First Amendment access returned to court records throughout Florida

By Bill Girdner, Courthouse News Service, September 8, 2022

After a six-year legal saga, a federal judge entered an order that set an agreement between Courthouse News Service and Florida’s e-filing authority. The result is public access to new complaints when they cross the virtual counter, bringing the state courts back in line with how they had operated in the time of paper records.The terms of the deal between this news service and Florida’s e-filing authority calls for Florida to give public access to new court filings “on receipt.” In exchange, Courthouse News agreed to give up its claim for attorney fees.

Florida joins the biggest state in the nation, California, and the fourth biggest, New York, in returning traditional access to the public record of the courts in the electronic era. A related First Amendment action is now pending in the second biggest state, Texas, also seeking to reclaim the right taken away under the cover of modernization.

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