In light of public concerns of the transmission of the COVID-19 coronavirus, please be aware we offer several alternative methods of service to the public that do not require a visit to the Courthouse.
Additionally, the processing of passports now require an appointment. Please call our office to schedule an appointment. Our office does not process passports after 3:00pm. For more information on alternative options to apply for a passport (Click here).
Many upcoming Jury Trials and Jury Selections have been cancelled. Notifications have been mailed to each individual to the address on file; however, feel free to contact our office if you still have questions or concerns.
Notary Renewals maybe done by mail in. For more information about a mail-in Notary Renewal please visit: https://apps.gsccca.org/NotaryApplication/
If an individual has questions about the status of an upcoming criminal court date, they are encouraged to contact their attorney. No one in our office may excuse you from court. If you have come in contact with COVID-19, you will be required to send in documentation.
Welcome to the Clerk of Courts of Bulloch County, Georgia. The office of the Clerk of Courts performs a wide range of record keeping, information management, and financial management functions in the Judicial System. This office also provides Court support to each Superior Court and State Court Judge. The Clerk’s responsibilities include the following:
•File, record and index all documents related to real estate and personal property transactions.
•File and maintain criminal and civil dockets.
•To keep in the Clerk’s Office all documents, records, microfilm and all other things required by the Georgia Code.
•To perform all other duties required by Georgia Law.
Our goal is to provide as much online information and services as possible. Thank you for visiting the Bulloch County Clerk of Courts online. Should you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact our office.
After its creation in 1796, Bulloch County functioned without a courthouse while local officials debated where the county seat should be located. During this time, superior court sessions were held in private homes and other places. Following Statesboro’s designation as county seat in 1803, a wooden courthouse was built. In 1807, the first courthouse was replaced by a larger wooden building, which served until burned during Sherman’s March to the Sea in 1864. In 1866, the legislature authorized county officials to levy a tax for rebuilding the courthouse. Proceeds of this tax were used to build a two-story wooden building, which served until the present courthouse was built in 1894 (see photo). As part of a renovation in 1914, pedimented porticos supported by columns were added to the entrances to the courthouse.
By the 1960s, the Bulloch County courthouse had undergone several renovations that had utilized brick of different colors. This may have been the reason why the county commission decided to have the entire courthouse exterior coated with a white plaster that contained asbestos. In the 1990s, the county commission decided to undertake a major restoration of the courthouse. To remove the white plaster, it would have been necessary to sand blast the courthouse exterior. However, because of the damage this would do to the brick’s surface, the Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources encouraged Bulloch County officials to leave the plaster coating in place. The architect in charge of the courthouse restoration then recommended painting the white coating with a red color to simulate the appearance of brick. When the actual restoration of the courthouse began in 1998, the contractor found some areas where the white plaster was flaking or peeling and needed to be removed. Because of the health risk posed by the asbestos, a professional hazardous waste removal contractor was hired. Most of the white plaster, however, still adhered to the courthouse exterior and was simply painted a red brick color. The restoration, completed in 2000, left the Bulloch County courthouse looking much as did following the 1914 renovation.
Need for space in the 1990s led the county to expand into several buildings adjacent or near the courthouse in downtown Statesboro. In the 1990s, Bulloch County built a modern judicial annex across the street from the courthouse.
If you have come in contact with COVID-19, you will be required to send in documentation.
If you have been ordered to appear in court, this page will provide important information that will assist you before your appearance. This information does not constitute legal advice. If you require legal assistance, please consult an attorney.
Appearing in Court
•Be on time.
•No food or drinks allowed in Courtroom.
•Stand when the judge enters and leaves the room.
•Stand when you are speaking to the judge.
•Speak clearly when you respond to the judges questions.
•Always address the judge as “Your Honor”.
•Never interrupt the judge. If you are unsure of what you heard, wait until the judge or other person speaking at your hearing has finished talking before asking a question.
•Enter and leave the courtroom quietly, so you do not disturb others.
•Only approach the bench when instructed to do so.
