Can the JRB give the family a copy of police report?The statute that applies to the release of police reports in juvenile cases is CGS §46b-124. In subsection (a), it defines "records of cases of juvenile matters" as including, but not limited to, “court records, records regarding juveniles maintained by the Court Support Services Division, records regarding juveniles maintained by an organization or agency that has contracted with the Judicial Branch to provide services to juveniles, records of law enforcement agencies including fingerprints, photographs and physical descriptions, and medical, psychological, psychiatric and social welfare studies and reports by juvenile probation officers, public or private institutions, social agencies and clinics.”
Since it is still possible that a JRB case may not be concluded successfully, and may therefore be referred to the court, the police report in a JRB case could be considered a “record of a case of a juvenile matter.”
Although the law does appear to permit the release of such records in a delinquency case (assuming it is a delinquency case and not a FWSN case), the statute really speaks to the court releasing the records, not the police. So, for a case referred to the juvenile court, a parent of a person under 18, or a person 18 or older could request a copy of the police report from the court under this statute and the court would probably authorize its release after redacting any information that implicated the right to confidentiality of another person (a juvenile co-defendant, victim of sexual assault, etc.).
In my opinion therefore, the police would not release a copy of the report to a juvenile or their parent in a case referred to the juvenile court. That request should be made of the court.
Similarly with a JRB case. While the JRB is a diversion from the court process, it is still possible that the case would be referred to court at some point. For that reason, I would not expect the police to release the report to the parent or the juvenile in a JRB case either.
If the JRB is asked to release a copy of the police report to the family, the request should be denied until the case is closed by the JRB.
Having said that, I would want to know why the family is requesting the report. Are they seeking some type of retaliation against the victim or a witness? Are they planning on bringing a complaint against the police for the way the case was handled? Not that all of those reasons would justify withholding the report, but I might be more willing to provide them with a copy if it was a clear cut case, involving only the accused and there were no other collateral issues and the family had a legitimate reason for requesting the copy. Keep in mind that access to the JRB program assumes acknowledgement of responsibility for the crime alleged. If a family blames or seeks revenge against someone named in the report or claims the police acted improperly, perhaps the JRB is not the appropriate forum to deal with those issues and perhaps the case should go to court so everyone’s rights are protected.
If closed as unsuccessful, the report should not be provided because the case could become a court case at that point and any such request should be made to the court. If the case is completed successfully, then the JRB should report the successful completion to the police who could then provide a copy of the report to the family as long as the names and any other identifying information about anyone else with an independent right to confidentiality (such as another juvenile suspect or the victim of a sexual assault) is redacted from the report. At that point, the report is merely the report of the police investigation of a matter involving the juvenile that is closed and not subject to the law applicable to the confidentiality of juvenile records. The family should be advised that if they disclose the information about their child to anyone else, there is nothing the police or the JRB can do about any further disclosure by such third person.
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