Ft. Lauderdale court records free online
The judicial system in Florida has taken a step closer to the 21st century as a recent ruling by the Florida Supreme Court now allows people access to court documents online.
This new ruling will allow people to stay at home and look at documents instead of parking at the Broward County courthouse, which has an astonishing $8 an hour parking fee – the most expensive fee in the South Florida area.
The Florida Supreme Court’s decision will allow most civil and criminal cases to be put online. There are a number of exceptions: Juvenile, mental health, probate and family court records (divorces included) though they can be still be viewed at the courthouse. All information that could be used for identity theft such as bank information and Social Security numbers have been removed from the documents.
Florida’s clerks are going to have a challenge on their hands, as they have to digitize a plethora of records all the while keeping the service free of charge for everyone accessing the courthouse.
The process has been smooth thus far, as Clerk of the Court and Comptroller, Sharon Bock of Palm Beach County, is expected to have all of her district’s records online halfway through 2015. It’s expected to be completely free.
The Florida Legislature is not particularly fond of funding the courts so there is worry that the system may struggle.
Florida has struggled with funding courts. This was clear when three years ago Governor Rick Scott had to approve a nearly $20 million emergency loan to keep the courts running.
It is important to mention that the funding of courts should be done by state lawmakers. Online access to court records should not be a new way to make money, but to promote access for the public.
The progression towards online documentation has been a work in progress for some time. The wait has a lot to do with privacy concerns, but paper documents have been digitized for the past while.
Manatee County has been a power house in online record access as it has already tested easy access to records void of personal information.




Privacy for the records is essential, but now the next step is maintain a solid budget without excess fees hampering the public from court records.

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