Calif. Bill Would Impose Fees to View Court Files

Journalists would not be exempt


A bill written by California's Administrative Office of the Courts would impose a $10 fee on every court file requested by a journalist, a fee that would inevitably limit access to public documents.

"It would be intolerable for a journalist and for press coverage in general," said Terry Francke of the open government group Californians Aware. "The rate that you're talking about is absolutely prohibitive."

Judges and court clerks conceded that the fee would apply to nearly everyone who wants to look at a court file, including journalists who regularly review a large number of files in covering a courthouse.