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In re Amendments to Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.420.

Supreme Court of Florida

November 7, 2019

IN RE: AMENDMENTS TO FLORIDA RULE OF JUDICIAL ADMINISTRATION 2.420.

          Original Proceeding - Florida Rules of Judicial Administration

          Joseph W. Rogan, Jacksonville, Florida; Carey Haughwout, Public Defender, and Paul Edward Petillo, Assistant Public Defender, Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, West Palm Beach, Florida; Honorable Josephine Gagliardi, Chair, Rules of Judicial Administration Committee, Fort Myers, Florida; and Joshua E. Doyle, Executive Director, and Krys Godwin, Staff Liaison, The Florida Bar, Tallahassee, Florida, Responding with comments

          PER CURIAM.

         Previously, in this case, the Court, on its own motion, [1] amended Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.420(d) (Procedures for Determining Confidentiality of Court Records) to add two new categories of information in court records that the clerk of court must designate and maintain as confidential under subdivision (d)(1)(B) of the rule. See In re Amends. to Fla. Rule of Jud. Admin. 2.420, No. SC19-1049 (Fla. June 27, 2019). The Court has jurisdiction[2]and further amends subdivision (viii) of rule 2.420(d)(1)(B).

          In response to newly enacted section 394.464(1), Florida Statutes, [3] which makes certain Baker Act records confidential, the Court amended subdivision (viii) of rule 2.420(d)(1)(B) to add "all petitions, court orders, and related records under the Baker Act" as a category of court records that the clerk must designate and maintain as confidential under the rule. See In re Amends., slip op. at 1, 4. In response to amendments to section 119.0714(1)(k), Florida Statutes (2018), the Court added new subdivision (xxiii) to the rule to list "[i]nformation that can be used to identify a petitioner or respondent in a petition for an injunction against domestic violence, repeat violence, dating violence, sexual violence, stalking, or cyberstalking, and any affidavits, notice of hearing, and temporary injunction until the respondent has been personally served with a copy of the petition for injunction, affidavits, notice of hearing, and temporary injunction." See In re Amends., slip op. at 2, 4.[4] Because the Court did not publish the amendments before adopting them, interested persons were given seventy-five days from the date of the opinion to comment on the amendments. See id.at 2.

          The Court received three comments. One of the comments filed suggests an amendment to rule 2.420(d)(1)(B) that is beyond the scope of the amendments at issue here. The Florida Public Defenders Association filed a comment supporting the amendment to subdivision (viii) of the rule. The Rules of Judicial Administration Committee (RJA Committee) filed a comment supporting the rule amendments, providing majority and minority positions on the two amendments, with a majority of the committee suggesting an amendment to new subdivision (xxiii) of rule 2.420(d)(1)(B) and a minority of the committee suggesting an amendment to subdivision (viii) of the rule. After considering the majority and minority views of the RJA Committee, we amend subdivision (viii) of the rule consistent with subsection (3) of section 394.464, Florida Statutes, as suggested by the minority, to add "all personal identifying information of a person subject to the [Baker] Act."

         However, we decline to amend new subdivision (xxiii) to include "[r]ecords that contain" the confidential identifying information listed in that subdivision of the rule. This Court cannot adopt a rule that makes an entire record in a court file confidential simply because that record contains identifying information that is confidential under section 119.0714(1)(k)(3).[5]

          Accordingly, the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration are amended as reflected in the appendix to this opinion. New language is indicated by underscoring. The amendment shall become effective immediately upon the release of this opinion.

         It is so ordered.

          CANADY, C.J., and POLSTON, LABARGA, LAWSON, LAGOA, LUCK, and MUÑIZ, JJ., concur.

         THE FILING OF A MOTION FOR REHEARING SHALL NOT ALTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THESE AMENDMENTS.

         APPENDIX

         RULE 2.420. PUBLIC ACCESS TO AND PROTECTION OF JUDICIAL BRANCH RECORDS

         (a) - ...


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