Juvenile Records - American Bar Association

Report
Debunking the Myths:
Public Accessibility of Juvenile Delinquency Records
Monday, March 17th, 2014 | 1:00 PM Eastern
Sponsored by the ABA Section of Litigation & Center for Professional Development
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Speakers
• Brent Pattison, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the
Middleton Children’s Rights Center at Drake University Law School,
Moderator [email protected]
• Riya Shah, Staff Attorney, Juvenile Law Center [email protected]
• Kim Ambrose, Senior Lecturer and Director, Race and Justice Clinic,
University of Washington School of Law [email protected]
• Sharlyn Grace, VISTA Attorney, Children and Families Practice Group,
LAF, Chicago [email protected]
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Juvenile Records – A Historical Perspective
1899 – First Juvenile Court
To spare juveniles from harsh proceedings of adult court, punitive and
unseemly conditions of adult jails and penitentiaries, and the stigma of
being branded “criminal”
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Juvenile Records – A Historical Perspective
1980s-90s - Criminalization
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Common Vocabulary
Limited Accessibility
• Sealing
• Setting aside
No Accessibility
• Expungement
• Destruction
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Why Records Exist
• Community protection
• Track criminal behavior patterns
• Provide for appropriate levels of supervision
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Why Expunge Records?
•
•
•
•
Utility diminishes over time
Incorrect information in records
Fails to appreciate adolescence is transient
Collateral Consequences
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Military
Housing
Subsequent
court
involvement
Education
Employment
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How do juvenile records affect people?*
 May be asked to disclose a juvenile record for:
• College applications
• Job applications
 May show up on background checks for:
• Jobs and professional licenses (teaching, nursing, banking,
private security, other jobs [unlawfully])
• Access to Public/Subsidized Housing
• TANF benefits
• Immigration/citizenship applications – discretionary factors
 Police Harassment
*Impact varies by state law and status of record (sealed, expunged, etc.).
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Racial Disproportionality
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Racial Disproportionality
Consideration – Insufficient efforts to identify and
develop permanency resources for youth
 Strategy: Request specificity on record and in court
order of agency’s Reasonable Efforts. Seek “No
Reasonable Efforts” finding requiring the agency to
continue to seek a more appropriate permanency plan
Consideration – Youth may wish to remain in
foster care
 Strategy: Work with youth to develop permanent
connections. Engage “permanent connection” in youth’s
transition process and foster care case.
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Where do Records Live?
Courthouse
Juvenile
Prison
System
Private
companies
Adjudication
State and
Local
Law
Enforcement
Internet
FBI
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50 Different Systems
• Are juvenile court records stored in a
different database from adult records?
• Are arrest records linked to juvenile court
records?
• Are other agencies storing and/or
releasing juvenile records?
• Are juvenile court records released to
commercial data aggregators?
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Accessing Records
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Who Sees a Juvenile Record?
Law Enforcement
Courts (if court record)
Federal Government
– Military
– Immigration officials
Potential Employers
–Legally
–Illegally
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Advocates for Public Juvenile Records
• Open Government Advocates: open
courts=open records=accountability
• Newspapers/Media: want quick and inexpensive
access to information
• Landlord Associations: want efficient filtering
mechanism for tenants
• Prosecutors: Some prosecutors believe it is a
deterrent, want to use it for future decisionmaking, believe public has a “right to know.”
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Sealing and Expungement
Policies and Programs
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Automatic
Sealing
• AK: upon discharge from court supervision, all
records of delinquency are sealed
• DE: access to sealed records limited to law
enforcement for purposes of identifying whether
individual is eligible for “first-time offender” program
Automatic
expungement
• CA: after 5 years, court automatically orders
expungement if no subsequent court involvement
• MS: court expunges records of diverted cases at
discharge
Expungement
by application
• PA: Petition at any time after case discharged
• IN: Both sides present evidence and court
determines after a hearing
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Who Sees Records After Expungement?*
Court Officers (only if charged again)
Law enforcement (only if applying as
employee)
Federal Government
– Military
– Immigration officials
No Other Employers
*Based on the Illinois juvenile expungement process.
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Reducing Barriers
• In Washington, 10 years of slow progress in the
legislature. This year: HB 1651.
• Legislation vs. Court Rules vs. administrative
policy.
– Advocating for friendlier court rules
– Advocating within the administrative office of
the courts on their policies regarding
electronic distribution of juvenile records.
– Advocating for resources to public defenders
for sealing records.
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JUDICIAL INFORMATION SYSTEM DATA
DISSEMINATION POLICY
• (New) VI. LIMITATION ON DISSEMINATION OF JUVENILE
OFFENDER COURT RECORDS
• The dissemination of juvenile offender court records maintained in
the Judicial Information System shall be limited as follows:
– 1. The Administrative Office of the Courts shall not electronically
transfer to a licensee by means of file transfer protocol any information
from the official juvenile offender court file that is in a single data file
that contains information from more than one file or more than one
court except for research purposes as permitted by statute or court rule.
– 2. The Administrative Office of the Courts shall not display any
information from an official juvenile offender court file on a publiclyaccessible website that is a statewide index of court cases unless the
entire official juvenile offender court file maintained in the judicial
information is available on the website.
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Michigan
• 3 misdemeanors instead of 1
expunged per year
• Eligibility when case closed 1
year instead of 5 years
• 1 felony expunged per year
Pennsylvania
• Summary offenses expunged
after 6 months rather than 5
years
• Petition at any age with DA
consent
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Positive Efforts
Illinois Efforts to Increase Juvenile Expungement
Petitions:
1. Court-based Help Desk
2. Outreach and Education
3. Pro Bono Involvement
a. Expungement Clinics at Alternative High
Schools: Bring the lawyers to the school!
b. Clerk’s summits
4. Collaboration
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Common Misperceptions
Young people I talk to often think:
–No “record” for mere arrests;
–No “record” if not found guilty;
–Juvenile records automatically disappear at
age 18;
–No one can see juvenile records;
–Serious offenses can’t be expunged; and
–The expungement process is expensive.
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Collaboration:
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Collaboration and Peer Education: Expunge.io
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Collaboration and Peer Education: Expunge.io
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Pro Bono Projects
• The Need: In 2012, over 14,000 juvenile cases
were filed in Washington State, each creating a
court record.
• Building awareness: Thousands of individuals
do not know that their juvenile criminal history
will affect them until it is too late.
• Self-help and Clinics:
TeamChild Juvenile Records Sealing Clinic and
Resources
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Questions?
•
Brent Pattison, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the
Middleton Children’s Rights Center at Drake University Law School,
Moderator [email protected]
•
Riya Shah, Staff Attorney, Juvenile Law Center [email protected]
•
Kim Ambrose, Senior Lecturer and Director, Race and Justice Clinic,
University of Washington School of Law [email protected]
•
Sharlyn Grace, VISTA Attorney, Children and Families Practice Group, LAF,
Chicago [email protected]
www.americanbar.org | www.abacle.org

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