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February 1, 2014
Entities scramble to get ready for criminal e-filing

Most of Florida’s clerks, state attorneys, and public defenders will be ready to do electronic filing of criminal cases by a February 3 deadline, but a handful have requested an extension from Supreme Court Chief Justice Ricky Polston.

Mandatory e-filing for criminal cases was originally set to start last October 1, but because of the complexities — many related to the need by state attorneys and public defenders to file cases in batches and for clerks to receive such multiple submissions — exceptions were granted.

Polston set a new deadline of February 3, but again indicated that extensions would be granted as long as the parties showed they were working to get electronic filing up and running. The list requiring more time is shorter than last fall, with 14 state attorneys and 14 public defenders requesting an extension, and one county clerk’s office said it needed more time to prepare to receive electronic filings.

Little has changed, though, for private practitioners who do filings in one case at a time. Only one county — Hillsborough — wasn’t ready for those last October 1 and only one or two — Hillsborough and perhaps Monroe — indicated they would need more time now.

Here’s a list of who has requested an extension and their expected compliance date:

* The 15th Circuit State Attorney’s Office requested an extension until February 17, citing minor implementation issues, including with specialty divisions and satellite offices.

* Monroe County Clerk of Court requested an extension until April 13, citing an upgrade of computer servers.

* The Sixth Circuit chief judge along with the Sixth Circuit State Attorney’s and Public Defender’s offices requested an extension because of new case electronic management systems being implemented in the Pinellas and Pasco court systems. They sought an extension until July 1, or 90 days after the new case management systems begin operation. However, submissions by private defense counsel are encouraged to help test the new system for receiving and managing electronic paperwork.

* The Hillsborough County Clerk of Court’s office, with the agreement of the court system and the 13th Circuit State Attorney and Public Defender offices is asking for an April 1 deadline for receiving criminal juvenile cases from the clerk’s office and July 1 for traffic cases.

* The Fourth Circuit State Attorney’s Office asked for an extension until April 1 to allow for testing of a recent upgrade to their batch case processing system and because of unresolved problems with test batch filings.

* The 19th Circuit State Attorney’s Office asked for an extension to April 1 because of difficulties with its new case management system.

* The 11th Circuit Clerk of Court requested an eight to 10 month phase-in beginning with felony cases on February 3. The clerk also requested continuing to keep paper file copies until the county’s Criminal Justice Information System can maintain a complete electronic case file. The 11th Circuit Public Devender’s Office and the Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel for the third region requested a delay until the CJIS is ready and until the office completes programming changes necessary to electronically handle its high volume of cases.

* The 10th Circuit State Attorney’s Office requested more time because of technical and coordination problems with clerks in Hardee, Highlands, and Polk counties.

[Revised: 04-14-2014]