Reasons for a court case to be confidential

I called the jail my sister was transferred to today to find out when her court date was. They told me her case was confidential and they couldn’t tell me anything. She is over 18. Why would her case be confidential? I thought it was public record unless the defendant is underage.

Because jails don’t like giving out dates when a prisoner is being moved.

You should try the court house. Court proceedings are public record.

I did call the courthouse. They also told me the case was confidential.

Some courts have websites that allow the public to look up information about court cases. It could just be that the court doesn’t give out the info over the phone for any number of reasons- including to cut down on phone calls.

Any chance her case involves mental illness or mental health evaluation? or abuse of minors, such that revealing information about her case would necessarily identify a child victim? Those are the most common reasons I’ve heard of for confidentiality. (Or terrorism/national security, but in that case she’s not likely to be in county custody.)

Another possibility would be if there is a sealed indictment pending, which usually has to do with high-level federal charges such as RICO, or an larger enterprise where some of those indicted are not yet in custody (e.g., drug trafficking rings).

Or it could just be a general policy to say that everything is confidential so that junior employees Don’t have to worry about any fine distinctions.

Why not call your sister’s attorney?

What state are we talking about here? I’m baffled.

boffking, your understanding is correct, in general. Court proceedings are a matter of public record in most circumstances except those involving juveniles. As such, juvenile court proceedings are confidential as are adoptions. Most everything else, proceedings are held in open court unless a judge makes a special finding that a case must remain confidential – and that is very rare. Occasionally there are parts of proceedings that are confidential, but not the whole case. Court staff not only readily give out information about when cases are to be heard, they publish court calendars that are available for public viewing both online and at the courthouse.

I’m speaking from a load of experience in the California court system, but these rules mostly hold true from state to state. If you find out, I’d be very interested to learn the ‘why’ of the reasons for your sister’s case being characterized as ‘confidential.’ Is it a case that is likely to be highly publicized? Even that is not a basis to close proceedings from public view – only portions of the proceedings that would jeopardize a fair jury pool.

I think your best option at this point would be to visit your sister in jail and ask her when her next court date is. I wouldn’t ask her anything more, though.

She is in Florida and I don’t think she has an attorney.

Not even a court appointed one? Is she acting as her own attorney?

Maybe you can find it in the court calendar

Go to the court’s website and check for all the various calendar they have…
one may be the judge’s sitting days,
but there may be a

Here’s a page to help you find the individual court