Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bruce Bartlett rolled out email addresses for the roughly 170 assistant prosecutors working in his office.
Defense attorneys, law enforcement and members of the public can reach assistant state attorneys using their first name, last name and the domain FLSA6.gov, according to an April 30 memo Bartlett sent to defense attorneys and police. The memo gave the example JohnDoe@FLSA6.gov.
The addition of email addresses is one of the first major changes Bartlett has made since he took over the office in January following the death of his predecessor and former boss, Bernie McCabe.
Previously, defense attorneys and other legal system players could only reach assistant prosecutors via phone or mail. McCabe, who oversaw the office from his first election in 1992 until his death Jan. 1, resisted email, concerned that his assistants would say something inappropriate for the workplace. All emails sent to and from government email addresses are public record in Florida.
That was not only inconvenient, critics said, but it slowed the administration of justice. One defense attorney recently told the Tampa Bay Times she was so frustrated by the policy that she stopped taking cases in Pinellas and Pasco counties.
The State Attorney’s Office handles more than 132,000 criminal prosecutions per year. Assistant state attorneys handle the day-to-day details of cases, such as attending court hearings, recording depositions and litigating trials.