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Should a circuit clerk remove himself and his subordinates from filing a case in which the case is about the clerks wife?

Akron, CO |

If the circuit clerk has a conflict of interest, what clerks would file it?

Attorney Answers 2


Mr. Lebowitz is correct. If a judge's clerk is related to the case, it is likely that the judge will recuse himself or herself from the case and it will be heard by a different judge. Absent that situation, the clerk's office does not exercise control over the case and shouldn't have an issue. If it turns out that the clerks office is doing something untoward (such as removing documents from the file or altering the record) such actions would rise far beyond a conflict of interest and it would be expected that the offending parties would lose their jobs.

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Maybe Court Clerks have a different role in Colorado where they exercise more discretion, but typically a court or county clerk job is what is known as a "ministerial" position, where there is no discretion exercised, like getting a fishing license when you pay the fee, as long as you meet the objective written license requirements in the rules (residency, age, etc.).

If a Clerk is required to file any papers presented for filing if they are in the proper form and all required forms are submitted and the required fees are paid, there is no conflict with the Clerk filing a case against or for his wife. I would imagine the Clerk is not filing the papers him or herself, but on behalf of an attorney or party.

So, I don't see any conflict of interest.

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Jack Richard Lebowitz

Jack Richard Lebowitz


p.s. Is a "circuit clerk" a "law clerk", that is, confidential advisor to a Judge or Court who is a lawyer who assists a judge in deciding a case by researching the law and writing proposed decisions or opinions? If so, that is probably a confidential and discretionary job and there may be a conflict.

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