2020 Georgia Code
Title 15 - Courts
Chapter 11 - Juvenile Code
Article 9 - Access to Hearings and Records
§ 15-11-701. Sealing of Files and Records; Hearings; Limitations on Disclosure; Identity of Victim

Universal Citation: GA Code § 15-11-701 (2020)
  1. Upon dismissal of a petition or complaint alleging delinquency or that a child is a child in need of services or completion of the process in a case handled through informal adjustment, mediation, or other nonadjudicatory procedure, the court shall order the sealing of the files and records in the case.
  2. On application of a person who has been adjudicated for committing a delinquent act or as a child in need of services or on the court's own motion, and after a hearing, the court shall order the sealing of the files and records in the proceeding if the court finds that:
    1. Two years have elapsed since the final discharge of the person;
    2. Since the final discharge of the person he or she has not been convicted of a felony or of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude or adjudicated for committing a delinquent act or as a child in need of services and no proceeding seeking conviction or adjudication is pending against the person; and
    3. The person has been rehabilitated.
  3. On application of a person who has been adjudicated for a delinquent act or on the court's own motion, and after a hearing, the court shall order the sealing of the files and records in the proceeding, including those specified in Code Sections 15-11-702 and 15-11-708, if the court finds that the child was adjudicated for a delinquent act for a sexual crime as defined in Code Section 16-3-6 and such crime resulted from the child being:
    1. Trafficked for sexual servitude in violation of Code Section 16-5-46; or
    2. A victim of sexual exploitation as defined in Code Section 49-5-40.
  4. Reasonable notice of the hearing required by subsection (b) and (c) of this Code section shall be given to:
    1. The prosecuting attorney;
    2. DJJ, when appropriate;
    3. The authority granting the discharge if the final discharge was from an institution or from parole; and
    4. The law enforcement officers or department having custody of the files and records if the files and records specified in Code Sections 15-11-702 and 15-11-708 are included in the application or motion.
  5. Upon the entry of the order the proceeding shall be treated as if it had never occurred. All index references shall be deleted and the person, the court, the law enforcement officers, and the departments shall properly reply that no record exists pertaining to the person upon inquiry in any matter. Copies of the order shall be sent to each agency or designated official and shall also be sent to the deputy director of the Georgia Crime Information Center of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Inspection of the sealed files and records thereafter may be permitted by an order of the court upon petition by the person who is the subject of the records and otherwise only by those persons named in the order or to criminal justice officials upon petition to the court for official judicial enforcement or criminal justice purposes.
  6. The court may seal any record containing information identifying a victim of an act which, if done by an adult, would constitute a sexual offense under Chapter 6 of Title 16.

(Code 1981, §15-11-701, enacted by Ga. L. 2013, p. 294, § 1-1/HB 242.)

Cross references.

- Sealing of records, notice, and hearing, Uniform Rules for the Juvenile Courts of Georgia, Rules 3.4 - 3.7.

Administrative Rules and Regulations.

- Completeness and accuracy of criminal justice information, Official Compilation of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, Georgia Crime Information Center Council, Practice and Procedure, Rule 140-2.03.

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Editor's notes.

- In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under former Code 1933, § 24A-3504, pre-2000 Code Section 15-11-61, which were subsequently repealed but were succeeded by provisions in this Code section, are included in the annotations for this Code section. See the Editor's notes at the beginning of the chapter.

"Moral turpitude."

- In general, the phrase "moral turpitude" refers to felonies which are malum in se. In re Long, 153 Ga. App. 883, 267 S.E.2d 481 (1980) (decided under former Code 1933, § 24A-3504).

Records of the Department of Family and Children Services which are not part of a juvenile court proceeding are not sealable. In re W.J.K., 188 Ga. App. 299, 372 S.E.2d 681 (1988) (decided under former O.C.G.A. § 15-11-61).

Motion to seal juvenile court record premature.

- Juvenile court properly denied each of the minor's motions to seal the juvenile court record because the motions were filed prematurely as at least two years had to elapse from the time the minor completed the terms of the minor's sentence and was released from probation before the minor was entitled to a sealed record. In the Interest of L.T., 325 Ga. App. 590, 754 S.E.2d 380 (2014)(decided under former OCGA § 15-11-79.2)

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Editor's notes.

- In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, opinions under former Code 1933, § 24A-3504, which was subsequently repealed but was succeeded by provisions in this Code section, are included in the annotations for this Code section. See the Editor's notes at the beginning of the chapter.

Inspection by employees of adult probation and parole offices.

- Pursuant to former Code 1933, § 24A-3504 (see now O.C.G.A. § 15-11-701), a juvenile court judge may, in the judge's discretion, permit employees of an adult probation office and an adult parole office to inspect juvenile court records, except in cases where those records have been sealed under former Code 1933, § 24A-2401 (see now O.C.G.A. § 15-11-703). 1981 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U81-34 (decided under former Code 1933, § 24A-3504).

Consent of court needed for access of parole board.

- Consent of the court must be obtained on each individual to allow the State Board of Pardons and Paroles access to juvenile records, and if those records are sealed, the subject must petition the court to allow the board access to such records. 1978 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 78-76 (decided under former Code 1933, § 24A-3504).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 47 Am. Jur. 2d, Juvenile Courts and Delinquent and Dependent Children, § 116 et seq.

C.J.S.

- 43 C.J.S., Infants, § 254. 76 C.J.S., Records, § 41 et seq.

U.L.A.

- Uniform Juvenile Court Act (U.L.A.) § 57.

ALR.

- Restricting public access to judicial records of state courts, 84 A.L.R.3d 598.

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