California Code of Civil Procedure Section 130
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California Laws > Code of Civil Procedure > California Code of Civil Procedure Section 130
130. (a) Subject to the provisions of this section, when a child
who is under 18 years of age is killed as a result of a criminal act
and a person has been convicted and sentenced for the commission of
that criminal act, or a person has been found to have committed that
offense by the juvenile court and adjudged a ward of the juvenile
court, upon the request of a qualifying family member of the deceased
child, the autopsy report and evidence associated with the
examination of the victim in the possession of a public agency, as
defined in Section 6252 of the Government Code, shall be sealed and
not disclosed, except that an autopsy report and evidence associated
with the examination of the victim which has been sealed pursuant to
this section may be disclosed, as follows:
(1) To law enforcement, prosecutorial agencies and experts hired
by those agencies, public social service agencies, child death review
teams, or the hospital that treated the child immediately prior to
death, to be used solely for investigative, prosecutorial, or review
purposes, and may not be disseminated further.
(2) To the defendant and the defense team in the course of
criminal proceedings or related habeas proceedings, to be used solely
for investigative, criminal defense, and review purposes, including
review for the purpose of initiating any criminal proceeding or
related habeas proceeding, and may not be disseminated further. The
"defense team" includes, but is not limited to, all of the following:
attorneys, investigators, experts, paralegals, support staff,
interns, students, and state and privately funded legal assistance
projects hired or consulted for the purposes of investigation,
defense, appeal, or writ of habeas corpus on behalf of the person
accused of killing the deceased child victim.
(3) To civil litigants in a cause of action related to the victim'
s death with a court order upon a showing of good cause and proper
notice under Section 129, to be used solely to pursue the cause of
action, and may not be disseminated further.
(b) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the use of autopsy
reports and evidence in relation to court proceedings.
(c) Nothing in this section shall abrogate the rights of victims,
their authorized representatives, or insurance carriers to request
the release of information pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section
6254 of the Government Code. However, if a seal has been requested,
an insurance carrier receiving items pursuant to a request under that
subdivision is prohibited from disclosing the requested items except
as necessary in the normal course of business. An insurance carrier
shall not, under any circumstances, disclose to the general public
items received pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 6254 of the
(d) This section may not be invoked by a qualifying family member
who has been charged with or convicted of any act in furtherance of
the victim's death. Upon the filing of those charges against a
qualifying family member, any seal maintained at the request of that
qualifying family member under this section shall be removed.
(e) A coroner or medical examiner shall not be liable for damages
in a civil action for any reasonable act or omission taken in good
faith in compliance with this section.
(f) If sealing of the autopsy report has been requested by a
qualifying family member and another qualifying family member opposes
sealing, the opposing party may request a hearing in the superior
court in the county with jurisdiction over the crime leading to the
child's death for a determination of whether the sealing should be
maintained. The opposing party shall notify all other qualifying
family members, the medical examiner's office that conducted the
autopsy, and the district attorney's office with jurisdiction over
the crime at least 10 court days in advance of the hearing. At the
hearing, the court shall consider the interests of all qualifying
family members, the protection of the memory of the deceased child,
any evidence that the qualifying family member requesting the seal
was involved in the crime that resulted in the death of the child,
the public interest in scrutiny of the autopsy report or the
performance of the medical examiner, any impact that unsealing would
have on pending investigations or pending litigation, and any other
relevant factors. Official information in the possession of a public
agency necessary to the determination of the hearing shall be
received in camera upon a proper showing. In its discretion, the
court may, to the extent allowable by law and with good cause shown,
restrict the dissemination of an autopsy report or evidence
associated with the examination of a victim. This section shall not
apply if a public agency has independently determined that the
autopsy report may not be disclosed pursuant to subdivision (f) of
Section 6254 of the Government Code because it is an investigative
file. In that instance, nothing in this section shall preclude the
application of Sections 6258 and 6259 of the Government Code.
(g) If a seal has been maintained pursuant to this section, a
qualifying family member, or a biological or adoptive aunt, uncle,
sibling, first cousin, child, or grandparent of the deceased child
may request that the seal be removed. The request to remove the seal
shall be adjudicated pursuant to subdivision (f), with the party
requesting the removal of the seal being the opposing party.
(h) Nothing in this section shall limit the public access to
information contained in the death certificate including: name, age,
gender, race, date, time and location of death, the name of a
physician reporting a death in a hospital, the name of the certifying
pathologist, date of certification, burial information, and cause of
(i) When a medical examiner declines a request to provide a copy
of an autopsy report that has been sealed pursuant to this section,
the examiner shall cite this section as the reason for declining to
provide a copy of the report.
(j) For purposes of this section:
(1) A "child who is under 18 years of age" does not include any
child who comes within either of the following descriptions:
(A) He or she was a dependent child of the juvenile court pursuant
to Section 300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code at the time of
his or her death, or, pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 10850.4
of the Welfare and Institutions Code, abuse or neglect is determined
to have led to his or her death.
(B) He or she was residing in a state or county juvenile facility,
or a private facility under contract with the state or county for
the placement of juveniles, as a ward of the juvenile court pursuant
to Section 602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code at the time of
his or her death.
(2) "Evidence associated with the examination of a victim" means
any object, writing, diagram, recording, computer file, photograph,
video, DVD, CD, film, digital device, or other item that was
collected during, or serves to document, the autopsy of a deceased
(3) "Qualifying family member" means the biological or adoptive
parent, spouse, or legal guardian.
(k) Nothing in this section shall limit the discovery provisions
set forth in Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 1054) of Title 6 of
the Penal Code.
(l) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the
authority of the court to seal records or restrict the dissemination
of an autopsy report or evidence associated with the examination of a
victim under case law, other statutory law, or the rules of court.
(m) The provisions of this section are severable. If any provision
of this section or its application is held invalid, that invalidity
shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given
effect without the invalid provision or application.
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Last modified: October 1, 2013