Dressing for Court
If you are appearing in court you should dress nicely and in a manner that shows respect for the court.
Here are some things you should NOT wear:
•Hats inside the courtroom (except those worn for religious purposes)
•T-shirts depicting violence, sexual acts, profanity, or illegal drugs
•Tube or halter tops / plunging necklines / midriffs
•Ripped or torn jeans
•Mini skirts or shorts
•Baggy pants that fall below the waist
•Muscle shirts (usually worn as undergarments)
If you are not dressed properly, you will be asked to leave the court and return at a later date. This will delay your hearing and require you to appear in court more than once.
Items that should NOT enter the courthouse:
•Weapons of any kind
•Electronic equipment such as video, voice recorders or camera (unless approved by the court)
•Food, beverages, chewing gum and tobacco
Children in the Courtroom
Please do not bring children to court unless the court has ordered them to be present. Many topics discussed in the courtroom are not appropriate for children and may be hurtful or confusing. Please arrange for a friend or relative to watch your child(ren) while you are in court.
Cell Phones and Pagers
The use of cell phones are not allowed in the courtroom. Your cell phone or pager must be turned off before entering so that you do not disrupt the court. If you are required to carry a phone or pager for business purposes, it must be placed on silent mode.
Before entering the court you may go through a security checkpoint. In most cases, you will be asked to walk through a metal detector or an officer will use a wand to check for prohibited items. You should allow the officer to search any bags, packages or personal belongings that will be taken into the courtroom. If you refuse to cooperate, you may be denied entry to your hearing.
Every week thousands of prospective jurors assemble in hundreds of courthouses throughout the nation to participate in a civic duty and a right guaranteed by the sixth Amendment to the constitution – the provision of trial by a jury of peers. By serving on a jury, you have a direct hand in the administration of justice.
The law and court procedures of our state had as their origin the Common Law of England where the right to trial by jury existed since 1215. This right has been sacredly guarded and preserved by the institutions of our various states and by the Federal Constitution.
The jury is responsible for the correct determination of the facts which are in dispute in a given case. Errors of law may be corrected by the trial judge or appellate courts, but a jury’s error of fact may never be corrected. Thus, a juror’s duty is one of grave responsibility and importance.
Procedures in Civil Cases
The Beginning of the Case. The person who begins a lawsuit is known as the plaintiff and the person against whom the suit is brought is called the defendant. A suit is commenced when the plaintiff files his or her complaint in court and in response to this claim or complaint, the defendant then files an answer, setting up defenses and other contentions. These papers are known as pleadings. Jurors should understand that, at all times, the pleadings are not evidence but that they merely state the written contentions of the parties.
Jury Selection. In most civil cases, the jury is selected from a panel composed of 24 qualified persons. In determining whether all persons are qualified, the judge or the lawyers for the parties may ask certain questions directed either to the panel as a whole or to individual jurors. If it is determined that any juror is related to any of the parties or has already formed an opinion about the case, that juror will be excused and another substituted. There will then be a full panel of 24 from which a jury of twelve persons may be selected or, in some courts, a panel of twelve from which a jury of six persons may be selected.
Selecting a jury is done by a process known as “striking the jury.” It gets its name because the parties alternately strike names from the panel until the number is reduced by one-half. the chosen jurors will constitute the jury that tries the case.
Presentation of Evidence. Ordinarily, after statements by both parties as to their contentions, the plaintiff first presents evidence to support his position; then the defendant presents his evidence. The plaintiff may then offer evidence to rebut or explain any of the defendant’s evidence. Most evidence is presented by the oral testimony of witnesses who testify under oath. The lawyer for the party who has called the witness proceeds with his cross-examination.
After the cross-examination has been concluded, the lawyer who called the witness may then ask questions on redirect examination. Often oral testimony has been taken prior to the trial, and when the witness is not available, this previously recorded testimony may be read into evidence by the attorney as if the witness was present and testifying.
