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2014 California Rules of Court

Rule 10.855. Superior court records sampling program

(a) Purpose

This rule establishes a program to preserve in perpetuity for study by historians and other researchers all superior court records filed before 1911 and a sample of superior court records filed after December 31, 1910, to document the progress and development of the judicial system, and to preserve evidence of significant events and social trends. This rule is not intended to restrict a court from preserving more records than the minimum required.

(Subd (a) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(b) Scope

"Records" of the superior court, as used in this rule, does not include records of limited civil, small claims, misdemeanor, or infraction cases.

(Subd (b) adopted effective January 1, 2001.)

(c) Comprehensive records

Each superior court must preserve forever comprehensive court records as follows:

(1)All records filed before 1911;

(2)If practicable, all records filed after 1910 and before 1950;

(3)All case indexes;

(4)All judgment books if the court maintains judgment records separate from the case files;

(5)All minute books if the court maintains minutes separate from the case files; and

(6)All registers of action if the court maintains them.

(Subd (c) amended effective January 1, 2007; adopted as subd (b); previously amended and relettered effective January 1, 2001.)

(d) Sample records

If a superior court destroys court records without preserving them in a medium described in (h), the court must preserve forever a sample of each year's court records as provided by this rule of all cases, including sealed, expunged, and other confidential records to the extent permitted by law.

(Subd (d) amended effective January 1, 2007; adopted as subd (c); relettered effective January 1, 2001.)

(e) Court record defined

The "court record" under this rule consists of the following:

(1)All papers and documents in the case folder; but if no case folder is created by the court, all papers and documents that would have been in the case folder if one had been created; and

(2)The case folder, unless all information on the case folder is in papers and documents preserved in a medium described in (h); and

(3)If available, corresponding depositions, paper exhibits, daily transcripts, and tapes of electronically recorded proceedings.

(Subd (e) amended effective January 1, 2007; adopted as subd (d); previously amended and relettered effective January 1, 2001.)

(f) Sampling technique

Three courts assigned in rotation by the Judicial Council must preserve 100 percent of their court records for a calendar year ("longitudinal sample"). All other courts must preserve a systematic sample of 10 percent or more of each year's court records and a 2 percent subjective sample of the court records scheduled to be destroyed, as follows:

(1)The "systematic sample" must be selected as follows after grouping all cases scheduled to be destroyed by filing year:

(A)If the cases scheduled to be destroyed for a filing year number more than 1,000 cases, the sample must consist of all cases in which the last digit of the case number (0-9) coincides with the last digit of the year in which the case was filed.

(B)If the cases scheduled to be destroyed for a filing year number from 100 to 1,000, the sample must consist of cases selected by (1) dividing the number of cases filed by 100, rounding fractions down to the next lower number, and (2) counting the cases and preserving each case with a position number in the files or other record that corresponds with the number computed (for example, 670 cases ( 100 = 6.7; select every sixth case).

(C)If fewer than 100 cases of a filing year are scheduled to be destroyed, all of the cases must be preserved.

(D)If the records to be destroyed are old, unnumbered cases, the sample must consist of cases identified by counting the cases (0-9) and preserving each case with a position number in the file or other record that corresponds with the number determined under (A) or (B), unless fewer than 100 cases are to be destroyed.

(2)The "subjective sample" must consist of at least 2 percent of all cases scheduled to be destroyed, but not fewer than the court records of 20 cases, and must include (1) all cases accepted for review by the California Supreme Court, (2) "fat files" or the thickest perceived case files, and (3) cases deemed by the court to be of local, national, or international significance. These cases must be identified by stamp or mark to distinguish them from the systematic sample. The Judicial Council will provide each court with a list of cases accepted for review by the California Supreme Court each year.

(Subd (f) amended effective January 1, 2007; adopted as subd (e); repealed, amended, and relettered effective January 1, 2001.)

(g) Augmented sample; designated advisory consultant

(1)The Judicial Council may designate a consultant to review, under the guidance of a qualified historian or archivist, court records scheduled for destruction and determine if the court's systematic sample should be augmented to improve representation of the variety of cases filed.

(2)The court should give the designated consultant 60 days' notice of intent to destroy any court records that it does not plan to retain for the sample.

(3)The designated consultant's role is advisory to the court. If the consultant determines that the systematic sample does not represent the variety of cases filed in a sample year, the court should select a random sample of cases to augment the systematic sample.

(4)Final selection of the court records to augment the sample is to be made by the clerk of the superior court.

(Subd (g) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(h) Preservation medium

(1)Comprehensive court records under (c) filed before 1911 must be preserved in their original paper form unless the paper is not available.

(2)Court records that are part of the comprehensive sample filed after 1910, the systematic sample, and the subjective sample must be retained permanently in accord with the requirements of the Trial Court Records Manual.

(Subd (h) amended effective January 1, 2011; previously amended effective January 1, 2001, and January 1, 2007.)

(i) Storage

Until statewide or regional archival facilities are established, each court is responsible for maintaining its comprehensive and sample court records in a secure and safe environment consistent with the archival significance of the records. The court may deposit the court records in a suitable California archival facility such as a university, college, library, historical society, museum, archive, or research institution whether publicly supported or privately endowed. The court must ensure that the records are kept and preserved according to commonly recognized archival principles and practices of preservation.

(Subd (i) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(j) Access

The court must ensure the following:

(1)The comprehensive and sample court records are made reasonably available to all members of the public.

(2)Sealed and confidential records are made available to the public only as provided by law.

(3)If the records are preserved in a medium other than paper, equipment is provided to permit public viewing of the records.

(4)Reasonable provision is made for duplicating the records at cost.

(Subd (j) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(k) Choosing an archival facility

If a local archival facility is maintaining the court records, the court may continue to use that facility's services if it meets the storage and access requirements under (i) and (j). If the court solicits archival facilities interested in maintaining the comprehensive and sample court records, the court must follow the procedures specified under rule 10.856, except that the comprehensive and sample court records must not be destroyed. Courts may enter into agreements for long-term deposit of records subject to the storage and access provisions of this rule.

(Subd (k) amended effective January 1, 2007; previously amended effective January 1, 1994, and January 1, 2001.)

(l) Reporting requirement

Each superior court must submit semiannually to the Judicial Council a Report to the Judicial Council: Superior Court Records Destroyed, Preserved, and Transferred (form REC-003), including the following information:

(1)A list by year of filing of the court records destroyed;

(2)A list by year of filing and location of the court records of the comprehensive and sample court records preserved; and

(3)A list by year of filing and location of the court records transferred to entities under rule 10.856.

(Subd (l) amended effective July 1, 2013; previously amended effective January 1, 1994, January 1, 1995, January 1, 2001; and January 1, 2007.)

Rule 10.855 amended effective July 1, 2013; adopted as rule 243.5 effective July 1, 1992; previously amended and renumbered as rule 6.755 effective January 1, 2001, and as rule 10.855 January 1, 2007; previously amended effective January 1, 1994, January 1, 1995, and January 1, 2011.

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