power caused the county’s main frame computer to fail leaving the county without a ready index of case files. Macomb County joins Genesee and Otsego Counties, which are believed to be the only other counties in Michigan with a searchable court index on the Internet. Genesee County has gone one step farther by also putting court activities and case dispositions on the Internet.
“My hope is that we can eventually put actual case file documents on the Internet in the same way I am putting real estate records on the Internet. I am proud of my record of using technology to help Macomb County residents,” said the Macomb County Clerk. “It is now more convenient for people to get real estate records, business registrations and death records information. I am pleased that we now have at least some basic court information available on the Internet so people don’t have to make a trip or phone call to my office."
Macomb County Circuit Court information is public information. In 2002, there were 17,348 circuit court cases filed in the Macomb County clerk’s office. Macomb County Circuit Court case names and file numbers from 1966 to the present are available on the Internet. There are more than 942,000 circuit court records now on the Internet. The data will be updated weekly.
The court information may be viewed on the Internet at http://clerk.macombgov.org/Clerk-Services-CourtFileroom. If you have questions about the service, click the telephone icon on the web site. Your telephone will ring and a member of the county clerk’s staff will be on the phone to assist you.
This use of technology is the latest improvement in a long line of successes by the Macomb County Clerk. As Macomb County Clerk – Register of Deeds, the Macomb County Clerk also:
- Recently put Macomb County real estate records, including deeds and mortgages, on the Internet at http://www.landaccess.com and was the first county clerk in Michigan to use computerized scanning and indexing for a register of deeds office.
- Was the first county clerk in Michigan to launch a toll-free 24-hour fax-on-demand system to provide forms and information. Call 1-888-99-CLERK. (1-888-992-5375)
- Was the first county clerk in Michigan to provide overnight delivery service for birth certificate requests and other vital records.
- Was the first county clerk in Michigan to provide assumed name business registrations and death records on the Internet. See http://clerk.macombgov.org/Clerk-Home
- Started a Personal Protection Order Assistance Center to help victims of abuse.
- Was the first county clerk in Michigan to accept credit card payments for court filings and vital records.
PHOTO EDITOR’S NOTE: A photo of Macomb County Circuit Court Chief Judge Peter J. Maceroni and the Macomb County Clerk – Register of Deeds together holding a court file that is now among the 942,000 listed on the Internet is available for your use in jpeg format at http://clerk.macombgov.org/Clerk-Home.