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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Double the duty

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Photo by Jan Thompson

Dorothy Barton, seated, serves as Oregon County Circuit Clerk and Recorder of Deeds. Employees in her office include from left, back row: Rosemary Romans, April Blankenship and Dawn Holman.

Reporters note: This is the fourth in a series of articles with elected officials in Oregon County.

OREGON COUNTY -- Dorothy Barton serves as the Oregon County Circuit Court Clerk and Recorder of Deeds.

She is the only elected official in the county responsible for two offices.

She has more than 30 years of experience working in the courthouse at Alton.

Rosemary Romans is Barton's chief deputy in the circuit clerk's office.

The duties of the circuit clerk are many and involve filing, documenting and scheduling the four different types of cases in circuit court. They include domestic, criminal, civil and juvenile cases.

The circuit clerk and recorder of deeds duties are defined by state statute. Barton said as statutes change, it is the responsibility of the office holder to be aware of any and all changes and incorporate them as dictated by the wording of the statute.

Barton said domestic cases include divorces, adult abuse, child protection cases, paternity actions, name changes, contempt, administrative orders, family access motions and child support enforcement.

She said her office is involved in all criminal cases for the purpose of a plea. "The plea either consists of probation or being sent to the Missouri Department of Correction. This could be a voluntary plea of guilty, a court trial or a trail by jury," she said.

She said her office handles any misdemeanor cases in the county where the defendant has requested a jury trial. "We also handle criminal cases coming from the city of Alton and Thayer where the defendant has requested a jury trial. Often when a defendant violates probation, a hearing is held and the defendant will be re-sentenced," she said.

Civil cases are also handled by Barton's office. She said these matters most often includes title actions, condemnation suits, all types of real estate actions, breach of contracts, personal injury, wrongful death cases and limited driving privileges.

The final cases Barton oversees involves juveniles. She said this includes juvenile delinquency, abuse and neglect, termination of parental rights and juvenile adoptions. "These matters dealing with juveniles are all confidential and are not accessible to the public," Barton said.

As recorder of deeds, Barton has two office workers, April Blankenship who is chief deputy recorder and Dawn Holman who serves as deputy clerk.

It is the duty of the recorder of deeds to record, in the public records of the county in which the real estate is situated, deeds transferring ownership of land, deeds of trust and miscellaneous filings.

The recorder's office is also where military discharge papers are filed. The office also issues and records marriage license and issues passports.

Barton has served as circuit clerk and recorder of deeds in the county since September, 2003 when she was appointed by former Gov. Bob Holden to complete the unexpired term of then retiring circuit clerk Janice Andrews. Barton came to the circuit clerks office in 2000 after 19 years of service in the Associate Division of Oregon County Circuit Court.

Barton and her husband Gary have two daughters and two granddaughters.

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