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  1. #1
    GoldySJSU is offline Member
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    Smile California Court Transcripts ARE NOT Public Records?

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? CA

    I just received an ordered copy of a transcript of a case I argued in the Santa Clara County Appellate Court. The reporter is stating because of a Cal Government Code 69954 that states:

    69954. (a) Transcripts prepared by a reporter using computer assistance and delivered on a medium other than paper shall be compensated at the same rate set for paper transcripts, except the reporter may also charge an additional fee not to exceed the cost of the medium or any copies thereof.
    (b) The fee for a second copy of a transcript on appeal in computer-readable format ordered by or on behalf of a requesting party within 120 days of the filing or delivery of the original transcript shall be compensated at one-third the rate set forth for a second copy of a transcript as provided in Section 69950. A reporter may also charge an additional fee not to exceed the cost of the medium or any copies thereof.
    (c) The fee for a computer-readable transcript shall be paid by the requesting court, party, or person, unless the computer-readable transcript is requested by a party in lieu of a paper transcript required to be delivered to that party by the rules of court. In that event, the fee shall be chargeable as statute or rule provides for the paper transcript.
    (d) Any court, party, or person who has purchased a transcript may, without paying a further fee to the reporter, reproduce a copy or portion thereof as an exhibit pursuant to court order or rule, or for internal use, but shall not otherwise provide or sell a copy or copies to any other party or person.

    But from what I understand the court records are public property and cannot be owned by any private individual or group. I have it stated in the following cases:

    NBC Subsidiary (KNBC-TV), Inc. v. Superior Court (Locke) (1999) 20 Cal.4th 1178 , 86 Cal.Rptr.2d 778; 980 P.2d 337[No. S056924. Jul 27, 1999.]

    NBC SUBSIDIARY (KNBC-TV), INC., et al., Petitioners, v. THE SUPERIOR COURT OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY, Respondent; SONDRA LOCKE et al., Real Parties in Interest.

    (Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. BC129098, David M. Schacter, Judge.)

    (Opinion by George, C. J., expressing the unanimous view of the court.)

    As we shall explain, the United States Supreme Court and numerous unanimous lower courts have held that the First Amendment of the federal Constitution generally precludes closure of substantive courtroom proceedings in criminal cases unless a trial court provides notice to the public on the question of closure and after a hearing finds that (i) there exists an overriding interest supporting closure; (ii) there is a substantial probability that the interest will be prejudiced absent closure; (iii) the proposed closure is narrowly tailored to serve that overriding interest; and (iv) there is no less restrictive means of achieving that overriding interest. Under established principles of statutory interpretation, we must construe California's long-standing "open court" statute (Code of Civil Procedure section 124, hereafter section 124) consistently with these constitutional requirements, and applying section 124, as so construed, to ordinary civil proceedings, we conclude [20 Cal.4th 1182] that the trial court in this case failed to comply with these requirements. Accordingly, the trial court's closure order improperly denied the public and the press access to these proceedings, in violation of section 124. Although we recognize that the trial court reasonably was concerned with the risk that the jury in this highly publicized matter might learn of inadmissible evidence or information if the proceedings outside the presence of the jury were held in open court, recent decisions make clear that, as a general matter, frequent and specific cautionary admonitions to the jury and clear and direct instructions, rather than closure of the courtroom to the public, constitute the accepted, presumptively adequate, and typically less restrictive means of dealing with this potential problem.

    Cal Civil Procedure section 124:

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

    And In this case, the court reaffirmed the fact that a transcript is public record and cannot be concealed without a court order:

    Copley Press, Inc. v. Superior Court (M.P.R.) (1998) 63 Cal.App.4th 367 , 74 Cal.Rptr.2d 69[No. D029986. Fourth Dist., Div. One. Apr 20, 1998.]

    COPLEY PRESS, INC., Petitioner, v. THE SUPERIOR COURT OF SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Respondent; M.P.R., a Minor, etc., et al., Real Parties in Interest.

    Discussion

    Overview

    [1] Public policy requires public records and documents to be available for public inspection to prevent secrecy in public affairs. (Craemer v. Superior Court (1968) 265 Cal.App.2d 216, 222 [71 Cal.Rptr. 193].) "[W]here there is no contrary statute or countervailing public policy, the right to inspect public records must be freely allowed." (Ibid.)

    "[I]t is a first principle that the people have the right to know what is done in their courts." (In re Shortridge (1893) 99 Cal. 526, 530 [34 P. 227].) The public has a legitimate interest in access to court documents because "[i]f public court business is conducted in private, it becomes impossible to expose corruption, incompetence, inefficiency, prejudice, and favoritism." (Estate of Hearst (1977) 67 Cal.App.3d 777, 784 [136 Cal.Rptr. 821].)

