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Inventory of the Assembly Judiciary Committee Records
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Committee History
  • Additional Information
  • Scope and Content
  • Accruals
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material
  • Microfilm

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Assembly Judiciary Records
    Dates: 1849-2006
    Collection Number: See series description
    Creator: Assembly Judiciary Committee, 1849-1936; Assembly Judiciary Committee, 1943-1958; Assembly Judiciary-Civil Committee, 1959-1961; Assembly Judiciary Committee, 1961-2008; Select Committee on Administration of Justice; Subcommittee on Administration of Justice; Subcommittee on Adoptions; Subcommittee on Capital Punishment; Subcommittee on Civil Law and Procedures; Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights; Subcommittee on Criminal Law and Procedure; Subcommittee on Domestic Relations and Juvenile Court Matters; Subcommittee on Emergency Use of Party Telephone Lines; Subcommittee on Escheat; Subcommittee on Illegal Searches, Seizures, and the Laws of Arrest; Suncommittee on Long Beach Tidelands; Subcommittee on Marketing and Trade Practices; Subcommittee on Narcotics; Subcommittee on Police Administration; Subcommittee on Pronographic Literature; Subcommittee on Rackets; Subcommittee on Real Estate Contracts and Trust Deeds; Subcommittee on Right of Privacy; Subcommittee on Uniform Acts;
    Collection Size: 161.5 cubic feet of textual materials, audio/visual materials and photographs.
    Repository: California State Archives
    Sacramento, California
    Abstract: The Assembly Judiciary Committee predates California's admission into the Union, to the would-be State's first Constitutional Convention of 1849, held in San Jose. The series described throughout this record group include Bill Files (1967-2006), Hearing Files (1849-1995), Subject Files (1931-1996), Correspondence (1953-1988), Minutes (1863-1885), and Reports (1852-1983). The Assembly Judiciary Committee records also include the records of many subcommittees: the Subcommittee on Administration of Justice, the Subcommittee on Adoptions, the Subcommittee on Capital Punishment, the Subcommittee on Civil Law and Procedure, the Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights, the Subcommittee on Criminal Law and Procedure, the Subcommittee on Domestic Relations and Juvenile Court Matters, the Subcommittee on Emergency Use of Party Telephone Lines, the Subcommittee on Escheat, the Subcommittee on Illegal Searches, Seizures, and the Laws of Arrest, the Subcommittee on Long Beach Tidelands, the Subcommittee on Marketing and Trade Practices, the Subcommittee on Narcotics, the Subcommittee on Police Administration, the Subcommittee on Pornographic Literature, the Subcommittee on Rackets, the Subcommittee on Real Estate Contracts and Trust Deeds, the Subcommittee on Right of Privacy, and the Subcommittee on Uniform Acts.
    Physical Location: California State Archives
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

    Administrative Information

    Access

    Collection is open for research.
    LP166:216 within the Hearing Files series (dated 7/30-31/1973) is restricted under the Legislative Open Records Act, California Government Code, sec. 9075(k) because it contains records of a legislative investigation.

    Publication Rights

    For permission to reproduce or publish, please consult California State Archives staff. Permission for reproduction or publication is given on behalf of the California State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility for possible infringement that may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Archives' collections.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], [Name of Committee] Records, LP[number]:[folder number], California State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, California.

    Acquisition Information

    The California State Archives received the records of the Assembly Judiciary Committee over a number of years and archives staff arranged them at various times. While the physical arrangement of the records reflects this variety, this inventory describes all of the records according to present archival descriptive standards for legislative committee records. Therefore, the physical arrangement of these records does not necessarily follow the inventory's order.
    The researcher should note that the Archives did not receive records for many of the years of the committee's existence. As the finding aid is meant to be a guide to using the records we do hold, the Committee History and Scope and Content sections may be incomplete; further research is encouraged.

