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How do I request a copy of my files from DCF to file an appeal? Is there a time limit for them to produce the documents?

Tampa, FL |

I requested the records and they are telling me it could take months.

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Attorney answers 2

Posted

I'm confused? Are you appealing a court order? If that is the case, you don't get to add any new records from DCF, you only get to use records that are in the court file, including exhibits introduced at trial. You prepare your record by filing a designation and instructions, and if needed a motion to transcribe along with a proposed order for any relevant hearings to be transcribed. Appeals are complex, you should not be doing one on your own. Only 15% of appeals are successful, and that is with an attorney. Pro se appeals are far less likely to be successful, and most of the ones that are are criminal appeals, because of the multiplicity of constitutional issues related to the deprivation of liberty. You should have had an attorney in your trial, if you couldn't afford one, and similarly an attorney can be appointed to handle your appeal. Also be aware that there are short time frames for filing a notice of appeal and related documents. Your trial attorney should have advised you regarding these procedures.

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Heather Morcroft

Heather Morcroft

Posted

Also, you can normally only appeal final orders, not just any order you disagree with.

Asker

Posted

This is a final order. And the case worker a falsified a lot of the records. I they are stalling b/c they know I have a timeframe

Heather Morcroft

Heather Morcroft

Posted

But you don't need those records, because you can't use them. You can only use the records that were presented in court. If you didn't get the records before and present them in trial or at a hearing, you can't submit them to the appellate court as part of any appeal. So it makes no difference how long it takes, the court won't let you file those records, of if you do, they will be stricken from the record, because they are not part of the record. You need an attorney to help you on this appeal.

Posted

You have 30 days from the date of a final order to file a notice of appeal, which is the first and very important step in taking an appeal from a lower court decision. I will assume you are seeking to appeal a decision of a Chapter 39 court because you mentioned DCF, which means the court found a child dependent on the state for services, or perhaps terminated your parental rights. Appeals are very difficult and in my opinion should not be attempted by non-lawyers. You should consult an attorney if you're interested in appealing a lower court ruling.

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