BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 666


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          Date of Hearing:  April 14, 2015
          Counsel:               Stella Choe



                         ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY


                                  Bill Quirk, Chair





          AB  
                      666 (Mark Stone) - As Amended  April 9, 2015




          SUMMARY:  Requires records in the custody of law enforcement  
          agencies, the probation department, or any other public agency  
          having records pertaining to the case, to also be sealed, in a  
          case where a court has ordered a juvenile's records to be  
          sealed, as specified. Specifically, this bill:

          1)Requires the court to send a copy of the order to each agency  
            and official named therein, directing the agency to seal its  
            records and specifying a date thereafter to destroy the sealed  
            records.  

          2)States that each such agency and official shall seal the  
            records in its custody as directed by the order, advise the  
            court of its compliance and thereupon seal the copy of the  
            court's order or sealing of records that was received.  

          3)Requires the court to provide notice to the minor and minor's  
            counsel that it has ordered the petition dismissed and the  
            record sealed in the case, including notice of the minor's  
            right to nondisclosure of the arrest and proceedings as  
            specified.









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          4)States that upon the court's order of dismissal of the  
            petition, the arrest and other proceedings in the case shall  
            be deemed not to have occurred and the person who was the  
            subject of the petition may properly reply accordingly to any  
            inquiry by employers, educational institutions or other  
            persons or entities regarding the arrest and proceedings in  
            the case.

          5)Provides that satisfactory completion of informal supervision  
            or another term of probation shall be deemed to have occurred  
            if the person has no new finding of wardship or conviction for  
            a felony offense for or a misdemeanor involving moral  
            turpitude during the period of supervision or probation and if  
            he or she has not failed substantially to comply with the  
            reasonable orders of supervision or probation that are within  
            his or her capacity to perform.  

          6)Prohibits the extension of the period of supervision or  
            probation solely for the purpose of deferring or delaying  
            eligibility for dismissal of the petition and sealing of the  
            records. 

          7)States that an unfulfilled order or condition of restitution  
            that can be converted to a civil judgment shall not be deemed  
            to constitute unsatisfactory completion of supervision or  
            probation.

          8)Specifies that a record that has been ordered sealed by the  
            court under this section may be accessed, inspected or used  
            only under the following circumstances:

             a)   By the prosecuting attorney and the probation department  
               for the limited purpose of determining whether the minor is  
               eligible for deferred entry of judgment or for a program of  
               supervision, as defined.

             b)   By the court for the limited purpose of verifying the  
               prior jurisdictional purpose of a ward who is petitioning  
               the court to resume its jurisdiction.

             c)   If a new petition has been filed against a minor for a  
               felony offense, by the probation department for the limited  








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               purpose of identifying the minor's previous court-ordered  
               programs or placements, and in that event solely to  
               determine the individual's eligibility or suitability for  
               remedial programs or services.  The information obtained  
               under this exception shall not be disseminated to other  
               agencies or individuals, except as necessary to implement  
               referral to a remedial program or service, and shall not be  
               used to support the imposition of penalties or detention or  
               other sanctions upon the minor.

             d)   By the person whose record has been sealed, upon his or  
               her request and petition to the court to permit inspection  
               of the records.

          9)States that access to or inspection of a sealed record  
            authorized by these provisions shall not be deemed an opening  
            of the record and shall not require notice to any other  
            agency.

          10)Requires Judicial Council to adopt rules of court, and shall  
            make available appropriate forms, providing for the  
            standardized implementation of this section by the juvenile  
            courts.

          11)Revises the exclusion of 707(b) offenses from sealing under  
            this section to specify that the offense must have been  
            committed when the minor was 14 years of age or older.

          12)States the finding of the Legislature that in order to  
            protect the privacy of children who have had their juvenile  
            delinquency court records sealed, it is necessary that related  
            records in the custody of law enforcement agencies, the  
            probation department, or any other public agency also be  
            sealed.

