Commitment to the Community       

Every American is entitled to equal justice under law.  The creation of an environment within the court that is hostile to some members of our county based on their religious beliefs, the color of their skin and their sexual identity is unacceptable.  I will work to repair the local and national reputation of the Prince William County Circuit Court Clerk's office.  The courthouse is the place in our community for people to get justice, and all members of the community should be welcomed in the courthouse. I'll repair the office's relationships with Prince William County citizens and make sure justice and services are available to all. 

Commitment to the Future

 While performing pro-bono (free) legal services for people who lost their homes as a result of Hurricane Katrina, I witnessed first-hand the nightmares that can follow a massive destruction of records in the Clerk's office.  What's more, the courts system is quickly moving toward digitization- in fact, our local federal court has gone almost completely electronic as have the courts in Washington, DC.

Over one million court documents have been digitized in the Prince William County Court over the last several years- but the implementation of the system has been disorganized, and the files have often been inaccessible.  Many legal colleagues and private citizens have described how Prince William County judges frequently cannot access the electronic copies of motions and other papers on the bench.  These problems decrease the efficiency of the court, waste of taxpayers' money, and a waste of time and resources. We should not have already burdened court employees scan over 1,000,000 pages only to have the data lost when it is needed.

If this system is left unaudited and unrepaired, when the impending statewide court digitization occurs, or worse a disaster causes destruction of documents, Prince William County will be faced with a large, likely expensive catastrophe, and it will be the people who pay the price, both figuratively and literally. 

 
Commitment to Customer Service

As residents, we are not just customers of the court, we are investors in the court.  It is our tax dollars that fund the Clerk's office, and we deserve a return on our investment.  The employees in the Clerk's office are a wealth of knowledge on the topics of court procedure and requirements.  Often in my practice, I have witnessed staff members who wish to render assistance to a member of the public, but seem "handcuffed", either by the fear of giving legal advice (which is not permitted), or by the volume of other work they must complete.

 By eliminating inefficiencies in the Clerk's office, I intend to empower these staff members to share their knowledge with the public by providing a consistent and systematic approach to customer service.  By doing so, I also intend to eliminate the use of answering machines when you call the Clerk's office with a question, and if a call is received outside of working hours, ensure that calls are returned and not lost.  These simple changes will increase satisfaction both in the Clerk's office customers and employees.

Let's get politics out of the clerk's office.

It's time to put the people first.  -Jacqueline Smith


Your Clerk of court
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Jacqueline Smith, Esquire