Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist said Wednesday he will investigate why there is no trace of more than 100 Broward court cases in the public records. The probe follows reports in the Miami Herald that divorces and other lawsuits involving judges, elected officials, TV personalities and other high-profile individuals have been concealed in Broward Circuit Court.
”The main concern is public information being withheld from the public,” said a spokeswoman for Crist, a Republican candidate for governor. “If these cases should be open to the public, then the court needs to open them.” The Herald obtained the case numbers and party names for the hidden cases on Monday after it sued Broward Clerk of Courts Howard Forman. But the cases themselves remain under seal, with all allegations and outcomes unknown. And the clerk’s office still has no plans to publicly docket the cases. The law allows judges to ”seal” cases — or close off the information in them — under limited circumstances. However, no state law allows judges to remove cases altogether from the public docket, and a federal appeals court with authority over Florida has called the practice unconstitutional.