California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 1834

Introduced by Assembly Member Wagner

February 9, 2016

An act to amend Section 69957 of the Government Code, relating to courts.


AB 1834, as introduced, Wagner. Electronic court reporting.

Existing law authorizes a superior court to appoint official reporters and official reporters pro tempore as are deemed necessary for the performance of the duties of the court and its members. Existing law also authorizes a court to use electronic recording equipment to record an action or proceeding in a limited civil case, or a misdemeanor or infraction case, if an official reporter or an official reporter pro tempore is unavailable.

This bill would additionally allow a court to use electronic recording equipment in a family law case if an official reporter or an official reporter pro tempore is unavailable.

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

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

P1    1


Section 69957 of the Government Code is
2amended to read:



(a) If an official reporter or an official reporter pro
4tempore is unavailable to report an action or proceeding in a court,
5subject to the availability of approved equipment and equipment
P2    1monitors, the court may order that, in a limited civil case,begin insert a family
2law case,end insert
or a misdemeanor or infraction case, the action or
3proceeding be electronically recorded, including all the testimony,
4the objections made, the ruling of the court, the exceptions taken,
5all arraignments, pleas, and sentences of defendants in criminal
6cases, the arguments of the attorneys to the jury, and all statements
7and remarks made and oral instructions given by the judge. A
8transcript derived from an electronic recording may be utilized
9whenever a transcript of court proceedings is required. Transcripts
10derived from electronic recordings shall include a designation of
11“inaudible” or “unintelligible” for those portions of the recording
12that contain no audible sound or are not discernible. The electronic
13recording device and appurtenant equipment shall be of a type
14approved by the Judicial Council for courtroom use and shall only
15be purchased for use as provided by this section. A court shall not
16expend funds for or use electronic recording technology or
17equipment to make an unofficial record of an action or proceeding,
18including for purposes of judicial notetaking, or to make the official
19record of an action or proceeding in circumstances not authorized
20by this section.

21(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a court may use electronic
22recording equipment for the internal personnel purpose of
23monitoring the performance of subordinate judicial officers, as
24defined in Sectionbegin delete 71601 of the Government Code,end deletebegin insert 71601,end insert hearing
25officers, and temporary judges while proceedings are conducted
26in the courtroom, if notice is provided to the subordinate judicial
27officer, hearing officer, or temporary judge, and to the litigants,
28that the proceeding may be recorded for that purpose. An electronic
29recording made for the purpose of monitoring that performance
30shall not be used for any other purpose and shall not be made
31publicly available.begin delete Anyend deletebegin insert Aend insert recording made pursuant to this
32subdivision shall be destroyed two years after the date of the
33proceeding unless a personnel matter is pending relating to
34performance of the subordinate judicial officer, hearing officer,
35or temporary judge.

36(c) Prior to purchasing or leasing any electronic recording
37technology or equipment, a court shall obtain advance approval
38from the Judicial Council, which may grant that approval only if
P3    1the use of the technology or equipment will be consistent with this