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Jefferson County circuit clerk wins state award

May 25, 2010|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. -- After 18 months on the job, Jefferson County Circuit Clerk Laura Rattenni was singled out among 55 West Virginia counties for a clerk of the year award.

The honor was bestowed upon Rattenni by the West Virginia Association for Justice, an organization representing the state's trial lawyers, association spokeswoman Beth White said Tuesday.

Rattenni, a deputy clerk in the office for seven years at the time, was appointed to fill out the remaining two-year term of Patsy Noland when Noland won a seat on the Jefferson County Commission in November 2008.

Rattenni, who ran unopposed in the May 11 Democratic primary, is running for re-election in November against a Republican challenger, Edward C. Compton of Summit Point, W.Va.

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"It's a thrill to receive this award for doing a job that I love and all the challenges it brings," Rattenni said.

Rattenni was nominated for the award by local attorney David Hammer.

Hammer could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Quoted in a press release announcing the award, he said: "Laura understands from the inside out the vital role a circuit clerk serves in maintaining and accessing a court system's records. Ask to review a file and she has it, updated and ready."

David Sanders, 23rd Circuit Court Judge in Jefferson County, said the award is "richly deserved for a hard-working, innovative clerk who has made great strides modernizing the office and making it more accessible." Rattenni also made significant changes in how members of juries are treated, the judge said.

Rattenni limited the time served on juries from five months to one month, the judge said.

Sanders said Rattenni is continuing what Noland started in the office.

"We pride ourselves in America for having a court system that protects the rights of all citizens," Timothy C. Bailey, president of the Association of Justice, said in the press release.

"That system works only when it is well organized and maintained, and it is dependent on the clerks, the unsung heroes of our nation's court system, to do that."

Rattenni and her husband, Louis, live in Harpers Ferry, W.Va. They have three children.

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