Q: Can citizens get certified records electronically?
A: We just launched E-Certify, which makes certified records available electronically for purchase 24 hours a day via our website, stjohnsclerk.com. Non-certified copies of court documents and official records are available online for free, but citizens often need certified copies of documents, such as wills, divorce decrees, marriage licenses or satisfaction of mortgage documents to prove authenticity. In addition to convenience and immediacy, benefits to online access include increased security and less risk of document fraud. Each electronic certified document uses advanced encryption to produce a tamper-proof electronic certified document that will include a unique Clerk of Court digital signature and tracking number.

Q: What is the cost of these records?
A: To access documents via E-Certify, costs include a $2 certification fee and $1 per page (statutory fees), plus a $6-per-document service fee (vendor fee) and 3.5 percent credit card fees. By downloading and saving the document, it can be printed and reprinted as many times as desired.

Entities verifying an electronically certified document may do so online around the clock, free of charge.

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Q: Can you explain the service that you offer to veterans for their separation records?
A: Veterans may file their separation records — called a DD 214 — for free with the St. Johns County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller for safekeeping and easy future access.  It is secure, fast and free of charge, and just one of the services our office provides to say thank you.

A DD 214 contains valuable information that can help veterans with benefits related to VA healthcare, GI Bill, Social Security, VA loans, military funerals, veterans’ preference and more. By recording your DD 214 with the clerk’s office, a copy is readily available to you in case the original is lost or destroyed. 

Q: How should a veteran take advantage of this free filing?
A: The original document can be filed at no cost with the clerk’s Recording Department, located in the Richard O. Watson Judiciary Complex, 4010 Lewis Speedway, St. Augustine. The document will be digitally recorded onsite and returned immediately. It’s important to know that only certain individuals may access or obtain copies of your DD 214: You, your parent(s), your spouse, your dependent or child, a representative of the estate of a deceased veteran, a public official acting in his or her official capacity, or a person authorized in writing by the veteran. 

Q: Do you have anything else to share with northern St. Johns County residents?
A: On Monday, Nov. 8, we celebrated  the long-standing alliance between the United States and Israel — and the Jewish community’s even longer history in St. Augustine —  with a St. Johns County-Israel Friendship Day proclamation before a crowd of more than 60 residents and supporters. This proclamation came after the recent adoption of a county resolution to revise its investment policy to remove companies on Florida’s List of Scrutinized Companies that boycott Israel, including Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and its parent company, Unilever. Citizens may not know that the Clerk’s office manages the county’s surplus fund as investments according to policy. On Nov. 10, the asset manager for St. Johns County divested more than $370,000 in Unilever assets; those dollars will be invested instead in other companies with similar or better rates of return.

Q: What is the best way for our readers to contact you or your office?
A: A lot of questions can be answered by visiting our website, www.stjohnsclerk.com, which is most commonly used to pay traffic citations or search court records. A little known fact is that it also has an option to report government fraud or abuse, as the clerk’s office is a government fraud/waste/abuse auditor. People can also call our main office at (904) 819-3600.

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