Electronic filing now required at Butler County Clerk of Courts: Why it’s happening

It began in the summer of 2019 as a way to cut down on the paper documents and storage and provide more convenience for customers, and now electronic filling is mandatory at the Butler County Clerk of Courts office.

As of July 5, e-filing for the general division criminal and civil cases is a requirement, bringing the program funded by a $105,000 grant to fruition, according to Mary Swain, clerk of courts.

Clerk of Courts employees are now able to document court cases, which can be thousands of pages, with a touch of a button rather then scanning paper copies into the online system for imaging.

It’s faster and more efficient, according to Swain. Attorneys and their employees do not have to make a trip in person to the fifth-floor office in the Government Services Center in Hamilton to file documents.

“It is just a wonderful thing,” Swain said. “Before it was implemented we were very much out of storage space.”

Attorneys, judges or the general public requiring or wanting paper copies can still get them, but they can also be printed without a trip to the office or paying the cost per sheet that the clerk of courts office charges.

“And really it is more efficient with less chance for error. With this office scanning three fourths of a million documents a year, sometimes things could get misplaced,” she said.

Swain said her office is ready to help any resident who needs to file a court document.

“We have a terminal in our office and we have staff that will help them through the process,” she said.

The feedback has been positive, but there was a learning curve and some trepidation, she said. The system was implemented for civil cases first then criminal cases near the time pandemic precautions took hold.

Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Kelly Heile said the system was a great asset during the pandemic.

“I have ended up filing a lot of things on my own because of it and I find it really simplifies things,” Heile said.

“What used to happen, I would prepare the motion, sign the motion, print the motion, make multiple copies of the motion and those would get walked down to the clerk’s office either by myself or it would go in a folder that gets taken down to the clerk’s office periodically. So now we submit it online through the e-filing system and then I email the judge and defense counsel. No more printing and copying and I can do it with a few clicks on the computer.”

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