The Charge. After the conclusion of the evidence and the final arguments, the judge will charge (or instruct) the jurors as to the question or questions they are to decide and as to the law which applies to the evidence that has been presented.
After the judge has charged the jury, the jury will retire to consider its verdict. The jury must decide the facts based on the evidence presented and then apply the law as charged by the judge in deciding the question or questions involved.
The Verdict. The verdict and its fairness is obviously of vital importance to the parties in the case. The law requires a unanimous verdict. In reaching the verdict, jurors should enter into the discussion of the case with an open mind and should freely exchange views with each other. They should not hesitate to change their original views or opinions concerning the case when convinced, after a fair discussion, that another opinion or view is better.
Procedures in Criminal Cases
With the few exceptions, criminal cases are tried under almost the same rules of procedure and in much the same manner as civil cases. The person indicted or against whom the offense has been charged is known generally as the accused. The State prosecutes criminal cases, and all crimes are prosecuted in the name of the State. In a criminal case, the contention of the State is that a law of this State has been broken. The defendant, on the other hand, contends that, in a given case, he did not commit the offense charged or that there was some justification or mitigation. The lawyer who represents the State is called the District Attorney.
Major differences between civil and criminal cases are:
In the selection of a jury in felony cases a panel of 30 jurors is made up with the exception of death penalty cases. In death penalty cases, a panel is made up of 42 jurors. Each juror is asked to stand before the Court and submit to an examination by counsel from either side. Counsel does not have anything to do with making up the panel but may strike as many jurors as the law prescribes for the particular type of case which is being tried. In misdemeanor cases, a panel of 12 jurors is made up and the State strikes two names from it and the defendant’s counsel strikes four. The six remaining names constitute the jury which will try the case.
In a criminal case, the State proceeds by way of indictment or accusation. The defendant files no written answer. All material allegations in a the indictment or accusation are deemed to be denied.
In a criminal case, the State must prove every essential element of the alleged crime beyond a reasonable doubt except those elements which are admitted to be beyond a reasonable doubt. A reasonable doubt is what the term implies – a doubt based upon reason and for which you can give a reason, and not a fancy conjecture of supposition that the defendant might be innocent. It is the doubt upon which a reasonable man would act, or decline to act, in a matter of importance or of grave concern to himself. It is the doubt of the fair-minded, impartial juror honestly seeking the truth.
In a civil case, the plaintiff has only the burden of proving material elements in his case by a preponderance of the evidence. Preponderance of the evidence is defined as that superior weight of evidence upon the issues involved, while not enough to wholly free the mind from a reasonable doubt, is sufficient to incline a reasonable and impartial mind to one side of the issue rather than to the other.
In misdemeanor cases, which are those cases in which the defendant cannot be sentenced to more than one year on each count, the judge sets the sentence. In felony cases, the judge also sets the sentence and the duty of the jury is to determine guilt or innocence. In both civil and criminal cases, the judge will instruct the jury as to the form of the verdict and the jury should follow these instructions in writing up and returning the verdict.
During the Trial. During the trial and the recesses, jurors must not talk about the case with each other or with any other person or allow any persons to talk about the case in their presence. In some courthouses, the jurors are provided with a private room to which they, as a body, retire during the recess. If no room is provided, the jurors should not mingle with the lawyers or with the witnesses in the case. They must not accept any favor of any nature including such small items as a soft drink or a ride home from any of the witnesses, parties or counsel. If a juror is approached in any way by a party interested in the outcome of the case, he or she should report this communication privately to the Court. In short, a juror must refrain from participating in any activity which might tend to incline that juror toward one party or the other.
In the Jury Room. After the evidence has been concluded and the charge of the court has been delivered, the jury retires to the jury room to consider its verdict. Its first task is the selection of a foreman or forewoman. This person acts as the chairperson of the group.
It is the chairperson’s duty to see that the discussion among the jurors is carried on in a sensible and orderly fashion; that the issues submitted for decision are fully understood and fairly discussed; and that each juror has a chance to state his or her views upon every question. The chairperson supervises the taking of ballots, as well as signs any written verdicts which may be required and any written request which may be made to the judge (e.g.as a request for further charge on some point). In selecting this foreman or forewoman, it is well to select someone of experience and general knowledge who will command the respect of the other jurors.