          EXISTING LAW:  

          1)Provides that five years or more after the jurisdiction of the  
            juvenile court has terminated over a person adjudged a ward of  
            the court or after a minor appeared before a probation  
            officer, or, in any case, at any time after the person has  
            reached the age of 18, the person or county probation officer,  








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            with specified exceptions, may petition the juvenile court for  
            sealing of the records, including arrest records, relating to  
            the person's case, in the custody of the juvenile court, the  
            probation officer, or any other agency or public official.   
            (Welf. & Inst. Code,  781, subd. (a).)
          2)States that once the court has ordered the person's records  
            sealed, the proceedings in the case shall be deemed never to  
            have occurred, and the person may reply accordingly to any  
            inquiry about the events.  (Welf. & Inst. Code,  781, subd.  
            (a).)



          3)Prohibits, notwithstanding any other provision of law, the  
            court from ordering a person's records sealed in any case in  
            which the person has been found to have committed an offense  
            listed in section 707(b), which are offenses for which certain  
            minors could be tried in adult court.  (Welf. & Inst. Code,   
            781, subd. (a).)


          4)Permits the court to access a file that has been sealed for  
            the limited purpose of verifying the prior jurisdictional  
            status of the ward who is petitioning the court to resume its  
            jurisdiction, as specified.  This access is not to be deemed  
            an unsealing of the records.  (Welf. & Inst. Code,  781,  
            subd. (e).)


          5)Allows a judge of the juvenile court in which a petition was  
            filed to dismiss the petition, or to set aside the findings  
            and dismiss the petition, if the court finds that the  
            interests of justice and the welfare of the person who is the  
            subject of the petition require that dismissal, or if it finds  
            that he or she is not in need of treatment or rehabilitation.  
            The court has jurisdiction to order dismissal or setting aside  
            of the findings and dismissal regardless of whether the person  
            who is the subject of the petition is, at the time of the  
            order, a ward or dependent child of the court.  (Welf. & Inst.  
            Code,  782.)










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          6)Provides that, if a minor satisfactorily completes an informal  
            program of supervision, probation as specified, or a term of  
            probation for any offense other than a specified serious,  
            sexual, or violent offense, then the court shall order sealed  
            all records pertaining to that dismissed petition in the  
            custody of the juvenile court, except that the prosecuting  
            attorney and the probation department of any county shall have  
            access to these records after they are sealed for the limited  
            purpose of determining whether the minor is eligible for  
            deferred entry of judgment.  The court may access a file that  
            has been sealed pursuant to this section for the limited  
            purpose of verifying the prior jurisdictional status of a ward  
            who is petitioning the court to resume its jurisdiction. This  
            access shall not be deemed an unsealing of the record and  
            shall not require notice to any other entity. (Welf. & Inst.  
            Code,  786.)


          7)States that any person who was under the age of 18 when he or  
            she was arrested for a misdemeanor may petition the court in  
            which the proceedings occurred or, if there were no court  
            proceedings, the court in whose jurisdiction the arrest  
            occurred, for an order sealing the records in the case,  
            including any records of arrest and detention, in certain  
            circumstances.  (Pen. Code,  851.7.)


          8)Provides that a person who was under the age of 18 at the time  
            of commission of a misdemeanor and is eligible for, or has  
            previously received expungement relief, may petition the court  
            for an order sealing the record of conviction and other  
            official records in the case, including arrest records and  
            records relating to other offenses charged in the accusatory  
            pleading, whether the defendant was acquitted, or the charges  
            dismissed.  Thereafter the conviction, arrest, or other  
            proceeding shall be deemed not to have occurred, and the  
            petitioner may answer accordingly any question relating to  
            their occurrence.  (Pen. Code,  1203.45, subd. (a).)

