By Scott Poyer
Clerk of the Circuit Court
As the recently elected clerk of the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, I am often asked, “What does the clerk’s office do?” I am happy to answer this question because the clerk’s office does a lot of work that affects people’s lives in the county.
The clerk of the circuit court is one of the oldest public offices in Maryland and dates back as far as 1658 to the first Maryland settlement. The office was originally established to be an independent keeper of the records, and we still perform that function today. The clerk’s office has about 125 dedicated, hardworking people performing a variety of recordkeeping functions at our office at the Circuit Courthouse in Annapolis.
Among the functions we perform are recording all the land transactions in the county. Each year, we process about 100,000 real estate transactions. They are the underpinning of the entire real estate market, as well as an important resource for people researching genealogy and local history.
Each year, we also process approximately 75,000 documents related to the legal cases moving through the Circuit Court, including pleadings, summonses, subpoenas and warrants. Making a mistake on one of these documents could be detrimental to a person’s professional and personal life, so we are careful to process them timely and accurately.
The business licenses in Anne Arundel County are also issued by the clerk’s office. Every April when the licenses expire, we process about 8,000 business licenses within the span of a few weeks.
We also issue between 4,000 and 5,000 marriage licenses per year for everyone getting married in the county. And not only do we issue the licenses, we also perform half of all those marriages at our wedding chapel. It is an honor to host the thousands of people and their guests who come to the courthouse to get married each year, and to be a part of one of the most important days in their lives.
This is just a partial list of everything we do in the clerk’s office for the people of Anne Arundel County. I am honored that the voters have given me the opportunity to serve as clerk, and I am excited by the many initiatives we are undertaking to make our office more efficient and effective. I look forward to reporting the results in future articles, but I hope this article has at least answered many people’s general questions about the role of the clerk’s office.