Meet the Clerk
Sheila Studdard was first elected to serve as Fayette County’s Clerk of Courts in 2000.
She serves as Clerk for the Superior Court, State Court and Magistrate Court of Fayette County, as well as Drug Court. Sheila also serves as Pro Hac Clerk of Courts for Peachtree City, Fayetteville and Tyrone for all city ordinance violations, and serves as Jury Clerk. As the Jury Clerk, she is charged in maintaining the integrity of the jury pool or ‘box’.
In January 2011, The Clerk took on the responsibilities of oversight for the Board of Equalization. In this role of Board Administrator, the Clerk is tasked with providing a neutral space for tax appeals to occur. The Board Administrator ensures that all Board Members are provided mandated training through the Department of Revenue.
Since taking over as Fayette County’s Clerk of Courts, Sheila has worked to bring new, innovative ideas to the Clerk’s Office, not only in Fayette County, but across the state’s 159 counties. She worked with Georgia State Legislators to bring the concept of E-filing to the state of Georgia. In 2006, she began working with state leaders to initiate enabling legislation for E-Filing for the courts and real estate transactions. Through the leadership of State Rep. Ed Lindsey and State Rep. Wendell Willard, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, legislation was passed in 2009.
Sheila was appointed in 2010 by Tom Lawler, then Chairman of the GSCCCA Board, to be the chair the committee that would work tirelessly for months to write the Real Estate eRecording Standards for the State of Georgia. This committee worked directly with members of the Real Estate Bar, Bankers and the Title Insurance industry to ensure the intent of the legislation was carried out. From then on, efiling real estate documents has been an option in many counties here in Georgia.
Sheila also applied for and received a grant of more than $375,000 for funding the implementation of the Judicial Data Exchange Project circuit-wide in Fayette, Spalding, Upson and Pike counties. The Exchange Project allows different agencies to access common elements of information on each defendant in the system, reducing the re-keying of relevant data for each case.
The system begins with the written report from the police department or Sheriff’s office, and follows with the application for arrest warrants, booking records, bond notifications, indictments and accusations, hearing notifications motion and trial notices, and the Department of Corrections packages with information on sentencing, probation and parole. All agencies are included in the Exchange Program – Police and Sheriff Departments, Clerk of Courts, District Attorney, Probation, DOC and Parole boards.
While the grant allowed funding for the start-up of the program, Sheila continues to look for funding to continue and enhance the program. The most recent implementation was in April 2020 with electronic search warrants.
Many of the Court’s functions have transferred to an electronic platform. What used to be a world of paper is slowly being transfigured to a wall of digital screens. Although, civil efiling for Georgia was developed right here in Fayette County with PeachCourt and has been available in many counties since 2014, on January 1, 2019 mandatory civil efiling was the norm. Then came mandatory criminal transcript efiling. Little by little, the Office of the Clerk has been electrified!
Sheila has implemented E-Notary on-line, UCC on-line E-Filing and on-line traffic violation payments. She is looking for ways to make your life easier.
Sheila was appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue to Chair the Superior Court Clerk’s Retirement Fund of Georgia. She served the Fund with distinction for nearly 15 years, ten of those years were as the Chairman. Under her leadership, the value of the Fund doubled. Sheila also served as the District 6 Director of COAG (Constitutional Officers of Georgia), where she chaired the COAG Scholarship Committee. She is a 2006 graduate of the Paul Coverdell Leadership Academy, which is now known as Republican Leadership of Georgia.
She remains active with the Georgia State General Assembly, looking for ways to improve the Clerk’s office and its service to the public.
With her innovative thinking and implementation of new programs, Sheila was a Top 3 Finalist for Georgia’s Clerk of the Year in 2010.
Prior to seeking and winning the Fayette County Clerk of Courts position, Sheila was a member of the Atlanta Police Department from Aug. 1990 until Jan 2001, where she was promoted to Detective on the APD’s Robbery Squad in 1995.
When she took office as Clerk of Courts in 2001, there were 24 full-time and 2 part-time employees. Today, there are 35 employees (nine part-time) to serve the county’s Superior, State and Magistrate Courts.
She and her husband David, have one son, Jack.
Sheila earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice from Mercer University in Criminal Justice. She earned her Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Georgia State University in Atlanta.
The Clerk of the Court is responsible for:
- Filing, recording and indexing all documents related to real estate within Fayette County, including deeds, plats and liens.
- Filing and processing for service of all divorce cases, adoptions, name changes, child support, change of custody and contempts.
- Files and processes for service all civil cases relating to suit on account, condemnations, appeals from magistrate and probate court, writs of possession, insurance, etc.
- Files, records and indexes all judgments, tax liens and fifa’s
- Files and processes all warrants, indictments, accusations and sentences on all felony and misdemeanor cases,
- Processes sentencing packages for Department of Corrections for transfer of prisoners into the state system and reports all sentencing to GCIC, a division of the Georgia Bureau of Investigations,
- Files and processes all Uniform Commercial Code (UCC’s), liens on personal property for public notice.
- Prepares records of all appeal cases in the Civil, Domestic and Criminal Divisions for the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Georgia.
- Records military records.
- Processes all Temporary Protective Orders to GCIC
- Maintains a central database of notaries.
- Serves as Jury Clerk.
- Serves as Administrator to the Board of Equalization.