          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown

          COMMENTS:  








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          1)Author's Statement:  According to the author, "AB 666 is an  
            important measure that can reduce recidivism and open doors to  
            jobs and education for many of California youth.  The goal is  
            to open pathways to college and jobs for justice-involved  
            youth whose criminal records and histories stand in the way of  
            employment and other re-entry opportunities.  SB 1038 (Leno,  
            2014) revised the central policy and process for the sealing  
            and dismissal of charges in non-violent juvenile delinquency  
            cases.  However, in the past few months experience in the  
            courts has revealed implementation concerns.  If passed AB 666  
            will provide for statewide standards for the courts and ensure  
            access of youth to jobs and higher education."

          2)Sealing and Destruction of Records: Minors adjudicated  
            delinquent in juvenile court proceedings may petition the  
            court to have their records sealed unless they were found to  
            have committed certain serious offenses.  (Welf. & Inst. Code,  
             781.)  A person may have his or her juvenile court records  
            sealed by petitioning the court "five years or more after the  
            jurisdiction of the juvenile court has terminated over [the]  
            person adjudged a ward of the court or after [the] minor  
            appeared before a probation officer, or, in any case, at any  
            time after the person has reached the age of 18." (Welf. &  
            Inst. Code,  781, subd. (a).) Once the court has ordered the  
            records sealed, the proceedings in the case shall be deemed  
            never to have occurred, and the person may properly reply  
            accordingly to any inquiry about the events. (Ibid.) The  
            relief consists of sealing all of the records related to the  
            case, including the arrest record, court records, entries on  
            dockets, and any other papers and exhibits. The court must  
            send a copy of the order to each agency and official named in  
            the petition for sealing records, directing the agency to seal  
            its records and stating the date thereafter to destroy the  
            sealed records. (Ibid.) 

            The court may also order the dismissal of a minor's juvenile  
            court case and have the court records sealed without a  
            petition from the minor if the minor has been found to have  
            satisfactorily completed an informal program of supervision or  
            probation, except in specified cases. (Welf. & Inst. Code,   
            786.)  Upon sealing of the record, the arrest upon which the  








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            judgment was deferred shall be deemed to have never occurred.   
            (Ibid.) The court shall order sealed all records in its  
            custody pertaining to a petition dismissed. (Ibid.) The  
            prosecuting attorney and the probation department of any  
            county shall have access to these records after they are  
            sealed for the limited purpose of determining whether the  
            minor is eligible for deferred entry of judgment.  The court  
            may access the sealed file for the limited purpose of  
            verifying the prior jurisdictional status of a ward who is  
            petitioning the court to resume its jurisdiction.  (Ibid.)

            The automatic dismissal and sealing of a minor's juvenile  
            court records described above was established by SB 1038  
            (Leno), Chapter 249, Statutes of 2014. According to the bill  
            analysis, "[b]ecause the petition to seal requires the  
            involvement of the probation office, the prosecutor, and the  
            court, there are often lengthy delays as well as significant  
            costs associated with sealing.  Moreover, many youth are  
            unaware of their right to petition, or may have moved out of  
            state and are unable to complete the process. 

            "The fact that many youth are unaware of their right to seal  
            their juvenile record, or are unable to complete the process  
            due to procedural, logistical or financial barriers is a  
            serious shortcoming of our juvenile justice system. . . .  SB  
            1038 seeks to remedy these shortcomings in current law by  
            streamlining the process for sealing a juvenile's record . . .  


            "In doing so, this bill will further the dual purposes of the  
            juvenile justice system: rehabilitation and reintegration, by  
            better ensuring that juveniles have a clear pathway to  
            clearing their records, when in compliance with existing  
            statutory and probationary requirements.  The bill recognizes  
            the established role of California's Juvenile Courts as  
            institutions of reform, not punishment, and will help  
            individuals with juvenile records to find and hold jobs, and  
            become fully functioning members of society." (Sen. Com. on  
            Public Safety, Analysis of Sen. Bill No. 1038 (2013-2014 Reg.  
            Sess.) as amended Mar. 28, 2014.)

