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story.lead_photo.caption MEGAN DAVIS/MCDONALD COUNTY PRESS The McDonald County Courthouse staff, working behind-the-scenes on court cases from filing to sentencing includes (from left to right) Carrie Mileson, Athena Thacker, Lori Sellers, Laura Williams, Circuit Clerk Tanya Lewis, Bailiff Stephanie Sweeten, Lacey Stancill, Jessie Bergen, Monica Willyard and Amy Campbell.

As of Sept. 22, clerks at the McDonald County Courthouse had filed more than 3,000 cases -- 1,038 civil, 998 criminal, 627 traffic, 105 miscellaneous (administrative orders, transcript judgments, search warrants), 104 juvenile, 81 probate, 76 mental health and 30 treatment court cases.

Circuit Clerk Tanya Lewis said numbers are right on schedule from last year's totals, except for traffic cases.

"That is because Fine Collection Center went away in April of this year so we are getting over twice as many tickets as we did before," she said.

Lewis has served in different positions within the courthouse since she began her career there more than 26 years ago. In November of last year, she was elected as circuit clerk for the county and took office Jan. 1, 2019.

Lewis, and the clerks she supervises, are tasked with filing, processing and maintaining records of all manners of civil and criminal court cases; handling the court docket; collecting court costs; processing child support and adoption cases; overseeing jury summons and selections; and handling divorce filings, probate actions, small claims cases and passport proceedings.

"Every day is a new day in the office," Lewis said. "I still learn something new every day."

Along with an ever-changing docket, clerks are also responsible for staying up-to-date on training regarding new legislation and changes to the law.

Shifts in crime happen over time as well.

"When I first started, we were processing hundreds of bad checks," Lewis said. "Now, we've seen an increase in drug-related charges and civil cases."

The courthouse has also adopted a state-of-the-art paperless filing system; far from the sprawling paper indexes of years past.

After more than two decades serving the community at the courthouse, Lewis said she is hopeful for three-more terms as circuit clerk.

General News on 10/17/2019

Print Headline: Circuit Clerk Tanya Lewis

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