District Court

Joni Bitterman

Clerk of District Court
Jury Commissioner
Passport Acceptance Agent


Deputy Clerk


The District Courts are trial courts of general jurisdiction and are organized into 12 judicial districts to serve all 93 counties in the state. Clay County is in the Tenth Judicial District which also includes the counties of Adams, Kearney, Nuckolls, Phelps, Webster, Franklin, and Harlan.

The District Court has concurrent jurisdiction with County Courts. However, the District Court primarily hears all felony criminal cases, equity cases, domestic relations cases and civil cases involving more than $51,000.00. It also functions as an appellate court in deciding appeals from county courts and various administrative agencies.


The Clay County Clerk of the District Court is an elected office. The term of the office is four years. Each county in the State of Nebraska has a clerk of the district court. Nebraska law states that counties with 7,000 inhabitants are required to have a clerk of the district court elected by the voters. In counties with less than 7,000 the county board and district court judge determine whether there should be a clerk of the district court. If a clerk does not exist, the county clerk is the ex officio clerk of the district court.


In addition to being the Administrative Office of the Court, the Clerks of the District Courts are responsible for maintaining the records of criminal and civil cases, mental health cases, the Court’s dockets and processing judgments.
Some of the further duties of the District Court Office are:

  • Issuing writs and orders;
  • Filing and preserving all papers delivered to the Court;
  • Certification/Authentication of court filings;
  • Make entry of return of every summons, subpoena and order served;
  • Keep the records pertaining to the Court and records its proceedings;
  • Prepare and file the annual inventory statement of all county personal property in his or her custody and possession;
  • Provide and process protection order applications;
  • Track all court costs, fees, fines, restitution and judgments ordered in each case filed.

The Clerk of the District Court also serves as a passport agent and ex-officio jury commissioner for the County.