Current through the 2023 Legislative Session.
Section 6259 - Ordering official to make record public(a) Whenever it is made to appear by verified petition to the superior court of the county where the records or some part thereof are situated that certain public records are being improperly withheld from a member of the public, the court shall order the officer or person charged with withholding the records to disclose the public record or show cause why the officer or person should not do so. The court shall decide the case after examining the record in camera, if permitted by subdivision (b) of Section 915 of the Evidence Code, papers filed by the parties and any oral argument and additional evidence as the court may allow.(b) If the court finds that the public official's decision to refuse disclosure is not justified under Section 6254 or 6255, the court shall order the public official to make the record public. If the court determines that the public official was justified in refusing to make the record public, the court shall return the item to the public official without disclosing its content with an order supporting the decision refusing disclosure.(c) In an action filed on or after January 1, 1991, an order of the court, either directing disclosure by a public official or supporting the decision of the public official refusing disclosure, is not a final judgment or order within the meaning of Section 904.1 of the Code of Civil Procedure from which an appeal may be taken, but shall be immediately reviewable by petition to the appellate court for the issuance of an extraordinary writ. Upon entry of any order pursuant to this section, a party shall, in order to obtain review of the order, file a petition within 20 days after service upon the party of a written notice of entry of the order, or within such further time not exceeding an additional 20 days as the trial court may for good cause allow. If the notice is served by mail, the period within which to file the petition shall be increased by five days. A stay of an order or judgment shall not be granted unless the petitioning party demonstrates it will otherwise sustain irreparable damage and probable success on the merits. Any person who fails to obey the order of the court shall be cited to show cause why that person is not in contempt of court.(d) The court shall award court costs and reasonable attorney's fees to the requester should the requester prevail in litigation filed pursuant to this section. The costs and fees shall be paid by the public agency of which the public official is a member or employee and shall not become a personal liability of the public official. If the court finds that the requester's case is clearly frivolous, it shall award court costs and reasonable attorney's fees to the public agency.(e) This section shall not be construed to limit a requester's right to obtain fees and costs pursuant to subdivision (d) or pursuant to any other law.Amended by Stats 2020 ch 370 (SB 1371),s 125, eff. 1/1/2021.Amended by Stats 2019 ch 497 (AB 991),s 131, eff. 1/1/2020.Amended by Stats 2018 ch 463 (SB 1244),s 1, eff. 1/1/2019.