Why we show what we do on on juvenile defendants

KB article ID:5800

The Electronic Access Policy does not offer any guidance on showing data on juvenile/minor/youth litigants

The Electronic Access Policy does not make any specific reference to juvenile litigants or cases. Rather, para. 4.30(a), simply defers to the Manual on Recordkeeping, saying:

    • Information that is impounded, sealed, or expunged pursuant to law or by court rule, order of court, or pursuant to the Manual on Recordkeeping shall be excluded from public access in electronic form.

The Manual on Recordkeeping does not appear to require the impoundment of non-juvenile cases such as TR/OV/CV.

1L1.a. of the Manual on Recordkeeping indicates that impounding is required for "juvenile" cases, and 1B3 effective defines juvenile cases are those governed by Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (705 ILCS 405/)

The Juvenile Court Act of 1987 offers no guidance on public access to the TR/OV/CV cases of a juvenile/minor/youth.

    • Sec. 1-8(A) of the Act effectively prohibits the public from seeing the court records of "a minor who is the subject of a proceeding under this Act".

    • But Sec. 1-3(10) of the Act defines a minor as "a person under the age of 21 years subject to this Act".

    • So if the defendant is not subject to the Act, as with TR/OV/CV, the Act offers no guidance.

There are statutory obligations to make available info when a juvenile is tried as an adult, but only for a specified list of serious offenses (e.g. first degree murder).

    • To see these very specific obligations, go to the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 and search for "(1) The court shall allow the general public to have"

But Judici does allow courts to hide ALL cases involving youths

    • The offense-specific nature of the aforementioned statute on this would be hard to implement in Judici, and even harder to explain to the public

    • Many Clerks and parents feel that no cases involving young people, even TR/OV/CV, should be open to the public.

    • So, as a convenience, we created a fairly broad, optional privacy rule to hide all cases with litigants under the age of 18. We chose a cutoff age of 18, because:

        • it is a commonly-accepted standard

        • parents don't protest after their child reaches that age

    • Does your court prefer to strictly follow the aforementioned statute on this subject?

        • If "No", remember that the information is available at the courthouse, and that online access is explicitly allowed to play by local rules

        • If "Yes", then the court should not invoke the aforementioned "age 18" optional privacy rule, and then impound all such cases in which the defendant is under