|Howard Forman, who now has to pay people to hide information from you.|
For members of the public (including the news media), getting court files from the Broward County Clerk of Courts has been a somewhat arduous process in recent years. The clerk's offices are crowded and short-staffed, and members of the public need to awkwardly sign in on a clipboard while an overworked employee reads the clipboard upside-down to see what case files are needed, then shuttles back and forth to get old records delivered from an off-site warehouse in three to five days.
In recent years, the process got worse, as the state government cut clerks' budgets and staff was further reduced. Still, there was a bright side: If a court file was present in the building, you could look at it right away.
That has all changed now, as new Florida laws require the clerk to redact personal information from any file before it's handed over. Now, it takes a week to see files that are already there. And behind the scenes, the clerk's office is struggling to keep up with requests and with the new law. More »