California Governor Brown Signs SB 312 Authorizing Courts to Seal Juvenile Records for Certain Offenses

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On October 11, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law several pieces of criminal justice reform legislation that included Senate Bill 312 (SB 312) which is supposed to improve the state’s juvenile justice systems by authorizing courts to seal juvenile records for certain offenses.

“These bills make vital progress toward a justice system that is fair and balanced. My bill, SB 312, creates a path for young people with a past offense to prove they deserve a second chance and clear their criminal records,” SB 312 author and State Senator Nancy Skinner (District 9) said in a press release.

According to Skinner, SB 312 removes lifetime barriers to jobs, education, housing, military service, and other re-entry barriers for California juveniles who are now barred by Proposition 21 from sealing, and then only after they meet specific rehabilitation and crime-free criteria applied by the juvenile court.

Individuals eligible for sealing of a 707(b) record under SB 312 would be subject to downstream use of the sealed record by prosecutors, courts, and probation if they come back to the criminal justice system on a subsequent felony offense. SB 312 is designed to promote rehabilitation and to reduce recidivism.

Specifically, SB 312 modifies the lifetime ban on sealing a juvenile offense record involving a specified serious or violent offense committed when the individual was 14 years of age or older, and replaces it with language permitting the person to petition for record sealing under certain circumstances.

The bill also provides that a record that has been sealed pursuant to the sealing by petition process may be accessed, inspected, or utilized in a subsequent proceeding in certain circumstances. The full text of SB 312 is at https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB312.

ESR News also reported that a California law that took effect on January 1, 2017 – Assembly Bill 1843 (AB 1843) – prohibits employers from considering certain juvenile records for employment purposes or asking job applicants to disclose information concerning certain juvenile records.

More ESR News Blogs about Juvenile Records

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check firm headquartered in the San Francisco, CA-area – is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). To read more blogs about juvenile records, visit www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/tag/Juvenile/.

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