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Juvenile police records are confidential to protect juveniles from the harm that could result from people who may improperly use the records.
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Juvenile police records are records in which a minor is suspected of committing a crime. In the records, the minor is the suspect or subject.
Police records that merely mention children as witnesses or victims are not "juvenile" police records. The confidentiality of these records may be protected by other laws if the minor is part of the dependency or delinquency systems.
The following persons and agencies may acquire complete copies of juvenile police records from the law enforcement agency:
The Department of Motor Vehicles. The following persons may acquire copies of juvenile police records from the law enforcement agency if information about other juvenile suspects is removed from the records:
In some cases, law enforcement officials may not provide a complete copy of the records. For example, information about other juveniles who could be considered "suspects" and information about victims, witnesses, or persons who have reported child abuse may be removed, if such information is not requested specifically. A complete copy of the records that includes information about other juvenile suspects requires a petition to obtain report of law enforcement agency, juvenile (Form JV-575) be submitted to the law enforcement agency.
If not entitled, the person must submit a petition to obtain report of law enforcement agency, juvenile (Form JV-575) to the Juvenile Court. If the Juvenile Court grants the Petition, the requestor will receive a copy from the Juvenile Court.
When a person petitions the Juvenile Court, they are making a formal request asking the Juvenile Court to grant them access to confidential juvenile police records for a specific reason. It is important to state the reason for the request and how the record will be used. If a person wants other confidential information such as victim or witness information, medical records and child abuse report information, it must be specifically requested in the petition. If not, the information will be removed even if access to the juvenile police records is granted.
There are a number of ways to get the petition:
The petition is a short one page form, but it is important that it is filled our completely. It must clearly state the name of the juvenile subject, the case number or the minor's date of birth, and the law enforcement agency with the records. It is also important to include the reason why a copy of the juvenile police records are being requested and how the records will be used.
The completed form should be submitted to the Juvenile Court. It may be mailed or submitted personally to the Office of the Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Court. Petitions submitted in person should be brought to the Clerk's Office on the Second Floor of the Children's Court.
Office of the Presiding Judge
Edmund D Edelman Children's Court
201 Centre Plaza Drive
Monterey Park, CA 91754
Additionally the proper parties, if known, should be noticed.
To notice a party means that the party is informed that a copy of the police records have been requested and gives the party an opportunity to object. The notice must include the identity of the person or entity requesting the information, a copy of the petition, where to send or bring an objection and the deadline for when the objections must be submitted within 20 days if service is by mail or confirmed fax and 15 days if personally served.
The Petitioner requesting the records should attempt to serve notice on the minor, who is the subject of the records and the minor's parents or guardians if the minor is under 18. If a minor is a dependent of the Juvenile Court, the minor's dependency attorney, DCFS and County Counsel also must be noticed. If a minor is a ward of the Juvenile Court, the minor's delinquency attorney, the District Attorney and the Probation Department must be notified. The Juvenile Court will ensure that proper notice has been served and notice parties that were not noticed.
The Juvenile Court will need to ensure that proper notice and an opportunity to object has been provided to all of the necessary parties before a decision will be made. After considering the petition and any objections submitted, the Juvenile Court will determine whether a copy of the records should be released. In making this decision, the Juvenile Court Presiding Judge considers the interests of the juvenile, the person who submitted the petition and the public. If the need for the records outweighs the confidentiality interest of the juvenile, the Juvenile Court is likely to grant the petition. If a good reason is not provided, the Juvenile Court will deny your request. The Juvenile Court may also limit the release of information and provide a copy of the records with some of the information taken out or redacted.
The process takes several weeks because the proper parties must be noticed and have an opportunity to object. The law enforcement agency or Juvenile Court (depending on the situation) has 20 days to issue notice after they receive your request. Once notice has been sent, those parties have 15 to 20 days to submit an objection depending on the type of service. After the objection period is over, the law enforcement agency or Juvenile Court Presiding Judge should make a decision within 15 days.
If your petition is urgent, you may file a motion to shorten time with the Juvenile Court Presiding Judge. This motion may be prepared in the form of a letter and must state a good reason why the objection period should be shortened. Usually it takes 15 to 60 days from the date you submit the Petition to receive a ruling. However, it may take longer to receive an answer if there is a delay in locating the police records or if proper notice has not been given.
If the petition is granted by the Juvenile Court, a copy of the records will be sent to the petitioner with a copy of the decision regarding the petition.
No. When a petition is granted and a copy of the records is received, it is important to remember that the records are still confidential. The petitioner received a copy for the specific purpose that was stated in the petition only. It cannot be used for any other purpose or shared with other people. Violation of confidentiality is a punishable misdemeanor. To use the records for other reasons, another petition may be submitted explaining why and how the records will be used. The Juvenile Court will then consider that petition and grant or deny that petition based on the new purpose.