            Unlike the sealing process under Welfare and Institutions Code  








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             781, SB 1038 did not require the court to order records  
            sealed in the possession of other public agencies such as law  
            enforcement or probation. Arrest records and probation records  
            can be damaging on an individual's ability to pursue higher  
            education or find a job. This bill seeks to address these  
            concerns by requiring those records to be sealed as well, and  
            provides access to those records for the limited purposes of  
            determining DEJ eligibility or suitability for referral to a  
            program or service, and resuming the court's jurisdiction. The  
            bill specifies that the information in the records "shall not  
            be used to support the imposition of penalties or detention or  
            other sanctions upon the minor."  This bill also clarifies  
            that the 707(b) exclusion from sealing applies if the offense  
            was committed when the minor was 14 years of age or older,  
            which mirrors the exclusion in Welfare and Institutions Code   
            781.  
            
          3)Deferred Entry of Judgment (DEJ):  DEJ is a form of diversion.  
             Generally, if a defendant is granted DEJ, entry of judgment  
            on the defendant's guilty plea is deferred pending successful  
            completion of a program or other conditions.  If a defendant  
            placed in a DEJ program fails to complete the program or  
            comply with the conditions imposed by the court, criminal  
            proceedings resume and the defendant, having already pleaded  
            guilty, is sentenced.  

            In the juvenile justice setting, DEJ is available to minors  
            who are at least 14 years of age and alleged to have committed  
            a felony offense.  Additionally, the minor must have not been  
            previously declared a ward of the court for the commission of  
            a felony offense; the current offense charged must not be one  
            of the enumerated offenses in Welfare and Institutions Code  
            section 707(b); the minor must not have previously been  
            committed to the custody of the Division of Juvenile Justice;  
            the minor's record must not indicate that probation has ever  
            been revoked without being completed; and the minor must be  
            eligible for probation.  (Welf. & Inst. Code,  790, subd.  
            (a).)

            The prosecuting attorney has to duty to determine whether the  
            minor is eligible for DEJ and file a declaration with the  
            court or state on the record the grounds upon which the  








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            determination was made.  The minor must admit to the charges  
            and the court must also find that the minor is suitable for  
            DEJ.  (Welf. & Inst. Code,  790, subd. (b).) This bill allows  
            access to sealed juvenile court records in order to determine  
            whether a minor is eligible for DEJ.
            
          4)Argument in Support:  According to Commonweal, the sponsor of  
            this bill, "SB 1038 requires the Juvenile Court to seal the  
            court records and to dismiss the petition in delinquency cases  
            where the minor has satisfactorily completed probation or a  
            program of informal probation supervision. Sealing and  
            dismissal under Section 786 are intended to be automatic  
            (court-initiated), as an alternative to the existing,  
            cumbersome and costly petition process that is so little  
            utilized and largely inaccessible by former juvenile  
            offenders.  

            "AB 666 meets needs that have become apparent since SB 1038  
            was enacted, including:

             a)   Inconsistent implementation. Implementation of the  
               auto-sealing and dismissal provisions of Section 786 has  
               been inconsistent among California courts, based on the  
               information we are getting from counsel in sealing cases.  
               Some courts are asking for prior probation department  
               approval to initiate the new sealing process or are  
               requiring that the minor make the sealing request-even  
               though the process in qualifying cases was intended to be  
               self-initiated by the Court. AB 666 would require the  
               Judicial Council to adopt rules and forms to assure the  
               consistent and standardized implementation of the new  
               sealing law.

             b)   Records not covered. In addition, SB 1038 did not cover  
               arrest and other law enforcement records.  A key goal of SB  
               1038 was to open doors to employment and higher education  
               for former juvenile offenders who have met their justice  
               system obligations.  To achieve this goal, arrest and  
               probation records need to be included in the scope of  
               records that the court requires to be sealed upon  
               dismissing the charges. AB 666 adds this protection, which  
               also brings Section 786 into alignment with the older  








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               sealing statute, WIC Section 781.

            . . .

