Proposal would charge $10 to search court records

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California budget

California budget (AP Photo)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California courts could charge $10 for each public record search under a proposal included in Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget.

The governor included the search fee as one of the ways the courts can raise money to offset budget cuts. The judicial budget has been reduced by more than $1 billion over the past five fiscal years, resulting in fewer courtrooms and an array of higher fees.

But media organizations and good-government advocates worry that such a fee would restrict access to files the public has a right to view.

Steven Jahr, administrative director of the courts, agrees that it’s not “sound policy” and says the courts want the Legislature to restore funding. But he says the fee will be necessary if Brown and lawmakers do not increase the court budget.

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