David and Louise Turpin are set to face a trial within months after a brief appearance in a courtroom Riverside County, California today.

The couple sat silent and apart - even seen laughing at points - as a judge agreed to delay their arraignment until the end of August.

The Turpins face a combined 88 charges including child abuse, false imprisonment and torture over several years.

Their 13 children won a request to access their own birth certificates, IDs and a camera – taken by authorities – during today’s hearing.

The camera is expected to be admitted as evidence by prosecutors during the trial.

Judge Bernard Schwartz scheduled the couple’s next appearance for August 31, with a trial to follow “within 60 days”.

The Turpins were arrested in January after a 911 call from one of their children prompted a visit by police.

Upon arrival, officers discovered the Turpins' 13 children, ranging from age two to 29, were being held captive in deplorable conditions.

Police say the house smelled of human waste and some of the children were shackled to furniture.

The eldest of the children weighed just 38kg when found.

According to interviews with the children, a strict set of rules kept 12 of the 13 children locked in their room for 20 hours a day.

They could do little else but write in journals.

Punishments ranged from pinching and hair pulling through to choking, the investigators said, and the children were were chained to their beds.

Recounting the interview of a 22-year-old discovered chained to his bed, investigator Tom Salsbury described children being chained for weeks at a time, only released to use the toilet or to eat twice a day.

Investigators said the children would go more than eight months without a bath and that older children were made hall monitors to prevent their siblings stealing food.

The children are said to be “doing well”, since their rescue.

A lawyer appointed to represent the seven adult children said they have participated in music therapy programs, made crafts and had world-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma play a special concert for them.

They’ve also communicated with their younger siblings over Skype.