California Evidence Code Section 452.5 - Interpretation

Evidence Code section 452.5 provides that a court may take judicial notice under Evidence Code section 452, subdivisions (c) and (d), of "any computer-generated official court records, as specified by the Judicial Council which relate to criminal convictions, when the record is certified by a clerk of the superior court pursuant to Section 69844.5 of the Government Code at the time of computer entry." (Evid. Code, 452.5, subd. (a).) "An official record of conviction certified in accordance with subdivision (a) of Section 1530 is admissible pursuant to Section 1280 to prove the commission . . . of a criminal offense . . . ." (Evid. Code, 452.5, subd. (b).) In People v. Duran (2002) 97 Cal.App.4th 1448, the Court of Appeal concluded that the hearsay exception outlined in Evidence Code section 452.5, subdivision (b), is not restricted to "computer-generated" official court records as described in subdivision (a). Instead, "Evidence Code section 452.5 states a new hearsay exception for certified official records of conviction, which may be offered to prove not only the fact of a conviction, but the commission of the underlying offense." (Duran, supra, 97 Cal.App.4th at p. 1461.) Furthermore, because a certified minute order reflecting a guilty plea is an "official record of conviction" as the term is used in the statute, a guilty plea would be admissible under the Evidence Code section 452.5, subdivision (b) hearsay exception. (Duran, supra, at p. 1462.)