JoAnne Conner has officially launched her campaign for Clerk of Court. Conner was appointed to fill the vacancy created when Robert C. “Bobby” Wrenn retired after 51 years as Clerk.
A veteran of 26 years in the Clerk’s Office, Conner served three years as Chief Deputy. She is a Master Deputy Clerk, a Certified Court Manager by the National Center of State Courts, and has extensive training, education and experience in all aspects of the Clerk’s Office. She has been preparing the local and state budget for the Clerk’s Office for over ten years.
A member of the Virginia Circuit Court Clerks Association, Conner has the endorsement and support of her predecessor, Bobby Wrenn who has called her “the most highly qualified person to ever serve as Clerk,” based on her experience and training.
Conner has to be on the ballot for the special election in November to serve the final four years of Wrenn’s eight-year term.
Under her leadership as Chief Deputy, all criminal files are now scanned and available in an electronic format. Conner also implemented this upgrade in the civil division in 2012.
The office now accepts credit cards, and was among the first offices in the Commonwealth to begin accepting online payments.
The Clerk’s Office now has video docketing, meaning court dockets are electronically posted outside of each courtroom on monitors.
Last year Conner was able to secure Video Arraignment equipment, enabling incarcerated individuals who are before the court for advisement of an attorney, to appear via video, significantly saving transportation and security costs. The office has also implemented a system that enables appeals to be sent electronically to the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Virginia.
“Most people are familiar with the Clerk’s Office as a repository for historical records and a place to research family history,” said Conner. “They are also acquainted with the office through court proceedings. However, the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office is a crucial part of this community, and performs innumerable functions.”
The Code of Virginia lists over 800 responsibilities and duties for the Clerk, many of which are legally sophisticated and highly complex.
The grand jury that hears criminal indictments is assembled by the Clerk. She collects criminal fines and costs levied upon conviction in court trials, and is the official record-keeper of criminal felony cases and misdemeanor appeals.
The Clerk’s Office manages jury operations and is responsible for providing a list of qualified jurors to the Sheriff’s Dept. for issuing summons. The Clerk assembles jurors and is one of only two jurisdictions in Southside Virginia to provide an orientation to prepare jurors for their service.
The office collects the taxes and fees for recording of deeds and retains all deeds and land records recorded since the inception of the city/county.
Conner’s duties also include the authentication of wills, preparing of legal documents and orders related to the handling of the estate, and collecting the applicable state and local taxes.
The Clerk is the official record keeper of all circuit court cases which include contract disputes, claims of negligence, criminal cases, divorce proceedings, land disputes, adoptions, name change requests, court judgments, and many other types of court cases.
Conner’s office issues marriage licenses and processes notary public commissions, issues witness subpoenas in court cases, concealed handgun permits, and administers the oath of office to elected officials, sheriff deputies and citizens who are appointed to local or state commissions. In most jurisdictions, military discharge papers are also filed with the Clerk’s Office.
Finally, the Clerk’s Office possesses a wealth of historic records that are available for public inspection. These require constant protection and preservation to ensure their existence for future generations. The Clerk uses state funding to perform preservation and conservation work to restore and protect Greensville County’s valuable history. Bobby Wrenn, Conner’s predecessor, started applying for these grants many years ago and she has continued this project. In addition to the many duties listed above, the Clerk is also responsible for a vast amount of funds held in trust as a result of court cases.
“I want to continue the progress we have made,” said Conner. “Greensville County and Emporia have a 21st Century Clerk’s Office, and I am passionate about continuing to keep us on the forefront of technological and procedural improvements. Most importantly, we will continue to give outstanding service to the citizens of Emporia and Greensville County.”
Conner is involved in a number of civic and religious activities, including Calvary Baptist Church, where she has taught Sunday School for many years, led women’s Bible studies, and currently serves as deacon; the Gideons International Ladies Auxiliary; and Operation Christmas Child. Conner actively supports and participates in several other local and international ministries. She was a fitness instructor at the local YMCA for over five years.
Conner has been married to her husband, Ed, for over 30 years. The Conners have three grown children, all graduates of Greensville County Public Schools, and three grandchildren.