Court-appointed attorneys in Pinellas and Pasco counties are complaining they’re blocked from seeing key documents in the very cases they’re supposed to be defending.
The Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel for the 2nd District filed a petition last week asking for online access to documents.
The office was created by lawmakers to represent clients when public defenders have a conflict of interest, and in certain civil cases, like dependency proceedings.
But the filing says “Counsel is blocked from accessing documents such as reports written and filed by the Guardian Ad Litem Program, and some medical or mental health records of our clients.”
The petition says being to read such documents “is necessary in order to see what has been filed in the court file, find contact information for our clients or other parties, know the history of the case, quickly obtain clearer copies of some documents, check for conflicts, and investigate and prepare for hearings when time is of the essence.”
The office seeks a court order granting its attorneys the ability to see documents they need to prepare cases, including “medical and mental health records.”