Saturday, December 19, 2009

Parting the judicial robes: CA Courts to permit record-access, cameras in courtroom

The courts in California are often criticized for being out of step with the rest of the country. A willingness among judges to deviate from national orthodoxy is not necessarily a bad thing, however.

Just this week the administrative arm of the California Supreme Court adopted a rule providing public access to administrative records of all state courts, making California the first state to adopt a legally enforceable "freedom of information" mandate for its judiciary.

Although records filed in adjudicated legal proceedings (civil suits and criminal prosecutions) have long been open to the public, the public has had no comparable right of access to the judiciary's administrative records-that is, the types of records that courts, in their administrative capacity, possess in common with, say, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Franchise Tax Board, or any other government agency. Until now.

Under the new access rule, which takes effect January 1, you will be able to request records showing the exact compensation of court employees or reimbursements for judges' professional expenses. You will be able to obtain a copy of vendor agreements entered into by the courts, or examine detailed financial statements and budget information. Still off limits, of course, are records of the courts' internal deliberations in adjudicated cases.

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Location Oakland, Ca - Private Investigator