Sealed docs in an otherwise public file - where housed? : LUSENET : Court Ops Exchange : One Thread

Historically, we have housed sealed documents in the public file, pulling them when/if the public would like to review a file. The sealed documents are housed in large sealed envelopes, and are easy to identify.

Our district is mid-sized, 4 district judges, 2 senior judges, 4 magistrate judges. We have one main office and three smaller divisional offices. Chambers pull their own files from the shelf and want the original file when they are working on a case/have a hearing.

Are your sealed documents housed within an otherwise public file, or are they separated in some way? How? And why?

-- Kelly Van Dyke (, September 28, 1999


Our sealed documents are never housed in the court file. They are kept in the large sealed envelopes, but are maintained in our court vault. We have lateral file cabinets for civil and criminal cases, and documents are filed by year and case number. There is a sealed doc docket entry made so that anyone viewing the docket sheet will see that a sealed document has been filed. Court staff/chambers can access sealed files and documents from the vault.

Our district is very large with five divisional offices. In the Orlando Division we have 3 district judges, 1 senior judge, and 3 magistrate judges.

-- Laura Barsamian (, September 28, 1999.

We operate somewhat like Laura Barsamian's court in that we keep sealed documents in envelopes and store them in secure areas. Our criminal documents are kept in our walk in vault, and our civil documents are kept in a seperate locket room. We use the same sealed doc docket entry, and the only ones permitted to remove a sealed document other than a docket clerk, are the juges' staffs, and they have to sign them out. They reason for not housing them in the court file is that there is always a chance that one can slip by the file clerk and be given to the public. This could be very dangerous, especially in criminal cases.

-- James A. Drach (James, September 28, 1999.

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