            "We also indicate our support for . . . better guidance to  
            courts in determining what constitutes 'satisfactory  
            completion' of probation or supervision under Section 786.  We  
            are recommending that 'satisfactory completion' be defined  
            utilizing two criteria. First (drawing from WIC Section 781,  
            the 'older' sealing statute) that the individual not have been  
            adjudicated or convicted for a new felony or misdemeanor  
            involving moral turpitude during the period of supervision.  
            Second, that the person did not fail substantially to comply  
            with the reasonable orders of probation that were within his  
            or her capacity to perform.  This latter criterion is viewed  
            as providing a 'passing grade' standard for 'satisfactory'  
            completion.  Many probation orders in delinquency cases are  
            checklists of conditions that are difficult or impossible for  
            many adolescents to perform at an 'A' grade level-including  
            such conditions as 'must attend all school classes' and 'must  
            obey all orders of parents or guardian'.   On occasion,  
            children on probation backslide by perhaps failing a  drug  
            test or skipping an appointment-but this does not mean that  
            they cannot or do not rebound to a level of satisfactory  
            overall performance.  We find support in case law and prior  
            legislation for the concept that successful completion of  
            probation does not require the fulfillment of every probation  
            condition. See, for example, In re Timothy N, 216 Cal.App.4th  
            725 (2013) where the court ruled that probation was  
            successfully completed even though the minor had an  
            unfulfilled order and condition of restitution. . . [Citation  
            omitted.]

            "Our goal, after all, is to support the re-entry,  
            rehabilitation and employability of juveniles having justice  
            system histories, and not to impose lifetime barriers to  
            success based on probation performance criteria that are too  
            rigid or unrealistic from an adolescent development  
            perspective."

          5)Argument in Opposition:  According to the California District  
            Attorneys Association, "In determining what 'care, treatment,  








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            and guidance' is best for a minor, a simple rule of thumb  
            applies (and is articulated throughout the W&I code) - the  
            more information the court and other involved agencies have,  
            the more likely the juvenile justice system as a whole will be  
            able to tailor the services provided to the minor to ensure  
            that those services address the minor's specific needs.   
            Restricting access to potentially important information about  
            a minor's prior contact with law enforcement or the juvenile  
            justice system in this manner is tantamount to telling a  
                                       diagnosing physician that she cannot consider a patient's  
            entire medical record in determining a treatment plan.

          "In an effort to extend the confidentiality of juvenile records  
            so that delinquency contacts from years past do not burden  
            people unduly in the future, this bill will in fact have the  
            unfortunate effect of preventing the juvenile court,  
            probation, and other agencies from accurately assessing what  
            level of intervention and treatment is appropriate for a minor  
            who has multiple contact with the system. This certainly is  
            not of benefit to the minor, and is contrary to 'conformity  
            with the interests of public safety and protection.'"

          6)Related Legislation: AB 989 (Cooper) would authorize the  
            probation department of any county to access a minor's sealed  
            records for the limited purposes of determining a minor's  
            prior program referrals and risk-needs assessments. AB 989  
            will be heard by this Committee today.

          7)Prior Legislation:  

             a)   SB 1038 (Leno), Chapter 249, Statutes of 2014, provides  
               for the automatic dismissal of juvenile petitions and  
               sealing of records when a juvenile offender successfully  
               completes probation.

             b)   AB 1756 (Skinner), of the 2013-2014 Legislative Session,  
               would have provided that only a person 26 years of age or  
               older may be charged a fee for petitioning the court for an  
               order sealing his or her juvenile record. AB 1756 was held  
               on the Senate Committee on Appropriation's Suspense File.

          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:








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          Support


          Commonweal, The Juvenile Justice Program (Sponsor)
          American Civil Liberties Union of California
          California Attorneys for Criminal Justice
          California Coalition for Youth
          Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice 
          Juvenile Court Judges of California
          League of Women Voters of California
          Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
          National Association of Social Workers, California Chapter
          Youth Law Center


          Opposition


          California District Attorneys Association





          Analysis Prepared  
          by:              Stella Choe / PUB. S. / (916) 319-3744