    Committee History

    The history of the Assembly Judiciary Committee predates California's admission into the Union, to the would-be State's first Constitutional Convention of 1849, held in San Jose. On Tuesday, December 18, 1849, the third standing committee of the House to be created was that of Judiciary ( 1849 Senate Journal, page 580). While the exact jurisdiction of this initial body is unclear, the Judiciary Committee seems to have had a broad legislative scope, including hearings on anything from the organization of district courts to protecting ornamental trees. While the new legislature set about establishing a new government, California officially became the 31st state of the United States of America on September 9, 1850. To better understand the various changes in name and scope of this committee, it may be helpful to summarize the changes in the structure of legislative sessions.
    Brief History of Legislative Sessions:
    From 1849 to 1862, the state Constitution required that the Legislature meet annually beginning on the first Monday in January. In 1862, the Constitution was amended so that legislative sessions were now structured to be biennial two-year sessions with the Legislature meeting on the "first Monday after the first day of December" and length of sessions were limited to 120 days. During the second Constitutional Convention of 1878-1879, the biennial structure of the Legislature was maintained. However, representatives were now to meet on the "first Monday after the first day of January in the odd-numbered years," and the 120-day limit was removed. In 1911, the Constitution was again amended. Representatives would still begin meeting on the same day, but now they would take a "Constitutional Recess" after a maximum of 30 days and then reconvene after a maximum of 30 days. This "Bifurcated Session" structure resulted in an "interim" between the first and second parts of the session. In 1946, the Constitution was amended yet again. Sessions would now be annual and bifurcated, with odd-numbered years being designated as "General Sessions" and even-numbered years as "Budget Sessions." During Budget Sessions, representatives would meet on the "first Monday in March to consider the Budget Bill exclusively." Effective in 1967, annual sessions were amended to begin on the first Monday after the first day in January of each year, with an unlimited time limit, no restriction on the type of bill considered (i.e. no more Budget Session), and a 30-day minimum recess option. Following the successful passage of Proposition 4 in 1972 (and continuing today), the biennially structured Legislature now convenes on the "first Monday in December of the even-numbered year and must adjourn by November 30 of the following even-numbered year." The first session in this present-day format was that of 1973-1974. ( California Legislature, 1988)
    While the records and sources prior to the mid-twentieth century are incomplete, the name and jurisdiction of the Assembly Standing Committee on Judiciary seems to have changed little in the 160 years of its existence. The Judiciary Committee seems to have considered both criminal and civil issues through 1936. In 1937, House Resolution 3 created the Committee on Judiciary- Codes and the Committee on Judiciary-General, with the indication being that one committee dealt exclusively with issues concerning the codes and a second committee to review all other judicial matters. In 1943, House Resolution 15 combined these committees and reverted the name back to Judiciary. Probably the most significant modification came in 1959, with House Resolution 24. This resolution changed the committee name to Judiciary-Civil, reduced the jurisdiction of the committee, and created the committee on Criminal Procedure. While the name of the committee would be returned to simply Judiciary in 1961 (House Resolution 47), the jurisdiction would remain exclusively in the arena of civil law for the remainder of its history. For example, a 1981 jurisdiction statement includes the topics of adoptions, wage garnishment, liens, product liability, and the Civil, Probate, and Evidence codes. According to the Assembly Judiciary webpage (as of January 2009), the jurisdiction remains virtually identical.
    When the Legislature was in need of specific information on a judicial topic, it often created an Interim Committee by a House Resolution. The interim committee was created near the end of each session, though they were not necessarily active during every interim. The interim committees also had only a limited timeframe within which to operate. Because of this specificity of purpose, the names of the interim committees associated with the standing committee on Judiciary (or its alternative names) had much greater variation. The Interim Committee on Judiciary first appears in 1937 (HR 171). In 1943, HR231 created the Interim Committee on the Judiciary System. The 1945 session saw the creation of the Interim Committee on Judicial and Administrative Procedure (HR303). In 1947, HR226 created the Interim Committee on the Judicial System and Judicial Process. In the middle of the 1951 session, HR168 changed the name of the interim committee to Judiciary once again. During the 1959 session, when the name of the standing committee was changed to Judiciary-Civil, so too was the name of the interim committee. Since HR361 of the 1961 session, the name of the interim committee has remained Judiciary. Beginning in 1971 with HR142, the Standing Rules of the Assembly has referred to these committees as Investigating, rather than Interim, and since 1973 there has been no interim recess period. Investigating committees maintain the same jurisdiction and membership as their standing committee counterparts and are not constrained by any specific timeframe within which to work.
    The Select Committee on Administration of Justice was created by HR552 (1968). The committee was appointed the task of studying the administration of California courts, to determine if revision of the administration was needed, and to consider the "potentially conflicting constitutional doctrines of freedom of the press and a right to a fair trial."
    The researcher should be aware of the somewhat fluid nature of special, select, joint, and subcommittees related to Judiciary. For example, Judiciary on Administration of Justice appears as a Joint Interim Committee in 1957-1958, as the Subcommittee of Judiciary on Administration of Justice in 1966 and again from 1985 to 1988, and as the Select Committee on Administration of Justice between 1968 and 1972. The subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments (1977) was made a standing committee in 1980. Conversely, the Joint Interim committee on Tidelands in 1947 appears as a subcommittee of Judiciary from 1955-1958 (as Long Beach Tidelands).
    For a complete list of committee chairs, please see Appendix A in Additional Information.