This office is the acceptance agent for the United States State Department Passport Service for Bulloch County. We will assist any citizens with a passport application, however we cannot be held responsible for any delays or problems with your application. Applications are available on-line at www.travel.state.govor can be obtained in the Clerk’s Office. These applications should be filled out in black ink or typed.
PASSPORTS NOW REQUIRE AN APPOINTMENT. PLEASE CALL OUR OFFICE TO SCHEDULE YOUR APPOINTMENT. WE DO NOT PROCESS PASSPORTS AFTER 3:00PM. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE ALL PROPER DOCUMENTATION, YOUR APPOINTMENT WILL HAVE TO BE RESCHEDULED.
OUR OFFICE NO LONGER PROVIDES NOTARY APPLICATIONS.
You are required to sign and swear or affirm to the truthfulness of the information you provide on the application.
In addition to the information shown above, you are required to state on the application form all criminal convictions you have had including any plea of nolo contendere, except minor traffic violations.
Endorsements of two persons who are not your relatives, who are least 18 years old and who reside in Bulloch County, stating that you are a person of integrity, good moral character, and capable of performing notarial acts.
The application (or renewal) fee for a notary public is $46.
The Clerk of Court accepts cash, money orders or checks.
The Clerk of Bulloch County Superior Court is required by law to review your application and either grant or deny a commission.
The Clerk of Bulloch County Superior Court may deny your application if you have been convicted of any crimes or entered a nolo contendere plea to any crime other than a minor traffic violation, or if you have ever had a notary commission revoked, suspended or restricted
The Clerk will issue you a certificate of appointment at the time you are commissioned as a notary public
Upon issuing a certificate of appointment, the Clerk notifies the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority, a state agency responsible for maintaining a statewide registry of notaries public, which will send you an official identification card showing you are a notary and the term of your appointment.
Term of Office
A notary public serves a term of office for four years from the date of the commission.
The commission may be revoked at any time if a notary violates any notary public law, performs any illegal notarial act, or is found to have submitted an application or endorsement for a notarial commission containing substantial or significant misstatement or omission of fact.
Renewal of a commission may be done in person at the end of the term of office.
Seal of Office
For authentication of notarial acts, a notary public is required by law to provide a seal of office.
The seal shall contain you name, the words “Notary Public,” “Georgia,” and “Bulloch County”.
The seal may either an embossing device or a rubber stamp.
All notarial acts must be documented by your notary seal.
Fees of Notaries
The fees a notary may charge the public for performing notarial acts are:
•Administering an oath — $2
•Each attendance on any person to make proof as a notary public — $2
•Every other certificate — $2
•It is not lawful to charge more than $4 for each service performed. The $4 fee includes a $2 fee for performing the notarial act and $2 for attendance to make proof as a notary public and certifying the same
A notary public is not required to charge fees for notarial acts
You must inform the person requesting the notarial act in advance of the fees that will be charged for the service.
For more information concerning commissioning of notary public’s, visit the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority’s site at http://www.gsccca.org/Projects/aboutnp.asp (The Georgia Superior Courts’ Cooperative Authority).
The Georgia Protective Order Registry is an online service that stores all Protective Orders issued by the Superior Courts of Georgia as authorized by the Family Violence statutes of the state. Senate Bill 57 mandated that the Registry be made part of the Georgia Criminal Information Center (GCIC) system in Georgia, and that the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority work with GCIC to obtain the Protective Order data issued by the courts. Since the Registry became operational on July 1, 2002, Protective Orders are now available to law enforcement agencies nationwide through GCIC and NCIC (National Crimine Information Center) systems.
How the Registry is Used
Clerks of Superior Court are responsible for indexing the required data for Orders filed in their courts; electronically scanning the Orders; and attaching the images of the Orders to the indexed data. The Clerks transmit the indexed data and the Order images to the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority. The Authority then verifies and forwards the transmissions to the GCIC computer system.