    Although there is no specific statutory requirement for access to court documents, both the federal (U.S. Const., 1st Amend.) and the state (Cal. Const., art. I, 2, subd. (a)) Constitutions provide broad access rights to judicial records in criminal and civil cases. (Copley Press, Inc. v. Superior Court (1992) 6 Cal.App.4th 106, 111 [7 Cal.Rptr.2d 841].) "A trial is a public event. What transpires in the court room is public property. . . . There is no special perquisite of the judiciary which enables it, as distinguished from other institutions of democratic government, to suppress, edit, or censor events which transpire [in] proceedings before it." (Craig v. Harney (1947) 331 U.S. 367, 374 [67 S.Ct. 1249, 1254, 91 L.Ed. 1546].)

    Court records are available to the public in general, including news reporters, unless a specific exception makes specific records nonpublic. (Estate of Hearst, supra, 67 Cal.App.3d 777, 782.) Statutory exemptions to disclosure of court records exist, fn. 9 as do judicially created exceptions, generally temporary in nature. (Id. at p. 783.)

    [2] "The court . . . [possesses] limited power, exercisable under exceptional circumstances and on a showing of good cause, to restrict public access to portions of court records on a temporary basis." (Estate of Hearst, supra, 67 Cal.App.3d 777, 784-785.) Policy reasons to restrict access are "anything which tends to undermine that sense of security for individual rights, whether of personal liberty or private property, which any citizen ought to feel has a tendency to be injurious to the public or the public good." (Craemer v. Superior Court, supra, 265 Cal.App.2d 216, 222.) [63 Cal.App.4th 374]

    I am confused please explain to me how a private person can claim ownership of an open court report that is public record?


    And most importantly, that the transcript being public record is prohibited from being posted or copied to any interested party as long as there is no commercial transaction occurs in the delivery of the transcript?
  2. #2
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Remember to check the posting history folks
  3. #3
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldySJSU View Post

    I am confused please explain to me how a private person can claim ownership of an open court report that is public record?


    And most importantly, that the transcript being public record is prohibited from being posted or copied to any interested party as long as there is no commercial transaction occurs in the delivery of the transcript?
    the record itself is public record but the scrivener is due his pay. The problem is it seems the only way to get the transcripts is to have the scrivener transcribe them.

    kind of a catch 22.
  4. #4
    CdwJava is online now Senior Member
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    The court record is that part of the record the court makes - the transcript is a record that is produced by the court reporter and not directly a court record. If, for whatever reason, a transcript was made a part of the official court record, you might be able to review a copy. If there is an audio recording available, you should be able to obtain a copy for a minimal fee. If you want a typed copy in computer or written/printed form, you will likely have to shell out some money.

    The transcript is provided by a contracted party is not necessarily a part of the court record. This is how the transcriptionists (the court reporters) make their money, by providing transcripts to interested parties.

    Court reporters produce transcripts as independent contractors with fees paid as provided by statute. As independent contractors, court reporters currently bear all direct and overhead costs associated with producing and delivering transcripts, including investments in necessary technology. The law allows the verbatim transcript to be the property of the recorder and not the state. An analysis was done in June 2009 on whether it would be cheaper to make these the property of the state, but the thought was that it would increase court costs and not decrease them.

    So, Goldy, you can always go BACK to court and try to make a case that you should get a free copy of the transcription, but you will be fighting a battle against already well settled law. But, it is your call.

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

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  5. #5
    GoldySJSU is offline Member
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    Smile CdwJava, what happens if I already paid for it and received it?

    Enough said, I have the transcripts, but I want to not break any rules regarding posting information from it on the internet. Believe it or not, I really want to always follow the rules. Thus I will not until I can either convince the reporter to give me permission to do so or I might have to go to court to have a court order them public.

    The U.S. Supreme Court made the following decision:

    U.S. Supreme Court
    Nixon v. Warner Communications, Inc., 435 U.S. 589 (1978)
    Nixon v. Warner Communications, Inc.

