A Report from Catherine F. Shanks,
Clerk of the Knox County
Juvenile, Civil Sessions, and Circuit Courts
This is the first in a series of reports that I will be making to the people of Knox County. My goal is to keep the public better informed, make my office even more accessible, and provide information.
Toward that end, I will soon be announcing a revamped website for the Clerk's office. I'm very excited about the improvements to our website and feel sure that it will be very useful to the public and attorneys who transact business with our office regularly. The website has been expanded and contains more features than ever before. In fact, one special development is the ability for citizens to look up docket items on line. Obviously, this will save both citizens and staff time and effort. It should reduce the number of telephone calls coming into the office, save the taxpayers money through increased efficiency and reduce paperwork.
The number of people utilizing our court system is ever increasing. As the Clerk of the Juvenile, Civil Sessions, and Circuit Courts, I want to emphasize service to Knox Countians and attorneys. The objective for my staff and I is provide the highest possible level of service at the least cost to the taxpayers.
Being an attorney as well as a mother, I think I understand both the professional need to utilize the Clerk's office, as well as the average citizen being caught up in legal difficulties or merely using a legal process. I am happy to say that not every person coming through our court system is responsible for a crime or the victim of crime; there are numerous other reasons for a person to have business with the courts, including redress for a variety of matters and probating wills.
Of course it is a sad fact of life that there is a great deal of violence in our society today. I was recently touched by a speech given by Knox County Commissioner Diane Jordan who quoted the late Dr. Martin Luther King in the course of her comments. I am repeating those remarks here because I found them to be inspirational.
“The ultimate weakness of violence is that the descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.”
Dr. King wrote those words almost thirty-five years ago and they remain both poignant and true today.
I realize that appearing in court or dealing with the legal process can be a traumatic experience for many people. I understand that some have indeed been the victims of crime and my staff and I want to make your experience as pleasant as possible. I have reorganized my staff and office and am stressing service to citizens. The new website is just one feature to make things more accessible and easier for citizens and attorneys to use. I will be making further announcements in the future and will try to keep you informed in future reports.
If ever there is anything my staff or I can do for you or your family, please don't hesitate to contact me.