Court response time to CPRA
Q: What should be the typical response time on the day a request is received for a criminal complaint? The California Public Records Act says 10 days but upon written notice an additional 14 days if the request is voluminous ?6253(c) Does this time limit apply for requests sent by mail?I have typically received responses within 3 weeks of sending my requests using FedEx Air or USPS Express mail. But when I called the Courthouse I was told that requests normally take 4-6 weeks to be processed.
A: The California Public Records Act (CPRA) does not apply to the courts (see Government Code § 6252(a)). Therefore, when a court responds to your request for a copy of a criminal complaint, it is not required to comply with the deadlines imposed by the CPRA.The First Amendment to the United States Constitution and California Law do, however, give the public a right to obtain access to records of criminal court proceedings. See NBC Subsidiary (KNBC-TV), Inc. v. Superior Court, 20 Cal. 4th 1178 (1999); Associated Press v. United States Dist. Court, 705 F.2d 1143 (1983).
The California Rules of Court now provide that court records are presumptively open to the public. Cal. Rule of Court 243.1(c). In general, the First Amendment right of access imposes a requirement that records be made available promptly. See Elrod v. Burns, 427 U.S. 347, 373 (1976) (“Loss of First Amendment Freedoms, even for minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitute irreparable injury.”); Associated Press, 705 F. 2d at 1147 (“total restraint on the public’s first amendment right of access even [if] the restraint is limited in time”). However, there are no explicit deadlines for providing copies of court records.