    No. 76-944

    Argued November 8, 1977

    Decided April 18, 1978

    435 U.S. 589


    CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS

    FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT

    Syllabus

    During the criminal trial of several of petitioner ex-President's former advisers on charges, inter alia, of conspiring to obstruct justice in connection with the so-called Watergate investigation, some 22 hours of tape recordings made of conversations in petitioner's offices in the White House and Executive Office Building were played to the jury and the public in the courtroom, and the reels of the tapes were admitted into evidence. The District Court furnished the jurors, reporters, and members of the public in attendance with transcripts, which were not admitted as evidence but were widely reprinted in the press. At the close of the trial, in which four of the defendants were convicted, and after an earlier unsuccessful attempt over petitioner's objections to obtain court permission to copy, broadcast, and sell to the public portions of the tapes, respondent broadcasters petitioned for immediate access to the tapes. The District Court denied the petitions on the grounds that, since the convicted defendants had filed notices of appeal, their rights would be prejudiced if respondents' petitions were granted, and that, since the transcripts had apprised the public of the tapes' contents, the public's "right to know" did not overcome the need to safeguard the defendants' rights on appeal. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the mere possibility of prejudice to defendants' rights did not outweigh the public's right of access, that the common law right of access to judicial records required the District Court to release the tapes in its custody, and that therefore the District Court abused its discretion in refusing immediate access.

    Held:

    1. Considering all the circumstances, the common law right of access to judicial records does not authorize release of the tapes in question from the District Court's custody. Pp. 435 U. S. 597-608.

    (a) The common law right to inspect and copy judicial records is not absolute, but the decision whether to permit access is best left to the sound discretion of the trial court, a discretion to be exercised in light of the relevant facts and circumstances of the particular case. Pp. 435 U. S. 597-599.


    The California legislature overstepped it's authority in taking over the control of court records from the Judiciary based on this case decision. The transcripts of a court must remain as court property and the legislation that was passed is invalid because of the U.S. Supreme Court decison. This situation is kinda crazy, that the legislature would invade the soverignity of the judiciary in this way.

    I am very surprised that the legislature would have made such a terrible misjudgement. Especially when this case was a very public one and the decision provided a clear message that the courts have control of court records and not the legilsature.

    But again, the legislature has so many contridictory acts in the California Codes that it is ridiculous. This is going to be a clear breach of U.S. Supreme Court rules regarding court records.
    Last edited by GoldySJSU; 09-05-2009 at 03:28 AM.
  6. #6
    tranquility is offline Senior Member
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    This is going to be a clear breach of U.S. Supreme Court rules regarding court records.
    Good luck to you.

    Everyone needs a hobby.
  7. #7
    Stevef is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldySJSU View Post
    Believe it or not, I really want to always follow the rules.
    So long as the rules suit you.
  8. #8
    GoldySJSU is offline Member
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    Cool Stevef, reply

    What rules have I broken, so far I don't have any convictions on my record regarding California, heehee
  9. #9
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    Well, I would suggest you might want to consider your time posting here and the results of your many postings and how the rules applied to those postings were the cause for the removal of those postings. heehee.
  10. #10
    GoldySJSU is offline Member
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    Cool justalayman, that was someone abusing their privileges.

    Until someone posts the exact rule I broke, then I did not break any,


    heeheehoohoo
  11. #11
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    oh, so it's the "nobody caught me so I'm not guilty" argument.

    You agree that all material you post becomes the property of FreeAdvice, and FreeAdvice has the right to remove, edit, move or close any posting or thread at any time for any reason, at its discretion.
    to start with, you argued about your posts being removed which you had agreed to when you registered.


    then there is:

    You agree that you will NOT use the FreeAdvice Forum to post any knowingly false, defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, or threatening message and/or user name, or to post any advertisement, chain letter, solicitation or other commercial message, or to post material that is illegally invasive of another person's privacy.
    You were told multiple times you were wrong concerning the appeals court v. the California court of appeals yet you refused to acknowledge the fact and continued to post the same erroneous information. Then, there were posts that would most definitely be considered abusive. Obviously they have been deleted so I cannot cite them. You surely are guilty of harassing the forum as a whole as well. Hateful; probably.

    so, you were saying?
    Last edited by justalayman; 09-05-2009 at 07:25 PM.
  12. #12
    GoldySJSU is offline Member
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    Justalayman

    Then, there were posts that would most definitely be considered abusive. Obviously they have been deleted so I cannot cite them. You surely are guilty of harassing the forum as a whole as well. Hateful; probably.


    Please cite them otherwise, they didn't exist
    Last edited by m martin; 09-07-2009 at 08:25 PM.
  13. #13
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldySJSU View Post


    Please cite them otherwise, they didn't exist
    Oh, they exist alright. I just don't have access to them. The administrators retain them but delete them from the forum.

