News Flash

Home

Posted on: September 28, 2021

Polk Clerk Appointed to Supreme Court Group That Brings Focus to Self-Represented Litigants

Clerk Stacy Butterfield standing in front of 10 story courthouse

Polk County Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller Stacy M. Butterfield, CPA, has been appointed by Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady to serve on the newly formed Workgroup on Access to Justice. 

As described in a release from the Supreme Court, the Workgroup will pursue projects that “will focus on improvements that can be made within the State Courts System to assist self-represented litigants and support the judicial branch in ensuring effective access to justice for all.”

“From the onset, one of my main guiding principles has been to utilize technology to enhance public access and convenience for all customers,” Clerk Butterfield said. “I welcome this opportunity to improve service and communication for self-represented litigants. The COVID-19 pandemic drastically increased the utilization of virtual proceedings and remote services. The continuation of this trend will provide our customers with many benefits. I am honored to be appointed to this opportunity and look forward to the work and results that we will produce.”

In Administrative Order No. AOSC21-48, Chief Justice Canady directs the Workgroup to develop educational materials that will assist self-represented litigants in participating in court proceedings that are conducted using remote technology. The order also directs the new Workgroup to address electronic filing by self-represented litigants. Currently, those who represent themselves may file electronically but are not required to do so. The order notes there are benefits to electronic filing, particularly for self-represented litigants, including access to Do-It-Yourself Florida interviews, an initiative begun by the Judicial Management Council and going forward in collaboration with the E-Filing Portal.

Justice Jorge Labarga will serve as chair of the new Workgroup, continuing the role he held for the former Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice with the new nine-member Workgroup comprising four judges and five members representing the legal community and justice partners.

Additional members include: 

  • Mr. Gregory W. Coleman, attorney, West Palm Beach
  • Mr. Thomas S. Edwards, Jr., attorney, Jacksonville
  • The Honorable Jonathan D. Gerber, Judge, Fourth District Court of Appeal
  • The Honorable Nina Ashenafi Richardson, County Court Judge, Leon County
  • The Honorable Linda L. Nobles, Circuit Judge, First Judicial Circuit
  • Ms. Leslie Powell-Boudreaux, Executive Director, Legal Services of North Florida, and;
  • Mr. John A. Tomasino, Clerk of Court, Florida Supreme Court

Clerk Butterfield was also appointed to and currently serves on the Supreme Court’s Workgroup on the Continuity of Court Operations and Proceedings During and After COVID-19. The workgroup was established by Chief Justice Canady to determine ways for courts to safely operate as fully as possible during each stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I actively involve myself at all levels of government to help create more cohesive service for customers,” Clerk Butterfield said. “There are logistical differences between the various agencies involved in the justice system and each provides different services. However, it’s not necessarily obvious or intuitive to customers. The way that Chief Justice Canady brings together all aspects of the judicial system to create comprehensive solutions is a tremendous service to customers, and I look forward to future accomplishments.” 

The full press release and details about the Workgroup on Access to Justice are available in the Court News section of www.flcourts.org.