Riverview, Fla. – Cindy Stuart, Hillsborough County Clerk of Court and Comptroller, discussed her role ensuring that all individuals have access to the courts during WMU-Cooley’s Community Conversation, “Court Access = Access to Justice on Oct. 6.
During the conversation, Stuart shared the importance of access to courts, which is explicitly stated in the Florida Constitution, while the U.S. Constitution ensures due process and a right to redress against the government, not specifically access to courts. She also explained work being done on a new data share project with the Sherriff’s, Public Defender’s, and State’s Attorney offices.
“We share a lot of information. One human error in my office can mean that a victim is exposed and can mean a victim is put in danger, or someone gets released from prison that is not supposed to be. It can mean a person is sent to prison or a person is picked up that shouldn’t be picked up, that bad information is shared to a court case that shouldn’t be there, or that the public defender doesn’t get the proper documents that she needs to prosecute a case,” said Stuart.
Stuart also spoke about important changes her team made during her first 120 days as clerk of court and comptroller that is providing better court services.
“The chief judge and I worked out a deal that we would do jury selections four days a week, said Stuart. “Now jurors come in Monday through Thursday. The judges have set up strict schedules that they maintain to pick their juries on specific days.”
Stuart was elected Hillsborough County Clerk of Court and Comptroller in September 2020 and sworn into office on Jan. 5, 2021. Before her election as clerk, she served eight years on the Hillsborough County School Board. She served on the school board’s Legislative Committee, interacting directly with contracted firms on state and federal legislative initiatives. She was also a Florida School Boards Association board member and member of its state legislative committee.
About WMU-Cooley Law School: WMU-Cooley Law School was founded on a mission of equal access to a legal education and offers admission to a diverse group of qualified applicants across the country. Since the law school's founding in 1972, WMU-Cooley has provided a modern legal education to more than 20,000 graduates, teaching the practical skills necessary for a seamless transition from academia to the real world. WMU-Cooley enrolls classes year-round at its Michigan and Florida campuses. WMU-Cooley is an independent, non-profit law school, accredited by both the American Bar Association and the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.