It is the express intent of the Legislature “that juvenile court records, in general, should be confidential. See In re Keisha T. (1995) 38 Cal.App.4th 220, 231, citing Welf. & Inst. Code §827(b). Courts have recognized, however, that this policy of confidentiality is not absolute. The juvenile court (“JC”) has been vested with “exclusive authority to determine the extent to which juvenile records may be released to third parties.” Ibid., citing T.N.G. v. Superior Court (1971) 4 Cal.3d 767, 778, 781; See also Cimarusti v. Superior Court (2000) 79 Cal.App.4th 799, 804.
Welf. & Inst. Code §827(a) governs the authority/right of specific enumerated personnel to inspect juvenile court records. In addition, California Rules of Court, rule 1423(a) states: “Only those persons specified in sections 827…may inspect juvenile court records without authorization from the court. Juvenile court records may not be obtained or inspected by civil or criminal subpoena. Authorization for any other person to inspect, obtain, or copy juvenile court records must be ordered by the juvenile court presiding judge or a judicial officer designated by the juvenile court presiding judge.” Rule 1423(a) defines the protected “juvenile court records” to include: (1) all documents filed in a juvenile court case; (2) reports to the court by probation officers, social workers, and special advocates; (3) documents made available to probation officers, social workers, and special advocates in preparation of such reports; (4) documents relating to a child concerning whom a petition has been filed, which are maintained in the office files of probation officers, social workers, and special advocates; (5) transcripts, records, or reports relating to matters prepared or released by the court, probation department, or child welfare programs; and (6) documents and exhibits admitted into evidence at JC hearings. CYA or DJJ files include documents transmitted from the JC that unquestionably are JC records as defined by Welf. & Inst. Code §827 and California Rules of Court, rule 1423. Cimarusti, supra, at 805.
The right to have juvenile records sealed is governed by Welf. & Inst. Code §781. In re Jeffrey T. (2006) 140 Cal.App.4th 1015, 1019. The relevant provides in relevant part: “In any case in which a petition has been filed with a juvenile court (“JC”) to commence proceedings to adjudge a person a ward of the court…the person or the county probation officer may, five years or more after the jurisdiction of the JC has terminated as to the person…or, in any case, at any time after the person has reached the age of 18 years, petition the court for sealing of the records, including records of arrest, relating to the person’s case, in the custody of the juvenile court and probation officer and any other agencies, including law enforcement agencies, and public officials as the petitioner alleges, in his or her petition, to have custody of the records…If, after hearing, the court finds that since the termination of jurisdiction or action pursuant to Section 626, as the case may be, he or she has not been convicted of a felony or of any misdemeanor involving moral turpitude and that rehabilitation has been attained to the satisfaction of the court, it shall order all records, papers, and exhibits in the person’s case in the custody of the JC sealed, including the JC record, minute book entries, and entries on dockets, and any other records relating to the case in the custody of the other agencies and officials as are named in the order…Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, the court shall not order the person’s records sealed in any case in which the person has been found by the JC to have committed an offense listed in Welf. & Inst. Code §707(b) when he or she had attained 14 years of age or older.” Good luck!
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