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The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Florida Opens Dockets...

From the First Amendment Center:

The Florida Supreme Court issued emergency rules yesterday designed to stop the improper sealing of court records and dockets in civil cases, but delayed a decision on whether they also should cover criminal cases.

The unsigned, unanimous opinion requires court clerks to post notices on their Web sites and courthouses after a record is sealed and allows citizens to then challenge those decisions. Courts are also prohibited from making case, docket and other identifying numbers confidential.

“Most significant for our purposes here ... the removal from public view of all information acknowledging the existence of a case is expressly not allowed,” the justices wrote.

That’s exactly what happened in Broward County with divorces and other civil cases involving more than 100 prominent people, including television personalities, judges and elected officials.

The Miami Herald last year disclosed the hidden docket after obtaining case numbers and names, but not sealed documents, through a lawsuit...

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