California Legislature—2013–14 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 2487


Introduced by Assembly Member Wagner

February 21, 2014


An act to amend Section 869 of the Penal Code, relating to witness testimony.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 2487, as introduced, Wagner. Witness testimony: copies of transcripts.

Existing law requires the testimony of each witness in cases of homicide to be reduced to writing, as specified. In cases other than homicide cases, existing law requires the testimony of each witness be reduced to writing, as specified, at the request of either the defendant or the prosecution. Existing law authorizes the magistrate before whom the examination of a witness is had to order that the testimony and proceedings be taken down in shorthand, and to appoint a shorthand reporter for that purpose. Existing law requires that deposition or witness testimony to be authenticated, as specified.

Under existing law, when a defendant is charged with a felony, the reporter is required to transcribe his or her shorthand notes within 10 days following the close of examination, making originals and copies available, as specified. If the defendant is charged with a crime other than a felony, existing law requires the reporter to transcribe his or her shorthand notes within 10 days following the close of examination, making originals and copies available, as specified, at the request of either the defendant or the prosecution.

This bill would instead require the reporter to transcribe his or her shorthand notes within 10 days following the close of examination, making originals and copies available, as specified, when a defendant is charged with homicide. In all other cases, the bill would require the reporter to transcribe his or her shorthand notes at the request of the defendant or the prosecution, within 10 days following that request, making originals and copies available, as specified.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no.

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

P2    1

SECTION 1.  

Section 869 of the Penal Code is amended to
2read:

3

869.  

The testimony of each witness in cases of homicide shall
4be reduced to writing, as a deposition, by the magistrate, or under
5his or her direction, and in other cases upon the demand of the
6prosecuting attorney, or the defendant, or his or her counsel. The
7magistrate before whom the examination is had may, in his or her
8discretion, order the testimony and proceedings to be taken down
9in shorthand in all examinationsbegin delete herein mentionedend deletebegin insert specified in this
10sectionend insert
, and for that purpose he or she may appoint a shorthand
11reporter. The deposition or testimony of the witness shall be
12authenticated in the following form:

13(a) It shall state the name of the witness, his or her place of
14residence, and his or her business or profession; except that if the
15witness is a peace officer, it shall state his or her name, and the
16address given in his or her testimony at the hearing.

17(b) It shall contain the questions put to the witness and his or
18her answers thereto, each answer being distinctly read to him or
19her as it is taken down, and being corrected or added to until it
20conforms to what he or she declares is the truth, except in cases
21where the testimony is taken down in shorthand, the answer or
22answers of the witness need not be read to him or her.

23(c) If a question put be objected to on either side and overruled,
24or the witness declines answering it, that fact, with the ground on
25which the question was overruled or the answer declined, shall be
26stated.

27(d) The deposition shall be signed by the witness, or if he or
28she refuses to sign it, his or her reason for refusing shall be stated
29in writing, as he or she gives it, except in cases where the
P3    1deposition is taken down in shorthand, it need not be signed by
2the witness.

begin delete

3(e) The reporter shall, within 10 days after the close of the
4examination, if the defendant be held to answer the charge of a
5felony, or in any other case if either the defendant or the
6prosecution orders the transcript, transcribe his or her shorthand
7notes, making an original and one copy and as many additional
8copies thereof as there are defendants (other than fictitious
9defendants), regardless of the number of charges or fictitious
10defendants included in the same examination, and certify and
11deliver the original and all copies to the clerk of the superior court
12in the county in which the defendant was examined. The reporter
13shall, before receiving any compensation as a reporter, file his or
14her affidavit setting forth that the transcript has been delivered
15within the time herein provided for. The compensation of the
16reporter for any services rendered by him or her as the reporter in
17any court of this state shall be reduced one-half if the provisions
18of this section as to the time of filing said transcript have not been
19complied with by him or her.

end delete
begin insert

20(e) (1) If the defendant is charged with homicide, the reporter
21shall transcribe his or her shorthand notes within 10 days following
22the close of examination, making an original, one copy, and as
23many additional copies thereof as there are defendants (other than
24fictitious defendants), regardless of the number of charges or
25fictitious defendants included in the same examination, and certify
26and deliver the original and all copies to the clerk of the superior
27court in the county in which the defendant was examined. Before
28receiving any compensation as a reporter, the reporter shall file
29his or her affidavit setting forth that the transcript has been
30delivered within the time required by this paragraph. The
31reporter’s compensation for services rendered by him or her as
32the reporter in any court of this state shall be reduced by one-half
33if the reporter does not comply with provisions of this paragraph
34as to the time of filing the transcript.

end insert
begin insert

35(2) If the defendant is charged with a crime other than homicide,
36and either the defendant or the prosecution requests, the reporter
37shall transcribe his or her shorthand notes within 10 days following
38the request, making an original, one copy, and as many additional
39copies thereof as there are defendants (other than fictitious
40defendants), regardless of the number of charges or fictitious
P4    1defendants included in the same examination, and certify and
2deliver the original and all copies to the clerk of the superior court
3in the county in which the defendant was examined. Before
4receiving any compensation as a reporter, the reporter shall file
5his or her affidavit setting forth that the transcript has been
6delivered within the time required by this paragraph. The
7reporter’s compensation for services rendered by him or her as
8 the reporter in any court of this state shall be reduced by one-half
9if the reporter does not comply with provisions of this paragraph
10as to the time of filing the transcript.

end insert

11(f) In every case in which a transcript is delivered as provided
12in this section, the clerk of the court shall file the original of the
13transcript with the papers in the case, and shall deliver a copy of
14the transcript to the district attorney immediately upon his or her
15receipt thereof and shall deliver a copy of said transcript to each
16defendant (other than a fictitious defendant) at least five days
17before trial or upon earlier demand by him or her without cost to
18him or her; provided, that if any defendant be held to answer to
19two or more charges upon the same examination and thereafter
20the district attorney shall file separate informations upon said
21several charges, the delivery to each such defendant of one copy
22of the transcript of the examination shall be a compliance with this
23section as to all of those informations.

24(g) If the transcript is delivered by the reporter within the time
25hereinbefore provided for, the reporter shall be entitled to receive
26the compensation fixed and allowed by law to reporters in the
27superior courts of this state.



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