State Supreme Court pauses on limiting access to juvenile court records
The state Supreme Court paused on implementing a rule that would heavily limit juvenile names from being identified in court documents to just initials and birthdates, among other restrictions.
The court’s decision, now paused, set a date to remove juvenile court records from internet court record databases. It would require people to physically go to the courthouse to retrieve a record.
A broad coalition of judges, clerks, law enforcement agencies and media organizations opposed the restrictions.
They criticize it runs contrary to the open administration of justice, and note that it could cause complicated and indefensible cases of mistaken identity for people who share birthdates and common initials with others whose records include juvenile justice cases. The state Prosecutors Association said limiting records could disable their ability to see a defendant’s past crimes when developing prosecution cases.
The groups also criticize that the high court decided to set the rule in late March without seeking broad input from stakeholders who access court records.
Supporters sought to limit the information because youth of color face greater inequity within the criminal justice system, and the records cause far-reaching implications, larger media outlets reported.
Certain juvenile records can be sealed by a judge upon reaching adulthood.
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