First Amendment Coalition joins forces to write stiffer rule for access to court records

The First Amendment Coalition along with the California Newspaper Publishers Association and Californians Aware have submitted written comments on a draft of a Rule of Court to grant the public access to administrative court records. -DB

CNPA Legislative Bulletin
September 16, 2009

CNPA, the First Amendment Coalition and Californians Aware all lodged informal written comments last week on an initial draft of a Rule of Court that would give the public a right of access to the administrative records of the courts. The Judicial Council – the administrative arm of the courts – is required by recent legislation to adopt a new rule before January 1, 2010. The comments were reviewed yesterday at a stakeholders drafting meeting hosted by the Judicial Council in Sacramento.

The Assembly and Senate Judiciary Committees and the SEIU also filed written comments and attended the meeting. While the proposed rule adopts several concepts from the California Public Records Act and the much weaker Legislative Open Records Act, virtually all invitees at the meeting urged the Judicial Council subcommittee tasked with creating the rule to stick more closely with the CPRA and deviate only when the unique characteristics of the judicial branch require it.

The subcommittee intends to put a formal proposed rule out for public comment on September 28, with the comment period closing on October 26. Another stakeholder meeting will be scheduled for the second week of November, where final adjustments to the rule will be made. The Judicial Council will vote on the proposed rule at its December meeting.

Copyright 2009 California Newspaper Publishers Association