    Additional Information

    Scope and Content

    The records of the Assembly Standing Committee on Judiciary contain 161.5 cubic feet cubic feet of textual and audiovisual material. The records are organized with the records of the Standing Committees first, followed by the alphabetically by the name of the Select Committee or Subcommittee. The series described throughout this record group include Bill Files (1967-2006), Hearing Files (1849-1995), Subject Files (1931-1996), Correspondence (1953-1988), Minutes (1863-1885), and Reports (1852-1983).
    The Bill Files document the legislative bills directed to the Standing Committee on Judiciary, the Select Committee on the Administration of Justice, and the Subcommittee on Administration of Justice. The files include committee analysis, letters from interested parties, and the comments of affected agencies. Some notable legislation considered by the Standing Committee on Judiciary from 1989 to 2006 includes AB2197 (Klehs, 1989-1990) The Independent Petroleum Marketing Act; AB2937 (Isenberg, 1991-1992) electronic recording of court proceedings; AB90 (Isenberg, 1993-1994) liability of farm operators; AB1080 (Martinez, 1995-1996) The Death with Dignity Act; AB233 (Escutia, 1997-1998) trial court funding; AB1380 (Villaraigosa, 1999-2000) liability of health care providers;; AB36 (Steinberg, 2001-2002) secrecy settlements; AB17 (Kehoe) and AB205 (Goldberg, 2003-2004) domestic partners; and AB1307 (Dymally, 2005-2006) child custody. This variety of topics reflects the broad reach and scope of the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
    The Hearing Files pertain to the committee's investigation of certain topics. The files include agendas, transcripts, precedent and background materials, internal and external correspondence from interested parties, and relevant news clippings. Hearing files may originate from standing, select, or subcommittees. Some notable standing committee hearing topics from 1849 to 1851 include the public archives, the organization of the courts, promissory notes, authorization of corporations, and immigrants from penal colonies. Hearing file records are absent for the years 1852-1954. Between 1954 and 1958, hearings would cover a wide range of topics and were conducted primarily by subcommittees and frequently during the Interim Recess. A sample of topics includes narcotics, domestic relations, uniform acts, capital punishment, police administration, illegal searches, escheat, pornography, constitutional rights, and trade practices. During the short lifespan of Judiciary-Civil (1959-1961), the committee held hearings on topics such as court personnel, the Uniform Securities Act, prepaid service contracts, and real estate and trust deeds. Between 1961 and 1971, the committee seems to have developed a focus on social issues with hearings on such topics as teen drinking, divorce rates, bankruptcy, alcoholism, medical malpractice, organ transplants, consumer credit, environmental abuse, marriage counseling, and family planning. In 1972, the committee began to balance traditionally judicial topics with social concerns. This pattern continued into 1995, the last year for which the Archives has hearing files. Notable topics include electronic recordings, right of privacy, paternity litigation, regulation of the State Bar, community property rights, compensation of judges and other court personnel, cohabitation contracts, attorney's fees, efficiency and organization of the courts, tenant and landlord rights, child custody and support, surrogacy, law schools, and affirmative action.
