Code Section

Welfare and Institutions Code - WIC

DIVISION 2. CHILDREN [100 - 1500]

  ( Division 2 enacted by Stats. 1937, Ch. 369. )
  

PART 1. DELINQUENTS AND WARDS OF THE JUVENILE COURT [100 - 1455]

  ( Part 1 enacted by Stats. 1937, Ch. 369. )
  

CHAPTER 2. Juvenile Court Law [200 - 987]

  ( Chapter 2 repealed and added by Stats. 1961, Ch. 1616. )
  

ARTICLE 22. Wards and Dependent Children—Records [825 - 832]
  ( Heading of Article 22 renumbered from Article 13 by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1068. )

  
827.9.  

(a) It is the intent of the Legislature to reaffirm its belief that records or information gathered by law enforcement agencies relating to the taking of a minor into custody, temporary custody, or detention (juvenile police records) should be confidential. Confidentiality is necessary to protect those persons from being denied various opportunities, to further the rehabilitative efforts of the juvenile justice system, and to prevent the lifelong stigma that results from having a juvenile police record. Although these records generally should remain confidential, the Legislature recognizes that certain circumstances require the release of juvenile police records to specified persons and entities. The purpose of this section is to clarify the persons and entities entitled to receive a complete copy of a juvenile police record, to specify the persons or entities entitled to receive copies of juvenile police records with certain identifying information about other minors removed from the record, and to provide procedures for others to request a copy of a juvenile police record. This section does not govern the release of police records involving a minor who is the witness to or victim of a crime who is protected by other laws including, but not limited to, Section 841.5 of the Penal Code, Section 11167 et seq. of the Penal Code, and Section 6254 of the Government Code.

(b) Except as provided in Sections 389, 781, and 786 of this code or Section 1203.45 of the Penal Code, a law enforcement agency shall release, upon request, a complete copy of a juvenile police record, as defined in subdivision (m), without notice or consent from the person who is the subject of the juvenile police record to the following persons or entities:

(1) Other law enforcement agencies including the office of the Attorney General of California, any district attorney, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, including the Division of Juvenile Justice, and any peace officer as specified in subdivision (a) of Section 830.1 of the Penal Code.

(2) School district police.

(3) Child protective agencies as defined in Section 11165.9 of the Penal Code.

(4) The attorney representing the juvenile who is the subject of the juvenile police record in a criminal or juvenile proceeding.

(5) The Department of Motor Vehicles.

(c) Except as provided in Sections 389, 781, and 786 of this code or Section 1203.45 of the Penal Code, law enforcement agencies shall release, upon request, a copy of a juvenile police record to the following persons and entities only if identifying information pertaining to any other juvenile, within the meaning of subdivision (n), has been removed from the record:

(1) The person who is the subject of the juvenile police record.

(2) The parents or guardian of a minor who is the subject of the juvenile police record.

(3) An attorney for a parent or guardian of a minor who is the subject of the juvenile police record.

(d) (1) (A) If a person or entity listed in subdivision (c) seeks to obtain a complete copy of a juvenile police record that contains identifying information concerning the taking into custody or detention of any other juvenile, within the meaning of subdivision (n), who is not a dependent child or a ward of the juvenile court, that person or entity shall submit a completed Petition to Obtain Report of Law Enforcement Agency, as developed pursuant to subdivision (i), to the appropriate law enforcement agency. The law enforcement agency shall send a notice to the following persons that a Petition to Obtain Report of Law Enforcement Agency has been submitted to the agency:

(i) The juvenile about whom information is sought.

(ii) The parents or guardian of any minor described in clause (i). The law enforcement agency shall make reasonable efforts to obtain the address of the parents or guardian.

(B) For purposes of responding to a request submitted pursuant to this subdivision, a law enforcement agency may check the Juvenile Automated Index or may contact the juvenile court to determine whether a person is a dependent child or a ward of the juvenile court and whether parental rights have been terminated or the juvenile has been emancipated.

(C) The notice sent pursuant to this subdivision shall include the following information:

(i) The identity of the person or entity requesting a copy of the juvenile police record.

(ii) A copy of the completed Petition to Obtain Report of Law Enforcement Agency.

(iii) The time period for submitting an objection to the law enforcement agency, which shall be 20 days if notice is provided by mail or confirmed fax, or 15 days if notice is provided by personal service.

(iv) The means to submit an objection.

A law enforcement agency shall issue notice pursuant to this section within 20 days of the request. If no objections are filed, the law enforcement agency shall release the juvenile police record within 15 days of the expiration of the objection period.

(D) If any objections to the disclosure of the other juvenile’s information are submitted to the law enforcement agency, the law enforcement agency shall send the completed Petition to Obtain Report of Law Enforcement Agency, the objections, and a copy of the requested juvenile police record to the presiding judge of the juvenile court or, in counties with no presiding judge of the juvenile court, the judge of the juvenile court or his or her designee, to obtain authorization from the court to release a complete copy of the juvenile police record.

