New procedures regarding public access to files in Monroe County will slow the way the public obtains some information about criminal cases.
Starting Monday, the public must request a file at least 24 hours in advance before viewing it.
The change arises from two recent pieces of legislation: one which expunges some criminal records after five years and another which restricts access to records of court cases where defendants were charged with a crime but never convicted or had their convictions vacated.
Monroe County Clerk Linda Robbins says her office will now limit public access in an effort to comply with the new privacy regulations.
“The problem with this is we will have a file with just the confidential sticker on it. But that indicates that there was a file,” says Robbins, “and the public can’t know that there was ever a file.”
Robbins says the changes will cost her department around $250,000 – mostly for digitizing of all the records and hiring a full-time employee to process record requests.