2013 Mississippi Code
Title 9 - COURTS
Chapter 1 - PROVISIONS COMMON TO COURTS
GENERAL PROVISIONS
§ 9-1-43 - Limit on compensation of chancery clerks and circuit clerks and their related employees; liability on bonds; chancery court clerk clearing accounts; circuit court clerk clearing accounts; journals and receipts; punishment for failure to deposit funds


MS Code § 9-1-43 (2013) What's This?

(1) After making deductions for employer contributions paid by the chancery or circuit clerk to the Public Employees' Retirement System under Sections 25-11-106.1 and 25-11-123(f)(4), employee salaries and related salary expenses, and expenses allowed as deductions by Schedule C of the Internal Revenue Code, no office of the chancery clerk or circuit clerk of any county in the state shall receive fees as compensation for the chancery clerk's or circuit clerk's services in excess of Ninety Thousand Dollars ($ 90,000.00). All such fees received by the office of chancery or circuit clerks that are in excess of the salary limitation shall be deposited by such clerk into the county general fund on or before April 15 for the preceding calendar year. If the chancery clerk or circuit clerk serves less than one (1) year, then he shall not receive as compensation any fees in excess of that portion of the salary limitation that can be attributed to his time in office on a pro rata basis. Upon leaving office, income earned by any clerk in his last full year of office but not received until after his last full year of office shall not be included in determining the salary limitation of the successor clerk. There shall be exempted from the provisions of this subsection any monies or commissions from private or governmental sources which: (a) are to be held by the chancery or circuit clerk in a trust or custodial capacity as prescribed in subsections (4) and (5); or (b) are received as compensation for services performed upon order of a court or board of supervisors which are not required of the chancery clerk or circuit clerk by statute.

(2) It shall be unlawful for any chancery clerk or circuit clerk to use fees in excess of Ninety Thousand Dollars ($ 90,000.00), to pay the salaries or actual or necessary expenses of employees who are related to such clerk by blood or marriage within the first degree of kinship according to the civil law method of computing kinship as provided in Sections 1-3-71 and 1-3-73. However, the prohibition of this subsection shall not apply to any individual who was an employee of the clerk's office prior to the date his or her relative was elected as chancery or circuit clerk. The spouse and/or any children of the chancery clerk or circuit clerk employed in the office of the chancery clerk may be paid a salary; however, the combined annual salaries of the clerk, spouse and any child of the clerk may not exceed an amount equal to the salary limitation.

(3) The chancery clerk and the circuit clerk shall be liable on their official bond for the proper deposit and accounting of all monies received by his office. The State Auditor shall promulgate uniform accounting methods for the accounting of all sources of income by the offices of the chancery and circuit clerk.

(4) There is created in the county depository of each county a clearing account to be designated as the "chancery court clerk clearing account," into which shall be deposited: (a) all such monies as the clerk of the chancery court shall receive from any person complying with any writ of garnishment, attachment, execution or other like process authorized by law for the enforcement of child support, spousal support or any other judgment; (b) any portion of any fees required by law to be collected in civil cases which are to pay for the service of process or writs in another county; and (c) any other money as shall be deposited with the court which by its nature is not, at the time of its deposit, public monies, but which is to be held by the court in a trust or custodial capacity in a case or proceeding before the court. The clerk of the chancery court shall account for all monies deposited in and disbursed from such account and shall be authorized and empowered to draw and issue checks on such account at such times, in such amounts and to such persons as shall be proper and in accordance with law.

The following monies paid to the chancery clerk shall be subject to the salary limitation prescribed under subsection (1): (a) all fees required by law to be collected for the filing, recording or abstracting of any bill, petition, pleading or decree in any civil case in chancery; (b) all fees collected for land recordings, charters, notary bonds, certification of decrees and copies of any documents; (c) all land redemption and mineral documentary stamp commissions; and (d) any other monies or commissions from private or governmental sources for statutory functions which are not to be held by the court in a trust capacity. Such fees as shall exceed the salary limitations shall be maintained in a bank account in the county depository and accounted for separately from those monies paid into the chancery court clerk clearing account.

(5) There is created in the county depository in each county a clearing account to be designated as the "circuit court clerk civil clearing account," into which shall be deposited: (a) all such monies and fees as the clerk of the circuit court shall receive from any person complying with any writ of garnishment, attachment, execution or any other like process authorized by law for the enforcement of a judgment; (b) any portion of any fees required by law or court order to be collected in civil cases; (c) all fees collected for the issuance of marriage licenses; and (d) any other money as shall be deposited with the court which by its nature is not, at the time of its deposit, public monies but which is to be held by the court in a trust or custodial capacity in a case or proceeding before the court.

There is created in the county depository in each county a clearing account to be designated as the "circuit court clerk criminal clearing account," into which shall be deposited: (a) all such monies as are received in criminal cases in the circuit court pursuant to any order requiring payment as restitution to the victims of criminal offenses; (b) any portion of any fees and fines required by law or court order to be collected in criminal cases; and (c) all cash bonds as shall be deposited with the court. The clerk of the circuit court shall account for all monies deposited in and disbursed from such account and shall be authorized and empowered to draw and issue checks on such account, at such times, in such amounts and to such persons as shall be proper and in accordance with law; however, such monies as are forfeited in criminal cases shall be paid by the clerk of the circuit court to the clerk of the board of supervisors for deposit in the general fund of the county.

The following monies paid to the circuit clerk shall be subject to the salary limitation prescribed under subsection (1): (a) all fees required by law to be collected for the filing, recording or abstracting of any bill, petition, pleading or decree in any civil action in circuit court; (b) copies of any documents; and (c) any other monies or commissions from private or governmental sources for statutory functions which are not to be held by the court in a trust capacity.

(6) The chancery clerk and the circuit clerk shall establish and maintain a cash journal for recording cash receipts from private or government sources for furnishing copies of any papers of record or on file, or for rendering services as a notary public, or other fees wherein the total fee for the transaction is Ten Dollars ($ 10.00) or less. The cash journal entry shall include the date, amount and type of transaction, and the clerk shall not be required to issue a receipt to the person receiving such services. The State Auditor shall not take exception to the furnishing of copies or the rendering of services as a notary by any clerk free of charge.

In any county having two (2) judicial districts, whenever the chancery clerk serves as deputy to the circuit clerk in one (1) judicial district and the circuit clerk serves as deputy to the chancery clerk in the other judicial district, the chancery clerk may maintain a cash journal, separate from the cash journal maintained for chancery clerk receipts, for recording the cash receipts paid to him as deputy circuit clerk, and the circuit clerk may maintain a cash journal, separate from the cash journal maintained for circuit clerk receipts, for recording the cash receipts paid to him as deputy chancery clerk. The cash receipts collected by the chancery clerk in his capacity as deputy circuit clerk and the cash receipts collected by the circuit clerk in his capacity as deputy chancery clerk shall be subject to the salary limitation prescribed under subsection (1).

(7) Any clerk who knowingly shall fail to deposit funds or otherwise violate the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor in office and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined in an amount not to exceed double the amount that he failed to deposit, or imprisoned for not to exceed six (6) months in the county jail, or be punished by both such fine and imprisonment.

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