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Florida high court to evaluate new proposal banning 'hidden' court cases

[JURIST] The Florida Supreme Court [official website] plans to analyze newly proposed rules that would stop the practice of sealing certain court cases from public view in a system that Chief Justice Fred Lewis [official profile] said has "gone awry" Wednesday. A Miami Herald investigation [report] uncovered over 400 hidden negligence, malpractice, divorce, and criminal cases involving judges, lawyers, politicians, businessmen, and police officers in the Broward County Circuit Court [official website] since 1989. Lewis called on the Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptrollers [profession website] to conduct a probe into the cases on the secret docket [PDF list], and the resulting proposals by the group would mandate public hearings before a judge could seal any court record and would require written explanations before making any information private.

The Florida Supreme Court will review the suggested rules over the next few weeks. The rules may be adopted in whole or in part, or the judiciary could create their own rules, which may be implemented by an emergency order. The Florida public will also have the chance to give their opinion on the rules before a decision is reached by the court. The Miami Herald has more.

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