Ten Dollar Public Court Record Search Fee Defeated in California Legislature

A proposal put forward by the a trailer bill written by the California Administrative Office of the Courts from a trailer bill that would have resulted in a $10 charge per file to look at court records has been defeated in the California Legislature, according to a report on the Courthouse News Service website. The story about the defeated fee proposal, which would have significantly limited press and public access to court documents, is available at http://www.courthousenews.com/2013/06/12/58458.htm.

Courthouse News Service reports the defeated proposal received “widespread editorial condemnation” from newspapers in the state and the California Newspaper Publishers Association lobbied against the proposal, saying the $10 fee would be “devastating” to newspapers that review court records for stories. While “court administrators pushed the fee as a way to raise revenue, freedom of information advocates said the proposal would in practice wall off the public record,” Courthouse News Service reports.

As reported previously on ESR News in March 2013, the proposed $10 fee on nearly every court record requested by members of the general public would have also negatively impacted court researchers who review a large amount of court files for background check firms as well as licensed professional investigators. The original court file fee language of the ‘trailer bill’ – described by Courthouse News Service as “legislation that rides in the wake of the overall budget bill” – is available at http://www.courthousenews.com/2013/03/13/DOF%20Appvd%20Efficiencies.pdf.

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