Tuesday morning, two great mysteries lingered in the minds of residents throughout Erie County and beyond.
One: What would Prince William and Duchess Kate name their baby?
Two: Would Erie County’s court records ever be placed online?
By late evening, at least one of these uncertainties was solved. Erie County clerk of courts Luvada Wilson said she is unveiling, today, county court records online.
She is poised to launch more than 1 million pages of court documents onto a new website, viewable to everyone for free.
It is nothing short of a momentous, red-letter day for Erie County. It means anyone — attorneys, residents, Internet sleuths, you name it — can search Erie County court records in the civil, criminal and domestic relations divisions. It includes cases filed from 2000 through February 2013.
Court employees plan to continue adding new and old cases online, Wilson said.
Wilson warned people that some image inaccuracies may occur with certain cases. Any users who run into this sort of problem should visit the clerk’s office — located on the first floor of the Columbus Avenue courthouse — to obtain an official hardcopy of the record.
The community has waited patiently, for years, to see court records placed online. Former clerk of courts Barb Johnson, who died in October 2011 while in office, failed to deliver on this promise.
Wilson, who immediately succeeded Johnson and won a full four-year term in November 2012, vowed to make the office more efficient. Getting court records online, which she first estimated would occur in March, became her top priority.
“There is still, however, so much that must be accomplished in our office,” Wilson said. “But we have indeed begun to proceed in making this clerk’s office one of the most efficient in the state of Ohio.”
Among the other efficiencies occurring under Wilson’s watch:
•Seeking direction from the Ohio Auditor of State’s office in returning up to $3 million in funds owed to court patrons.
•Partnering with the Ohio Attorney General’s office to recoup funds from delinquent accounts owed to the clerk’s office.
•Sorting through unorganized records scattered throughout the office.
•Allowing patrons to pay with debit and credit cards.
•Creating a training manual.
“We may have a long way to go, but we are definitely moving forward in that direction,” Wilson said.