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AB-716 Court access.(2021-2022)



Current Version: 07/15/21 - Amended Senate         Compare Versions information image


AB716:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  July 15, 2021
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 25, 2021
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 16, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 716


Introduced by Assembly Member Bennett

February 16, 2021


An act to amend Section 124 of, and to repeal and add the heading of Article 1 (commencing with Section 124) of Chapter 6 of Title 1 of Part 1 of, the Code of Civil Procedure, relating to courts.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 716, as amended, Bennett. Court access.
The California Constitution vests the judicial power of the state in the Supreme Court, courts of appeal, and superior courts. Existing law requires the sittings of every court to be public, except as authorized.
This bill would require public access to every court to include remote access by a member of the public or the media, and would define “remote access” to include an audio stream on the internet or a telephone to observe court proceedings. The This bill would prohibit a court from excluding the public or the media from physical access to the court, court because remote access is available, unless it is necessary to restrict or limit physical access to protect the health or safety of court employees or the public. The bill would define the term “media” and would also make technical, nonsubstantive changes. the public or court personnel. The bill would require the court to provide, at a minimum, a public audio stream or telephonic means by which to listen to the proceedings when the courthouse is physically closed, except when the law authorizes or requires the proceedings to be closed. The bill would make transcripts produced from remote access recordings inadmissible for purposes of any court proceeding, including appeals, except as required by the Truth-in-Evidence provisions of the California Constitution.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The heading of Article 1 (commencing with Section 124) of Chapter 6 of Title 1 of Part 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure is repealed.

SEC. 2.

 The heading of Article 1 (commencing with Section 124) is added to Chapter 6 of Title 1 of Part 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure, to read:
Article  1. Open Court Access

SEC. 3.

 Section 124 of the Code of Civil Procedure is amended to read:

124.
 (a) Except as provided in Section 214 of the Family Code or any other law, the sittings of every court shall be public.

(b)(1)The term “public” shall include remote access by a member of the public or the media.

(2)

(b) (1) The court shall not exclude the public or the media from physical access because remote access is available, unless it is necessary to restrict or limit physical access to protect the health or safety of court employees or the public. the public or court personnel.

(3)“Media” means any person or organization engaging in news gathering or reporting and includes any newspaper, radio or television station or network, news service, magazine, trade paper, in-house publication, professional journal, or other news-reporting or news-gathering agency.

(4)“Remote access” includes an audio stream on the internet or a telephone to hear court proceedings.

(2) When a courthouse is physically closed, to the extent permitted by law, the court shall provide, at a minimum, a public audio stream or telephonic means by which to listen to the proceedings. This paragraph does not apply to proceedings pursuant to Section 214 of the Family Code or other law that authorizes or requires a proceeding to be closed.
(c) (1) Transcripts produced from remote access recordings shall not be deemed to be official verbatim records and are inadmissible for purposes of any court proceeding, including appeals.
(2) Consistent with paragraph (2) of subdivision (f) of Section 28 of Article I of the California Constitution, this subdivision does not exclude relevant evidence that would otherwise be admissible in a criminal proceeding.
(3) This section does not authorize the creation of an official court record by anyone other than a certified shorthand reporter present in person in the courtroom for the purpose of creating the official record.