Rhonda Barchak, Brazoria County District Clerk
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Brazoria County, Texas
About the District Clerk's Office
The District Clerk's Office is an integral part of the function of the district courts as provided by Article 5, Section 9 of the Texas Constitution.
Rhonda Barchak became the District Clerk in July of 2010 after winning the March primary and November general election in 2010. She is currently serving in her third term and is the 21st person to hold the office of District Clerk for Brazoria County since 1837.
The District Clerk's Office is the registrar, recorder, and custodian of all pleadings, instruments, and papers that are part of any cause of action in any District Court of Brazoria County. In addition to judicial responsibilities, the District Clerk indexes and secures all court records, collects filing fees, handles funds held in litigation and monies awarded to minors. Trust Funds currently managed, invested, and monitored by the District Clerk are approaching 4.6 million dollars.
Modern methods and the use of technology to facilitate an ever-expanding office has been the emphasis of the District Clerk's Office for the past few years. Using technology to enhance the services provided by the office, optical imaging has become the primary method of archival of records. Looking to the future, this change will facilitate the use of the Internet to offer new opportunities to provide services to the legal community and the general public.
One important duty of the District Clerk's Office is the managing and summoning of jurors for all of the District, County, and Justice Courts, as well as the Grand Jury. Persons are summoned for petit jury service from a computerized jury system that consists of the names of registered voters and persons having a Texas driver's license or identification card. Names are randomly selected from the jury system and the list is reconstituted every two years.
As the population of Brazoria County continues to grow, so naturally does the volume of matters handled by the District Courts. While the new cases filed in the Brazoria County District Courts now approach 16,000 each year, many of the court records of which the District Clerk's Office has custody are classified as permanent records by law. The District Clerk must continue to maintain these "disposed of" records forever. District Court records maintained by the District Clerk go back as far as 1832, when Texas was a possession of Mexico. It is not unusual for the District Clerk's Office to be asked to locate and reproduce copies of records from 100 years ago.
Some of the types of filings that the District Clerk handles are:
civil cases such as serious personal injury, delinquent taxes, product liability, contracts, and medical/legal malpractice; criminal cases stemming from felony indictments such as murder, robbery, controlled substances, felony DWIs, along with revocations of community supervision, bond forfeitures and expunctions; family matters such as divorces, child support, child custody and name changes.
The District Clerk also prepares writs, citations, abstracts of judgment, executions, warrants, restraining orders, temporary orders, show cause orders and subpoenas, appeals records, maintains exhibits, provides clerical support in courtrooms, indexing of records, performs background searches, maintains permanent court records, deposits and maintains funds paid into the Registry of the Court.