Published: Nov 16, 2010 4:16 PM EST
Updated: Nov 16, 2010 1:16 PM EST

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union is urging judges to ensure that foreclosure proceedings in Florida's courts are open to the public and the media.

In letters sent Friday to Chief Justice Charles P. Canady of the Florida Supreme Court and Chief Judge Donald R. Moran of Florida's Fourth Judicial Circuit, the ACLU cites a "troubling pattern of foreclosure courts operating behind closed doors."

The ACLU says court observers who called two courts to ask about rules governing foreclosure proceedings were told they were closed to the public. Also, the ACLU says an attorney was "castigated" by a judge for attending a proceeding with a magazine reporter.

Florida Chief Justice Charles T. Canady said Monday that he is "deeply concerned" about the allegations.