Articles Tagged with juvenile crimes

This is the third post in a series on the use of DNA profiling by law enforcement in California. The focus here is on the DNA collection of juvenile offenders.

Sometimes referred to as “Section 602 proceedings,” after the California law governing delinquency proceedings, juvenile court is not a part of California’s criminal justice system. Instead, juvenile court is considered a civil proceeding where cases get “adjudicated.” Most juvenile offenders are housed in county facilities close to their home where they can keep in contact with their family and have access to social services. These juvenile offenders, depending on their charges, may be required to submit a DNA sample as part of the resolution of their juvenile delinquency case.

Whose DNA Gets Collected?

A new law that prohibits employers in the state of California from asking about a job applicant’s juvenile criminal records is set to take effect January 1of the new year. Assembly Bill (A.B.) No. 1843 amends Section 432.7 of the California Labor Code to prohibit employers from asking about or considering one’s juvenile records or involvement in the juvenile system if it did not result in a conviction. It also would bar employers from using the information as a condition of employment.

In other words, it will soon be illegal for an employer to ask a job applicant about or consider “information concerning or related to an arrest, detention, processing, diversion, supervision, adjudication, or court disposition that occurred while the person was subject to the process and jurisdiction of juvenile court law.”

Currently, the California Labor Code prohibits private and public sector employers from asking a job applicant to disclose information on an arrest or detention that did not result in a conviction or a pretrial diversion program, or an expunged record. AB. 1843 expanded these prohibitions.

California Governor Jerry Brown signed A.B. 1843 into law in September of 2016. Proponents of the bill have claimed that it would reduce the chances of a minor, especially minors from communities of color, from falling back into the justice system, since prior criminal history is a huge barrier to getting a job.

Sealing or Expunging Juvenile Records in California

Despite common misperception, juvenile records are not automatically sealed once you turn 18.  While juvenile records are not public records unlike adult criminal records, they are still accessible until a formal order from a judge seals and destroys them.

In California,  juvenile arrest records include every report and court record related to criminal activity you were involved in as a minor. This includes arrest reports, exhibits, and probation reports. Expungement (sealing) of juvenile records means that they will no longer be accessible to anyone and in alot of cases, destroyed. It has the effect of making it like the arrest or conviction never happened.

In order to qualify for expungement of juvenile records, you must be 18 years of age, and have not been convicted of a crime that involved moral turpitude as an adult. You must also not have pending civil litigation against you, and the court must be able to conclude that you have been rehabilitated. Continue reading

Last month, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis came out in public support of the new bill authored by State Sen. Marty Block (D- San Diego), SB 456, which would distinctly make it a misdemeanor crime for someone to threaten to fire a firearm on private and public school campuses.  The bill was originally introduced in February.  In the last two years alone, Dumanis states that the number of students suspended and expelled for making a terrorist threat in San Diego County has risen 35 percent, from 62 in 2011-12 to 84 students in 2013-14, according to data from the state Department of Education.  More than 130 threats to schools in the San Diego Unified School District were made over the past three years.  Statewide figures also show an increase, but at a slower rate than the San Diego School District.

Under current law, those types of crimes are charged under Penal Code 422, a generic charge for someone making a criminal threat. Specifically, the current Penal Code requires that one caused a “reasonable fear” within the person(s) threatened.  If the bill becomes law, a school firearm threat, for example, would become a specific crime subject to a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year in county jail.  The new law would remove the fear requirement and require those convicted to pay for any reasonable emergency response costs incurred by the public agency responding to the threat.

Continue reading