When we refer a juvenile to the JRB, is it considered an arrest. Reason asking is under FOI all juveniles records can be obtained except arrest. We are trying to come up with a way that FOI request cannot be honored. We plan on rejecting them if they come in, but want to make sure we could prevail in an appeal process.I would say that when a juvenile is referred to the JRB for a delinquent act, it would be considered to be an arrest. In my opinion, an "arrest" occurs when the police have probable cause to believe a crime, or in this case, a "delinquent act," has been committed by the child, and they accuse the child of violating the law. The fact that the officer then decides to divert the case to the JRB, rather than referring it to the juvenile court, does not change the fact that the child has been "arrested" and charged by the police with the commission of a delinquent act.
Also, even if referred to the JRB, the information about the arrest would remain confidential because if the JRB process is unsuccessful, then the case would be returned to the police who could then refer it to the juvenile court.
Having said that, I am also of the opinion that certain JRB information should be discloseable to a “victim” under certain circumstances. Had the case gone to court rather than the JRB, the victim in the case would have certain rights. Those rights include learning the identity of the child, learning the outcome of the case and the right to make an impact statement to the judge prior to the imposition of the sentence or disposition. It is my belief that the victim should not be denied these rights just because the child elects to take advantage of the JRB diversion. Therefore, the JRB intake forms should include a provision providing notice and a waiver by the child and the child's family agreeing that the JRB can disclose to the victim, if requested, identifying information about the child and the child's family and the outcome of the case. The victim should also be permitted to submit an impact statement, or if requested, have the opportunity to address the JRB, without the child present, regarding the impact the offense had on them.
In court cases, the victim also has the opportunity to sit in on any court hearings involving the case unless excluded by the judge. Since JRB hearings are not conducted as a court hearing, I think it is appropriate to not permit victims to sit in on JRB hearings since they have the opportunities mentioned above to learn the child's identity, the outcome of the case and to express their feelings before the final hearing.
The intake forms that contain such a notice and waiver are found here.
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