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Chamber luncheon hears from District Clerk

DISTRICT CLERK CHRIS DANIEL

Office services, historical stories

The North Channel Chamber of Commerce continued a busy schedule last Friday, with their monthly luncheon. This followed a very successful, well attended 40th Anniversary Gala the week before.

Adam Lund, the new president of the Chamber, emceed the luncheon meeting, which started with Mark Kramer of Channelview ISD presenting Outstanding Students and Educators.

New members were also introduced, including Huckabee Architects, and Andrew Held of Frost Bank.

This was followed by the keynote speaker, Harris County District Clerk Chris Daniel, who managed to give a talk that was both entertaining, informative, and full of historical anecdotes.

Daniel’s District Clerk office is in charge of court records, he said. As such, he is in charge of jury duty for county courts, and also offers passport services and maintains historical Harris County Court Records dating back to 1836.

In regard to jury duty, Daniel said that you may be called to serve on a jury if you are registered to vote, or if you have a drivers license. The drivers license list was added, after the state discovered that some were not registering to vote to avoid jury duty. Daniel also maintains a website where the public can search and read all court records. This is at www.hcdistrictclerk.com. There is also a tab on the site for obtaining free background checks on other individuals.

Passports are available from his office, either at 201 Caroline downtown, or at 5 locations county wide, mostly libraries.

Daniel’s office has 450 employees and oversees a $32 million budget. He was first elected in 2010 and reelected in 2014. His office staffs 76 courts with clerks, maintains records for those courts, and runs jury service.

On a personal note, Daniel earned a mechanical engineering degree from UT Austin, and the South Texas College of Law, passing the bar in 2012. His wife Jennifer is a CPA, and a native or Barbers Hill. Oh, note that Daniel speaks Dutch.

During his first term in office, Daniel focused on turning more courts into efficient, cost-saving ecourts, modernizing the subpoena process and offering more services, such as passports.

In 2013 Daniel collaborated with Sheriff Adrian Garcia and the District Attorney’s office to create eSubpoena, an efficient electronic system that greatly reduces the time it takes to notify or summon witnesses.

As custodian of the Harris County Historical Document Room, Daniel has access to a number of important and interesting documents related to the history of Harris County, and the state of Texas. As part of his talk, he related several stories about historically important characters that were revealed in court documents, including David Burnet and Howard Hughes.