Juvenile access chart

Date: 
May 1, 2012

The following chart provides at-a-glance information about the right of access to juvenile courts in each state. As with the remainder of this guide, it approaches the issue from the point of view of members of the news media. It is designed to supplement, not serve as a substitute for, the in-depth information included for each jurisdiction. Keep in mind that in many states, the media must file a motion or otherwise notify the court of their intent to attend - and, where relevant, bring cameras or other recording devices into - a particular proceeding. Also be aware that the chart does not indicate the extent of information available in those jurisdictions where juvenile court or law enforcement records may be publicly disclosed. The language should be interpreted as follows:   Where the information indicates that certain proceedings and records are generally open, there is a right of public access except in certain circumstances where, for example, a judge determines that closure is necessary to protect the interests of the child involved;  Conversely, where the information indicates that certain proceedings and records are not generally open, there is not a right of public access except in certain circumstances where, for example, the court finds that an individual has a legitimate interest in the case or in the work of the court and thus should be admitted;  Where a box indicates “certain offenses and ages” or “certain child abuse and neglect,” for example, there is a right of public access to those proceedings or records where they involve, respectively, certain statutorily designated offenses committed by juveniles of a certain statutorily designated age and certain statutorily designated cases involving child abuse or neglect; The ≥ symbol followed by a number indicates a juvenile of that age or older, i.e., “ ≥  14 and felony” indicates a delinquency case involving a juvenile 14 years old or older charged with a felony offense if committed by an adult; and  Where there is no information beneath the column about law enforcement records, the relevant law does not address the right of public access to police or other criminal-agency records.

 

State

Delinquency proceedings generally open?

Dependency proceedings generally open?

Delinquency records generally open?

Law enforcement records generally open?

Dependency records
generally open?

Cameras in juvenile court?

Alabama

no

no

statistics only

 

statistics only

no

Alaska

no

yes

no

 

certain abuse and neglect

no

Arizona

yes

yes

yes

 

certain abuse and neglect

no

Arkansas

yes

no

statistics only

felonies

 

no

California

violent crimes

yes

if proceeding was open; violent crime

≥ 14 and serious felony

certain abuse and neglect; if proceeding was open

no

Colorado

yes

yes

no

certain offenses; tried as an adult; escaped

certain abuse and neglect

no

Connecticut

yes

yes

no

escaped; wanted for felony

no

no

Delaware

felonies

no

certain offenses

felonies and serious misdemeanors

no

no

District of Columbia

yes

yes

no

 

no

no

Florida

yes

yes

statistics only

felonies and repeat misdemeanors

statistics only

no

Georgia

yes

yes

certain offenses

 

certain abuse and neglect

yes

Hawaii

no

no

certain offenses and ages

 

no

no

Idaho

≥ 14 and felony

no

≥ 14 and felony

 

no

no

Illinois

yes

yes

certain offenses and ages

tried as an adult

no

no

Indiana

felonies

yes

certain offenses and ages

yes

certain abuse and neglect; threat to community

no

Iowa

yes

yes

no

tried as an adult

certain abuse and neglect

yes

Kansas

≥ 16

termination of parental rights

certain offenses and ages

certain offenses and ages

certain abuse and neglect

no

Kentucky

no

no

no

no

certain abuse and neglect

no

Louisiana

certain offenses

no

statistics only

certain offenses and ages; escaped; wanted for serious offenses

no

no

Maine

certain offenses

no

if proceeding was open

at time of charging

certain abuse and neglect

no

Maryland

felonies

no

no

 

no

no

Massachusetts

murder or by indictment

no

 if by indictment

certain offenses and ages

no

no

Michigan

yes

yes

yes

 

no

no

Minnesota

≥ 16 and felony

yes

≥ 16 and felony

 

yes

no

Mississippi

no

no

certain offenses

at time of custody; missing; abducted; statistics

certain abuse and neglect

no

Missouri

certain offenses

yes

certain offenses

tried as an adult; certain offenses

yes

no

Montana

yes

not specified

yes

 

certain abuse and neglect

no

Nebraska

not specified

not specified

yes

 

yes

yes

Nevada

yes

depends on location

if proceeding was open; certain offenses

 

no

no

New Hampshire

no

no

certain offenses and ages

escaped

no

no

New Jersey

transfer hearings only

no

certain offenses

 

no

no

New Mexico

yes

yes

no

 

certain abuse and neglect

no

New York

yes

yes

no

 

certain abuse and neglect

no

North Carolina

yes

no

no

runaway

certain abuse and neglect

no

North Dakota

contempt; certain transfer hearings

no

if proceeding was open; general, non-identifying  information

tried as an adult; escaped; wanted for felony; general, non-identifying information

general, non-identifying information

no

Ohio

yes

yes

tried as an adult; if proceeding was open; certain offenses

 

no

yes

Oklahoma

certain offenses

no

certain offenses and ages

certain offenses and ages

certain abuse and neglect

no

Oregon

yes

yes

limited info.

 

certain abuse and neglect; limited information

no

Pennsylvania

certain offenses and ages

no

certain offenses and ages

if court records are open; tried as an adult

no

no

Rhode Island

no

no

tried as an adult; convicted in juvenile court

tried as an adult; convicted in juvenile court

certain abuse and neglect

no

South Carolina

no

no

tried as an adult; certain offenses

tried as an adult; certain offenses; escaped

certain abuse and neglect

no

South Dakota

≥ 16 and violent crime

no

no

tried as an adult; criminally convicted

certain abuse and neglect

no

Tennessee

yes

yes

≥ 14 and certain offenses; traffic violations

tried as an adult

certain abuse and neglect

yes

Texas

≥ 14

not specified

missing; wanted

missing; wanted

certain abuse and neglect

no

Utah

≥ 14 and certain offense

yes

≥ 14 and felony

 

no

no

Vermont

no

no

tried as an adult

tried as an adult

no

no

Virginia

≥ 14 and felony; adult charged with a crime

no

≥ 14 and certain offenses

≥ 14 and certain offenses; escaped

no

no

Washington

yes

no

yes

 

no

no

West Virginia

no

no

tried as an adult; certain offenses

 

certain abuse and neglect

no

Wisconsin

no

no

no

escaped; general, non-identifying information

certain abuse and neglect

no

Wyoming

contempt

no

tried as an adult; certain offenses

 

no

no