The 10th Chancery District is made up of Marion, Forrest, Lamar, Perry and Pearl River Counties, and all of them will soon have electronic filing systems in place, making it easier to access records.
Marion County was ordered to begin voluntary electronic filing court documents on Nov. 16, and will move to mandatory electronic filing on Dec. 14.
Forrest County has been working for several years in getting documents scanned and making it easier on anyone searching for records.
“We are making our land records available online, that includes all your warranty deeds, quick claim deeds, your deeds of trust, which is your mortgage on your house, that’s going to make things easier for your abstractors, for your attorneys, and you know for Joe Smith living in the south part of the county,” Forrest County Chancery Clerk’s Chief Deputy Lance Reid said.
The records that are in the e-fling program go back to 1975, and you can access them by visiting www.deltacomputersystems.com and searching for Forrest County.
According to Reid, printing out those documents does come at a cost.
“There is a $30 per month subscription, you can pay that and make unlimited copies for the month, there is also a yearly subscription, which is $330 a month,” Reid said.
They are still in the process of figuring out a day rate, or a onetime usage fee for records according to Reid.
“It just makes things so much easier, right now if somebody wants to get a copy of their deed they got to drive here to this building, they have to come in and give us their name and we will look it up and make the copy for them,” Reid said.
The Chancery court files are separate from the land records, but are expected to be up and running under the Mississippi Electronic Court System by year’s end.
“All the land records, court records, are on computer, and used to we would have to go to the land book and look all that stuff up, and then give somebody a copy of it, now they walk in and give the name and we can print it right out,” Forrest County Chancery Clerk Jimmy Havard said.
The 10th district will be the first court district in the state to implement district-wide e-filing in one operation.
In a press release from the Administrative Office of Courts, Chancery Judge Dawn Beam of Sumrall said “We really are on a fast track to go to Forrest and Lamar counties, then on to Pearl River and Perry counties.”
Beam expects all counties of the 10th Chancery District to be using electronic filing by March.
Aside from the ease of access for people, officials say it is a huge benefit for the speed of the court systems.
“This will allow the court to access any case in the five counties from any location,” Beam said. “The court can better manage cases; attorneys will be able to file in any of the five counties from their offices and access court records.”
The e-filing court records also allows judges and attorneys to file and view documents 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and makes public access to court records more convenient.
“Citizens are better served when cases are managed and heard in a timely manner,” Beam said.