Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, September 6, 2007


Page 3


Assembly Approves Bill on Telephonic Appearances


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The California Assembly has approved legislation requiring uniform rules for telephonic appearances in general civil cases.

Lawmakers Tuesday gave final backing to Assembly Bill 500, by Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D-Torrance. Lieu practiced law for more than 10 years before being elected to the Assembly.

AB 500 is adapted from Rule 3.670 of the California Rules of Court, and will permit a party in a general civil case who has provided notice to appear by telephone at conferences, hearings, and proceedings not requiring live testimony. The bill requires the Judicial Council of California to adopt rules effectuating its provisions by the end of the year.

Lieu told colleagues the bill was necessary because the standards for conducting hearings by telephone varied from courtroom to courtroom, and that some judges applied the procedures arbitrarily.

“This is a huge win for California’s legal system,” Lieu said in a statement.   “Allowing attorneys to appear by telephone will create efficiency in the process.”

 The bill won unanimous approval in both houses and now goes to the governor.

AB 500 sailed through the legislative process without a single ‘no’ vote.  In addition to support from the bench and bar, the bill was backed by the Sierra Club, which cited the environmental advantages of having lawyers participate by telephone instead of driving long distances to get to court.

The Assembly Tuesday also gave unanimous support to AB 1090, by Assemblyman—and former prosecutor—Todd Spitzer, R-Costa Mesa. The bill is designed to make it more difficult for candidates for public office, including judicial office, to use misleading ballot designations.

Under the bill, candidates will now have to submit, with their nominating documents, a worksheet explaining the factual basis for claiming their chosen ballot designation as consisting of their “principal professions, vocations, or occupations.”


Copyright 2007, Metropolitan News Company