Sunshine State Uses Fees to Prevent Sun from Shining on Judicial Records
Florida court system says access to public records will cost $132,000
When the Center for Public Integrity last summer requested records from Florida’s 17th judicial circuit regarding the procedures and policies surrounding foreclosure cases, officials were more than happy to comply — for a price.
A price of $132,348, to be exact.
Alexandra Rieman, general counsel for the circuit that includes Fort Lauderdale and Broward County, said the public records request would require staff to sort through 149,000 emails. That, in turn, would require 2,500 staff member hours at rates of either $45 or $53 an hour, which added up to the $132,348 figure.
And whatever records the court system did provide would cost another 15 cents a page, Rieman added, without including estimates of staffer hours and hourly rates.
The Center for Public Integrity refused to pay the amount, arguing that the fees were excessive.