Following claims that some foreclosure hearings around Florida have been closed to the public, Chief Justice Charles Canady has ordered corrective measures.
“The courts of Florida belong to the people of Florida,” the chief justice said. “The people of Florida are entitled to know what takes place in the courts of this state. No crisis justifies the administrative suspension of the strong legal presumption that state court proceedings are open to the public.”
Canady acted after the Florida Press Association and other organizations sent letters to him and Fourth Circuit Chief Judge Donald Moran detailing instances where members of the public had been told they could not attend foreclosure proceedings.
The letter was signed by representatives of the Florida Press Association, the ACLU, the ACLU of Florida, the First Amendment Foundation, the Florida Association of Broadcasters, the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors, and the editor of the Florida Times-Union.
In response, Chief Justice Canady sent to the chief judges of Florida’s 20 circuits a supervisory memorandum directing the chief judges to ensure that the judges they supervise and the staff who report to those judges, as well as bailiffs and employees of the clerks of court, are not violating the rights of Floridians by improperly closing judicial proceedings to the public.