Legal language

Keri Thornton | Daily Press

Bob Gibbins, Cherokee County Deputy Court clerk, checked entries for a divorce case at the courthouse Tuesday morning.

The jargon used for offenses in court proceedings might be confusing for some, but the Fifteenth Judicial District Court clerk's office is on top of each case.

Bob Gibbins, Cherokee County deputy court clerk, said civil cases are split between under $10,000 and over $10,000 -- CS civil cases are under $10,000, and CJ civil cases are above $10,000.

"People usually represent themselves before the judge in small claims court. Hiring attorneys is much more common for CS and CJ civil cases," said Gibbins. "A lot of the CS cases are credit card companies, and some, those filed by Credit Bureau Services, are for medical bills."

Typically, small claim procedures are not as strict as civil and the filling fees are less with the case moving faster. Judges can only award money judgments in small claims court.

Civil cases involve a conflict between people or businesses over money. They occur when a party files a complaint with the court and serves a copy of the complaint to the other party involved.

Several offenses or causes can be filed in small claims: entry and detainer, petition for judgment, and lost title. Breach of contract, quiet title, indebtedness, and foreclosure are examples of civil offenses.

Entry and detainer is an action a landlord or property owner uses to remove an occupant who refuses to leave after appropriate notice. The state of Oklahoma requires that a landlord must provide the tenant with written notice of their intention to reclaim the property and the reason they are seeking to reclaim the property. After the notice has expired and the tenant refuses to leave the property, the landlord would then file for a forced entry and detainer with the court.

Tracy Pennington, first deputy for the Cherokee County Court clerk, said a petition for judgment is normally seen in the CV or CJ cases.

"Money is indebted to the plaintiff and that would be like a hospital bill or anything to that effect," she said.

Quiet title is a lawsuit that establishes ownership of property when multiple people have claims to the same property.

"It's to make sure that if someone could claim ownership, to be aware of someone else getting ready to purchase that," said Pennington.

"They want to make sure they are getting a good deed -- like if someone had passed away."

A breach of contract is a violation of an agreement that occurs when one party fails to fulfill its promise according to provisions of the agreement.

"They're needing to resolve it as to taking property, something back or some kind of money judgment," said Pennington.

Any small claims or civil cases can be filed in the county clerk's office on the third floor of the Cherokee County Courthouse.

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