County court cases up 20 percent
It was a busy year for the Barry County court system according to a year-end report released this week by Barry County Circuit Clerk Craig Williams.
In 2009, there were 5,696 cases filed in the Barry County Circuit Clerk's Office, which is 20 percent more than the 4,708 cases filed in 2008. Of those cases filed in 2009, 1,342 were criminal cases, which is down 32 cases from the previous year.
The criminal filings in 2009 consisted of 550 felonies, 755 misdemeanors, two municipal cases, 34 conservation violations and one watercraft violations. These totals were very consistent with the 2008 numbers.
The circuit court's criminal division also processed 1,243 traffic violations, which was 247 more than in 2008. The number of arrest warrants issued in 2009 totalled 1,603, which was less than the previous year. There are currently 1,576 active or outstanding warrants issued by the court.
Of the criminal cases disposed of in 2009, 85 defendants were sentenced to the Missouri Department of Corrections as a result of a probation violation or upon a plea of guilt and another 21 defendants were sentenced to the Missouri Department of Corrections subject to 120-day call back with the possibility of being placed on probation. The combined 106 defendants who were sent to state prison is 22 less than the previous year.
In addition, there were 40 defendants sentenced to serve time in the county jail, which is six less than in 2008. There were also 30 defendants sentenced to pay a fine in lieu of serving time in the county jail and seven defendants referred to Barry County Drug Court.
In 2009, Barry County judges ordered over 16,000 hours of community service, which is almost double the 9,000 hours assigned in 2008.
Of the cases handled in 2009, 193 defendants were placed on supervised probation and 592 defendants were placed on unsupervised probation.
At the end of 2009, there were 840 cases pending in the Associate Level Criminal Division and 211 cases pending in the Circuit Level Criminal Division of the Barry County court system.
The local court experienced a sharp increase in the number of jury trials conducted. In 2009, there were six jury trials held as compared to three in 2009. The 2009 trials included one civil case and five criminal cases. In three of the cases, a jury was not selected because the case settled or the defendants pleaded guilty.
On the civil side of the court docket, the Barry County Court saw a huge increase in Circuit Level Civil Division cases filed this past year. In 2009, there were 614 cases filed as compared to only 181 in 2008. These cases include administrative reviews, contracts, injunctions, restraining orders, real estate auctions, tax liens and cases seeking a judgment of over $25,000.
Some of the other cases handled by the circuit court civil division in 2009 included: 197 probate cases (213 in 2008); 564 domestic relations cases (404 in 2008); 114 juvenile cases (17 in 2008); 381 protection orders (361 in 2008); 1,116 Associate Level Civil Division cases (960 in 2008); 115 small claims (123 in 2008); 10 mechanic liens (11 in 2008); and 884 garnishments.
The total amount of court fees collected by the Circuit Clerk's office rose from $1,037,261 in 2008 to $1,173,604 in 2009. This amount includes court costs, fines, garnishments, restitution and bonds.
The majority of court cases were heard by Circuit Judge Robert S. Wiley, Associate Circuit Judge Carr L. Woods and Associate Circuit Judge Victor W. Head. The Circuit Clerk's office is staffed by: Craig Williams, circuit court and ex officio recorder of deeds; Pam Modlin, chief deputy clerk; Crystal Lowe and Tina Scott, divisional clerks; Patricia Henderson, Reta Voelker, Sherry Allee, Katie Meek, Marty Stearns, Denise Allen and Shannon Allison, deputy clerks; and Cindy Puryear, drug court coordinator and deputy clerk.
According to Williams, the 2009 statistics were compiled through records maintained by the Justice Information System (JIS) provided by the State of Missouri and implemented by Barry County in 2005. All cases maintained by JIS can be tracked on Case.net, which can be accessed at www.courts.mo.gov.