Opinion from San Francisco Peninsula Press Club via SF Examiner:
Decades of free access to public-court files would end under a proposal in Gov. Jerry Brown’s preliminary budget.We write this on behalf of the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club board of directors, which strongly opposes the proposal. But why should you?Because free access to public records is a cornerstone of our democracy. Free access to public records makes it more difficult for those doing wrong to hide.The proposal in the state budget would authorize courts to charge a $10 “search fee” for files requested by journalists, businesses and members of the public. It would exclude parties involved in the cases requested.[…]This approach to solving the courts’ financial problems ignores the public’s role in monitoring the administration of justice.