Often, it is shown in television shows how fast the justice system could be. Legal dramas seem to have shown to those that are watching them that court hearings and trials are fast processes that take days instead of weeks or even months. The truth of the matter is that the justice system is actually relatively slow. The legal dramas shown in television do not often show the appellate process where cases could be elevated for the review of a higher judicial authority not only on errors of law, but also on errors of fact. The fact that those justices who would ultimately decide the question were not even there when the case was tried was one of the reasons why a type of document known as court records became part of the Highlands County Public Records.
Court records are live documents in the sense that they grow as the years, and the case, progress. Until the moment that the case was decided with finality, and only the Supreme Court could do that, the case could be prosecuted, defended, and appealed until the parties’ tire of it. For this reason, court records begin their life as nothing more but a document of, more often than not, less than a dozen pages containing the names of the parties, the type of case, the claims of the plaintiff or the complainant, and a basic summary of facts. By the time that cases are finally disposed of, they would contain a summary of every event that happened during the pendency of the case, the minutes of the trials, written motions and submissions of the parties, the testimony of witnesses, and the reason that the case was disposed of the way that it was, among other things.
The importance of court documents are shown by the fact that a statute had ensured that they would always be available to the public. Under Florida law, the official custodian of court records, which the same law identifies as the clerk of courts, has the responsibility of not only securing the records but also of allowing them to be seen by the public. It is for this reason that court records could not be withheld from the public regardless of the circumstance.
In order to view court records, one must first go to the office of the clerk of courts located at Sebring. There, a clerk would be able to show the searcher the actual archives where the records are kept, but it is suggested, for efficiency, that if the person had a specific record that he or she wishes to view, then the specifics of the same should be given to the clerk so that they could do the actual search in a more efficient manner.
Once the records are located, they would usually be appended to a records book. The official records could not be taken out from the archives, but a copy could be made once the required copying fee, which is usually one dollar per page, had been paid. The same document could then be certified for two dollars per document.
The more efficient option would be to search for the court records online. The World Wide Web plays host to a number of unofficial databases, the exact number of which could no longer be determined. These databases are unofficial in the sense that they usually do not have connections with the government, but despite that, the information contained within their digital archives are the same as the ones in the government websites. As this is an internet search, the results are always near instant, and only dependent upon the connection speed. In addition, most of these websites are free to use.
Highlands County Court Records Public Access
In order to view court records online using the database of the Highlands County Clerk of Courts, follow the following instructions
- Visit the search page
of the Office.
- Input the required information. Note that not all blanks are required to be filled.
- Click Search at the bottom of the page. At the results page, locate the record that you wish to view.
- Once located, click on the box before the title of the record, then click ‘View’ at the bottom of the page.
- The specifics of the record should now be available.
Florida Public Records
Comprehensive Public Court Records of Florida Counties