This week in public records – Maryland – Wisconsin – Florida

A committee of the Maryland Judiciary has reconfirmed that juror personal information is a public record, although access varies from nil to extensive, depending on the court.

Once again, it takes the determination of a media outlet to enforce or clarify a public records act. Wisconsin Circuit Judge William Foust ruled that contracts between a government agency and a union didn’t create an exception to the state’s open-records laws. The opinion also covers agency contracts with government employees, although some exceptions may apply.

The Florida Miami-Dade Chief Judge disclosed that a that a number of cases and party names have been kept secret, off the public docket, while also giving judges the authority to continue the practice. The Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice R. Fred Lewis is conducting an investigation into the practice of closing court files, which was revealed to have occurred in thousands of cases in Broward County. Earlier, I wrote about a study showing that other state courts and the federal court also have hidden dockets, secret courts or files that have been sealed with no reason given.

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