    The Subject Files contain information on a variety of topics relevant to the committee. The files often include additional information on an existing bill or hearing file, material related to proposed legislation, or documents related to committee administration. The files originated from the standing, interim, select, or subcommittee. The researcher should note that, while the date of creation for this standing committee series is from 1931 to 1996, the approximate dates of record-keeping are from 1954 to 1999. The earliest subject file (1985) dealt with the Civil Discovery Act of 1986. Some notable topics from 1991 to 1999 include anti-trust, the Californians for an Independent State Supreme Court campaign, legal assistants, family law, drug dealer convictions, and trial court funding.
    The Correspondence series contains letters and memoranda relevant to the committee. Authors, recipients, subjects, and dates may vary greatly. The files may originate from the standing, interim, select, or subcommittee. Types of documents include hearing schedules, pending and proposed legislation, bills referred for study, press releases, and news clippings.
    The Reports document the committee's findings on various topics of study referred to them. These files originate only from the standing committee. The majority of the reports are dated from 1852 to 1874, and deal with such topics as the state census and moving the Supreme Court from Sacramento to Oakland. The rest of the reports are from 1983 and relate to court reform.
    The Minutes document the proceedings of a meeting of the committee on a specific date. As these files are from the earliest years of the committee's history, they originate only from the standing committee.
    The records of the Select Committee on Administration of Justice are dated from 1968-1972 and include bill, hearing, subject, and correspondence files. The description of these records immediately follows those of the Standing Committee on Judiciary. The Select Committee on Administration of Justice held hearings on police relations with Mexican-Americans (1972).
    The Assembly Judiciary Committee records also include the records of many subcommittees: the Subcommittee on Administration of Justice, the Subcommittee on Adoptions, the Subcommittee on Capital Punishment, the Subcommittee on Civil Law and Procedure, the Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights, the Subcommittee on Criminal Law and Procedure, the Subcommittee on Domestic Relations and Juvenile Court Matters, the Subcommittee on Emergency Use of Party Telephone Lines, the Subcommittee on Escheat, the Subcommittee on Illegal Searches, Seizures, and the Laws of Arrest, the Subcommittee on Long Beach Tidelands, the Subcommittee on Marketing and Trade Practices, the Subcommittee on Narcotics, the Subcommittee on Police Administration, the Subcommittee on Pornographic Literature, the Subcommittee on Rackets, the Subcommittee on Real Estate Contracts and Trust Deeds, the Subcommittee on Right of Privacy, and the Subcommittee on Uniform Acts. The subcommittee files focus on specific judicial issues and contain material such as public hearing files, bill files, subject files, and correspondence.
    It is anticipated that the Archives will receive further records from the Assembly Judiciary Committee. Researchers should check the accession binders in the Archives Reference Room for recently received, unprocessed records.
    Audio/videotapes from the Bill and Hearing files have been removed to cold storage and separation sheets are included within the file folders to indicate this.

    Accruals

    Further accruals are expected.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    California. Legislature. Assembly. Committee on Judiciary
    Civil law California
    Governmental investigations

    Related Material

    Corbett, Ellen M. - Restricted
    Escutia, Martha M. - Restricted
    Harris, Elihu M.
    Isenberg, Phillip
    Kuehl, Sheila J.
    Morrow, Bill - Restricted
    Senate Judiciary Committee
    Steinberg, Darrell S. - Restricted

    Microfilm

    The following records are available on microfilm at the California State Archives.
    Assembly Judiciary Committee, Bill Files, 1967-2000