Bar sections and procedural rules committees have expressed support for rule amendments to incorporate more remote hearings and other proceedings into court operations, but representatives for low-income and self-represented parties said that could be a disadvantage for Floridians without sufficient online access or technical knowledge.

In addition, the Florida Sheriffs Association said steps should be taken to ensure that during remote depositions, video recordings or still images are not taken of active law enforcement personnel, particularly those working undercover, and of victims and witnesses protected under the state’s Marsy’s Law constitutional amendment. And the Florida Public Defenders Association called for changes to make remote depositions in criminal cases easier and to guarantee defendants the right to personally appear in any court proceeding in their case.

The filers were reacting to proposed rule changes from the Supreme Court’s Workgroup on the Continuity of Court Operations and Proceedings During and After COVID-19. The workgroup helped the court manage changes needed to keep courts operating during the COVID-19 pandemic and now has proposed some of those changes should be kept or modified to help streamline court operations.