The Registry, accessed by law enforcement through GCIC terminals, displays all Protective Orders and related data for the respondent. A respondent name search will produce information such as criminal data, court disposition data and protective order data.
Protective Order Forms
Visit the SB 57 Files & Formssection to access all forms associated with SB 57, the Protective Order Registry.
This index contains property transactions not only from Bulloch County but also from all counties since January 1, 1999, including the name of the seller and buyer, location of the property, any liens on the property, and the book and page where the actual deed is filed in the county. If you and your family are looking for a great opportunity in one of East Haven’s finest cities then, now you can findhomes for sale east haven ctat williampitt.com.
Searches can be performed by name, property (subdivision, unit, block and lot) or instrument type, and can be done by county, region (i.e. a county plus all counties that border it) or statewide. Historical data is being added to the system and additionally, images of the corresponding real estate instruments (from participating counties) are currently being added to the on-line system.
Pursuant to state law, the Superior Court Clerks Cooperative Authority is expanding the statewide uniform automated information system for real and personal property records, (provided for by Code Sections 15-6-97 and 15-6-98), by the addition of a LIENS database. This effort will provide for public access to real estate and personal property information, including liens filed pursuant to Code Section 44-2-2. The system began January 1, 2004.
Pursuant to state law, the Superior Court Clerks Cooperative Authority is expanding the statewide uniform automated information system for real and personal property records, (provided for by Code Sections 15-6-97 and 15-6-98), by the addition of a database for Map and Plat records. This effort will provide for public access to real estate and personal property information, including map and plat images and searchable index data. The system became operational Jan. 1, 2004 for all counties to submit map and plat index data.
Please be advised STATEWIDE UCC filings are now mandatory e-filing.
The Bulloch County Superior Court Clerk’s office is proud to announce that UCCs may be filed online. In an effort to provide ease and convenience, Bulloch County Superior Court Clerk’s office, in conjunction with the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority, has developed an online electronic filing portal.
We hope that you find this service to be beneficial as Bulloch County Superior Court Clerk’s office continues to explore and implement new ways to improve services delivered to the citizens of Bulloch County.
Directions on how to complete e-filing
Click the following link to download the official GSCCCA eFiling Manual.
A glossary of legal terms including links allowing you to search for other terms not listed. Information on finding and retaining an attorney and links to organizations that can assist in this search, information on Law Libraries and how they can be used, and how the court clerk can help you.
1) I have the forms, but who can help me fill out the forms?
A: The Clerk of Court is not allowed to help you in filing out any forms. We are not lawyers and cannot give out any legal advice
2) Can I speak to a judge about my case?
A: No. It is inappropriate to speak with a judge about a specific case without both parties being present. Information facts relating to a case are presented in a courthouse during scheduled events.
3) How can I receive copies of Judgments or any other document filed in a civil file?
A: Copies of items in civil case files can be obtained by visiting our office in person or mailing in your request. Visit the fee schedule for a list of our copy and certify fees. When mailing in your request please include a self-addressed stamped envelope along with appropriate copy fees to assure receipt of the
documents you requested.
4) I have been served with civil papers. What do I need to do to file an answer?
A: You can hire an attorney to file your answer or you may do it yourself. These can be handwritten or typed. You will need to file an answer with the Clerk’s Office and also send one to the filing attorney. None of these conditions applying, the judge does have discretion to excuse persons for reason of hardship or inconvenience. However, such excusals are carefully reviewed, and are not granted automatically.
Clerk of Courts
Heather Banks McNeal
Clerk of Superior, State and Juvenile Court of Bulloch County
If you are requesting any type of document from the Clerk’s Office, please include as much information as possible (e.g., name, case number or book and page you are inquiring about). Upon receipt of the email, the request will be processed within 3-5 business days. Please be sure include your name and contact information so that we may contact you if necessary. Please submit records request to firstname.lastname@example.org