(2) If a person or entity listed in subdivision (c) seeks to obtain a complete copy of a juvenile police record that contains identifying information concerning the taking into custody or detention of any other juvenile, within the meaning of subdivision (n), who is a dependent child or a ward of the juvenile court, that person or entity shall submit a Petition to Obtain Report of Law Enforcement Agency, as developed pursuant to subdivision (i), to the appropriate law enforcement agency. The law enforcement agency shall send that Petition to Obtain Report of Law Enforcement Agency and a completed petition for authorization to release the information to that person or entity along with a complete copy of the requested juvenile police record to the presiding judge of the juvenile court, or, in counties with no presiding judge of the juvenile court, the judge of the juvenile court or his or her designees. The juvenile court shall provide notice of the petition for authorization to the following persons:

(A) If the person who would be identified if the information is released is a minor who is a dependent child of the juvenile court, notice of the petition shall be provided to the following persons:

(i) The minor.

(ii) The attorney of record for the minor.

(iii) The parents or guardian of the minor, unless parental rights have been terminated.

(iv) The child protective agency responsible for the minor.

(v) The attorney representing the child protective agency responsible for the minor.

(B) If the person who would be identified if the information is released is a ward of the juvenile court, notice of the petition shall be provided to the following:

(i) The ward.

(ii) The attorney of record for the ward.

(iii) The parents or guardian of the ward if the ward is under 18 years of age, unless parental rights have been terminated.

(iv) The district attorney.

(v) The probation department.

(e) Except as otherwise provided in this section or in Sections 389, 781, and 786 of this code or Section 1203.45 of the Penal Code, law enforcement agencies shall release copies of juvenile police records to any other person designated by court order upon the filing of a Petition to Obtain Report of Law Enforcement Agency with the juvenile court. The petition shall be filed with the presiding judge of the juvenile court, or, in counties with no presiding judge of the juvenile court, the judge of the juvenile court or his or her designee, in the county where the juvenile police record is maintained.

(f) (1) After considering the petition and any objections submitted to the juvenile court pursuant to paragraph (1) or (2) of subdivision (d), the court shall determine whether the law enforcement agency may release a complete copy of the juvenile police record to the person or entity that submitted the request.

(2) In determining whether to authorize the release of a juvenile police record, the court shall balance the interests of the juvenile who is the subject of the record, the petitioner, and the public. The juvenile court may issue orders prohibiting or limiting the release of information contained in the juvenile police record. The court may also deny the existence of a juvenile police record where the record is properly sealed or the juvenile who is the subject of the record has properly denied its existence.

(3) Prior to authorizing the release of any juvenile police record, the juvenile court shall ensure that notice and an opportunity to file an objection to the release of the record has been provided to the juvenile who is the subject of the record or who would be identified if the information is released, that person’s parents or guardian if he or she is under 18 years of age, and any additional person or entity described in subdivision (d), as applicable. The period for filing an objection shall be 20 days from the date notice is given if notice is provided by mail or confirmed fax and 15 days from the date notice is given if notice is provided by personal service. If review of the petition is urgent, the petitioner may file a motion with the presiding judge of the juvenile court showing good cause why the objection period should be shortened. The court shall issue a ruling on the completed petition within 15 days of the expiration of the objection period.

(g) Any out-of-state entity comparable to the California entities listed in paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive, of subdivision (b) shall file a petition with the presiding judge of the juvenile court in the county where the juvenile police record is maintained in order to receive a copy of a juvenile police record. A petition from that entity may be granted on an ex parte basis.

(h) Nothing in this section shall require the release of confidential victim or witness information protected by other laws including, but not limited to, Section 841.5 of the Penal Code, Section 11167 et seq. of the Penal Code, and Section 6254 of the Government Code.

(i) The Judicial Council, in consultation with the California Law Enforcement Association of Record Supervisors (CLEARS), shall develop forms for distribution by law enforcement agencies to the public to implement this section. Those forms shall include, but are not limited to, the Petition to Obtain Report of Law Enforcement Agency. The material for the public shall include information about the persons who are entitled to a copy of the juvenile police record and the specific procedures for requesting a copy of the record if a petition is necessary. The Judicial Council shall provide law enforcement agencies with suggested forms for compliance with the notice provisions set forth in subdivision (d).

(j) Any information received pursuant to subdivisions (a) to (e), inclusive, and (g) of this section shall be received in confidence for the limited purpose for which it was provided and shall not be further disseminated. An intentional violation of the confidentiality provisions of this section is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500).

(k) A court shall consider any information relating to the taking of a minor into custody, if the information is not contained in a record that has been sealed, for purposes of determining whether an adjudication of the commission of a crime as a minor warrants a finding that there are circumstances in aggravation pursuant to Section 1170 of the Penal Code or to deny probation.

(l) When a law enforcement agency has been notified pursuant to Section 1155 that a minor has escaped from a secure detention facility, the law enforcement agency shall release the name of, and any descriptive information about, the minor to a person who specifically requests this information. The law enforcement agency may release the information on the minor without a request to do so if it finds that release of the information would be necessary to assist in recapturing the minor or that it would be necessary to protect the public from substantial physical harm.

(m) For purposes of this section, a “juvenile police record” refers to records or information relating to the taking of a minor into custody, temporary custody, or detention.

(n) For purposes of this section, with respect to a juvenile police record, “any other juvenile” refers to additional minors who were taken into custody or temporary custody, or detained and who also could be considered a subject of the juvenile police record.

(o) An evaluation of the efficacy of the procedures for the release of police records containing information about minors as described in this section shall be conducted by the juvenile court and law enforcement in Los Angeles County and the results of that evaluation shall be reported to the Legislature on or before December 31, 2006.

(p) This section shall only apply to Los Angeles County.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 858, Sec. 3. (AB 1945) Effective January 1, 2017.)