Senate Bill No. 515
(By Senator Craigo)
[Introduced February 19, 1996; referred to the Committee on
A BILL to amend and reenact section seventeen, article five,
chapter forty-nine of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to
allowing the names of juveniles who commit crimes when they
are sixteen years of age or older to be disclosed.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section seventeen, article five, chapter forty-nine of
the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one,
as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 5. JUVENILE PROCEEDINGS.
§49-5-17. Expungement of records; exceptions; no discrimination.
(a) One year after the child's eighteenth birthday, or one
year after personal or juvenile jurisdiction
shall have has terminated, whichever is later, the records of a juvenile
proceeding conducted under this chapter that are related to a
crime allegedly committed when the child was under sixteen years
of age, including law-enforcement files and records,
fingerprints, physical evidence and all other records pertaining
to said the proceeding shall be expunged by operation of law.
When records are expunged, they shall be returned to the court in
which the case was pending and kept in a separate confidential
file and not opened except upon order of the court.
(b) Expungement shall be accomplished by physically marking
the records to show that
such the records have been expunged and
by the secure sealing and filing of said the records in such a
manner that no one can determine the identity of said the
juvenile except as provided in subsection (d) of this section.
Expungement shall have has the legal effect as if the offense
(c) The child's counsel, parent, guardian or custodian, the
court, law-enforcement agencies and other public and private
agencies, in response to a request for record information related
to a crime that the child allegedly committed when he or she was
less than sixteen years of age, shall reply that juvenile records are not public records and are available only by order of the
circuit court in which the case was pending.
(d) Notwithstanding this or any other provision of this code
to the contrary, after the effective date of the reenactment of
this section juvenile records and law-enforcement records
relating to crimes allegedly committed when a child was less than
sixteen years of age shall not be disclosed or made available for
inspection except as follows:
(1) If a juvenile case is transferred to the criminal
jurisdiction of the court, and upon the happening of any of the
(A) The failure of the juvenile transferred to timely file
an appeal of the order of transfer; or
(B) The refusal of the supreme court of appeals to hear the
petition of the juvenile appealing the order of transfer; or
(C) The affirming of the order of transfer by the supreme
court of appeals, then all records of the case generated
thereafter shall be open to public inspection, under all of the
same structures and guidelines and requirements of law as exist
regarding records for the prosecution of adults.
(2) The court may also, by written order pursuant to a written petition, permit disclosure when:
(A) A court having juvenile jurisdiction has the child
before it in a juvenile proceeding;
(B) A court exercising criminal jurisdiction over the child
such the records for the purpose of a presentence report
or other dispositional proceeding;
(C) The child or counsel for the child requests disclosure
or inspection of
such the records;
(D) The officials of public institutions to which a child is
such the records for transfer, parole or
discharge considerations; or
(E) A person doing research requests disclosure, on the
condition that information which would identify the child or
family involved in the proceeding shall not be divulged.
(e) No individual, firm, corporation or other entity shall,
on account of a person's prior involvement in a proceeding under
this article and related to a crime allegedly committed when the
child was less than sixteen years of age, discriminate against
any person in access to, terms of, or conditions of employment,
housing, education, credit, contractual rights or otherwise.
(f) No records of a child convicted under the criminal jurisdiction of the court pursuant to subdivision (1), subsection
(d), section ten of this article shall be expunged.
(g) Any person who willfully violates this section
is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall
be fined not more than one thousand dollars, or confined in jail
not more than six months, or shall be both such fine fined and
imprisonment imprisoned, and shall be is liable for damages in
the amount of three hundred dollars or actual damages, whichever
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to allow the names of
juveniles who commit crimes when they are sixteen years of age or
older to be disclosed.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken
from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language
that would be added.