    I will bet they are keeping a running tab on the violations.
  14. #14
    GoldySJSU is offline Member
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    Cool Justalyman, any act of an officer or commissioner the public forum is not private

    Terms of Agreement:

    You agree that you will NOT use the FreeAdvice Forum to post any knowingly false, defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, or threatening message and/or user name, or to post any advertisement, chain letter, solicitation or other commercial message, or to post material that is illegally invasive of another person's privacy.


    Ok lets address things one at a time:

    I did not knowingly post false information, I am somewhat not informed of all aspects of legal procedure in California.

    I have not posted any defamatory information, I have not stated anything that is untrue regarding specific actions by those I have discussed, thus the defame principle does not apply because:

    DEFAMATION - An act of communication that causes someone to be shamed, ridiculed, held in contempt, lowered in the estimation of the community, or to lose employment status or earnings or otherwise suffer a damaged reputation. Such defamation is couched in 'defamatory language'. Libel and slander are defamation.

    Although defamation is primarily governed by state law, the First Amendment safeguards for freedom of speech and press limit state law. New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 264 (1964); Masson, 501 U.S. at 510. The scope of constitutional protection extends to statements of opinion on matters of public concern that do not contain or imply a provable factual assertion. Milkovich, 497 U.S. at 20 (rejecting categorical exemption of all statements in form of opinion; statement that may imply verifiable assertion of fact is actionable).

    To determine whether a statement implies a factual assertion, courts examine the totality of the circumstances in which it was made. First, they look at the statement in its broad context, which includes the general tenor of the entire work, the subject of the statements, the setting, and the format of the work. Next they turn to the specific context and content of the statements, analyzing the extent of figurative or hyperbolic language used and the reasonable expectations of the audience in that particular situation. Finally, they inquire whether the statement itself is sufficiently factual to be susceptible of being proved true or false. See Partington v. Bugliosi, 56 F.3d 1147, 1153 (9th Cir.'94) (applying three-factor test as the starting point for analysis); Unelko Corp. v. Rooney, 912 F.2d 1049, 1053 (9th Cir.'90), cert. denied, 499 U.S. 961 (1991).

    I have readily conceded any time when I have learned that I was inaccurate in a posting. I have explained in clear language how I came to such inaccuracy and made it a public statement.

    My posts cannot be determined as abusive, I can clearly state that I have not been abusive. I have plenty of records showing that others have been, but if you look at the manner I address the information, my content cannot be determined as abusive.

    I can clearly state I have never been vulgar, but others treatment to me can be defined as such.

    I will not concede to being hateful, because I only post information that at least to the best of my ability is accurate and objective. I will concede angry but not hateful because I discuss wrong actions, I do not make statements that are about a person as a whole.

    I have never harrassed anyone in the forum, I have addressed harrassing comments made to me by others in the forum.

    I have never posted anything obscene, profane, or sexually oriented, period.

    I have never threatened any user or made a threatening statement that would comprise a direct intent to harm anyone in any way. I have posted what has been defined by authorities information involving acts done by those with power to do harm to me however.

    I have not posted any advertisements, chain letters, solicitations or other commercial messages.

    I have not posted material that is illegally invasive of another person's privacy. An officers actions regarding writing a citation and testimony, a commissioners action regarding a public hearing, any arguments submitted by attorneys in the course of a court case, the transcripts of a court case, and the case decisions are not private information. These are public documents and testimonies that are not protected by either a gag order of a court seal. Thus, this provision has not been broken.

    OK, prove to me otherwise
    Last edited by m martin; 09-07-2009 at 08:26 PM.
  15. #15
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    it is not I nor you that it must be proven to. The admin can act without a trial and their interpretation is what counts.


    I did not knowingly post false information, I am somewhat not informed of all aspects of legal procedure in California.
    You were informed of what was incorrect. Once you repeated that, you then posted knowingly false information. If you failed to seek additional support for being told you were wrong and want to claim whomever told you was not dependable; sorry, doesn't work. Once you were informed, it was your duty to confirm or refute the statement, especially since we know the person that told you you were wrong is dependable and accurate.

    I have readily conceded any time when I have learned that I was inaccurate in a posting. I have explained in clear language how I came to such inaccuracy and made it a public statement.
    Here is another post of knowingly false information. You continued to not only post in any thread you had open but you continued to originate new threads to continue your incorrect arguments, well after you were informed you were incorrect.

    My posts cannot be determined as abusive, I can clearly state that I have not been abusive
    That is your opinion but since ruling something abusive is a subjective point of view, I can assure you that others disagree with your position.

    I have never harrassed anyone in the forum,
    again, a subjective perspective and I can assure you, with no reservations, that some see your posts as harassing, if for no other reason than you continue to post.

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