Circuit Court Clerk


Divisions

Court Collections Components and Details – Year One

Component 1

Staff or staff time must be dedicated exclusively to collections activities in order to be compliant with TCA §40-24-105.

Mollie Slaybaugh Collections Specialist
Lisa Reeder Collections Assistant
Kim Wilkinson Collections Admin. Assistant
Part-Time Staff   for the Collections Department

 

Details for Component 1:

  1. Court Collections Program Staff devoted to collections activities may include Court employees, contractual employees, or interns.
  2. Court Collections Program Staff time is dedicated to performing some or all of the following functions:
    1. Responding to all collections-related phone calls and written correspondence in a timely manner.
    2. Ensuring that financial assessments are properly entered into the system.
    3. Ensuring that payments and adjustments are properly entered into the system.
    4. Ensuring proper removal of discharged debts from the system.
    5. Using available resources to locate litigants with delinquent accounts.
    6. Reviewing Court dockets for all Judges, Magistrates, and Referees to determine if a delinquent litigant will be present for future court proceedings in this or any other case.
    7. Making payment arrangements with litigants as they depart the courtroom.
    8. Reviewing and verifying all financial statements to determine a litigant’s ability to pay.
    9. Establishing and monitoring all installment payment plans.
    10. Generating default judgments on approved payment plans.
    11. Generating 30 day notices and notices of non-compliance. If payment is not received, Court Collections Program Staff may then proceed to:
    12. Issue delinquency notices;
    13. Prepare wage assignments;
    14. Prepare garnishments to last known employers of non-compliant litigants.
    15. Prepare executions or levys on litigant’s financial accounts.
    16. Notify TN Secretary of State or TN Department of Safety to suspend driver’s licenses of non-compliant litigants.
    17. Prepare Orders to remit prisoner funds pursuant to TCA §40-25-143.
    18. As a last resort, preparing cases for referral to outside agency for collection.

Component 2

Enforcing the requirements of TCA §40-24-105 and communication of the expectation of timely payments.

Details for Component 2:

  1. All correspondence and contact with the litigant – TCA §40-24-105.
    1. Informing litigants from the bench at the initial hearing or pretrial that payment is due upon assessment and provides an estimated amount due.
    2. Print the text of TCA §40-24-105 on all notices to appear.
    3. Advise litigants at the probation screening of the date payment is due and the amount of the expected payment.

The Court educates the local legal community as well as the general public that payment is required at the time of assessment of costs.

 

Component 3

Payment required on the day of assessment.

Details for Component 3:
Litigants unable to pay ordered costs in full on either the day of sentencing or disposition are expected to make a payment on the day of assessment. In addition, litigants are expected to complete an application/financial statement for either an extension of time to pay or for installment payment arrangements.

Discussions that relate to requests for additional time to pay, installment payment arrangements, or wage assignments do not occur in the courtroom. The litigant is directed by the Court to discuss payment options with Court Collections Program Staff who has been given the responsibility to set up installment payment arrangements.

 

Component 4

Application/financial statement information is verified and evaluated to establish an appropriate payment plan.

Details for Component 4:
Litigants are not automatically given time to pay. Before granting additional time to pay or approval for participation in an installment payment plan, the litigant is required to submit proof that he/she needs more time to pay. The litigant is required to complete an application or financial statement that the Court Collections Program Staff analyzes to determine if extra time to pay or an installment payment plan is justified.

Payment plans require the highest payment amounts in the shortest period of time that the litigant can successfully make, considering the amount owed and the litigant’s ability to pay.

If the Court Collections Program Staff determines that an installment payment plan is warranted, the litigant is required to sign an installment payment agreement. This document states that the litigant agrees to make payments includes the following information:

Pursuant to TCA §40-25-143, for prisoners, the Court Collections Program Staff submits an order to remit prisoner funds for the collection of fines, costs, fees, and assessments. TCA §40-25-143 collects restitution based on the judgment of sentence or other restitution order. If the defendant is sentenced to prison by our court, it is not necessary to attach the judgment of sentence to the order to remit prisoner funds. If the defendant is sentenced to prison by another Court and owes our Court restitution, then our Court attaches the judgment of sentence or other restitution order to the order to remit prisoner funds.

 

Component 5

Promptly and consistently use statutorily permitted graduated sanctions such as, show cause hearings, bench warrants, and/or garnishments.

Details for Component 5:
When an installment payment plan is granted to a litigant, he/she is required to complete a Voluntary Wage Assignment Order with the understanding that if three (3) payments are missed, the Court Collections Program Staff will immediately send the Voluntary Wage Assignment Order to Defendant’s employer.

The Court Collections Program Staff promptly notifies the litigant of delinquency.

The Court Collections Program Staff promptly enters default judgments as required by Statute.

The Court Collections Program Staff promptly issues 30-day notices and notices of noncompliance as required by Statute.

The Court Collections Program Staff promptly notifies the TN Secretary of State or TN Department of Safety to suspend driver’s licenses of delinquent litigants as required by Statute.

Add all available collection costs, including standard post-judgment fees. Unless otherwise provided, Court Clerks in criminal and civil cases in all Courts shall charge a standard post-judgment fee of $25.00. This fee shall be charged per occurrence and shall be charged regardless of whether judgment is enforced by garnishment, execution, levy or other process. This fee shall also apply to post-judgment interrogatories, publications, motions to set installment payments, and orders and pleas. TCA §8-21-401.