Courts, legislators spar over new law limiting access to juvenile records

  • Article by: Abby Simons , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 1, 2014 - 9:16 PM

A recommendation that courts not implement a new measure limiting access to some records has led to a hearing next month.

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reidJan. 1, 14 8:12 PM

Huh? The courts get to determine which records are private and which ones are not? I believe the legislature makes the laws, and the courts interpret them. Did the court read the constitution a bit differently than most people? The article's explanation of why some are on paper and open and the electronic versions are not as available as adult records made a lot of sense.

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weedsnifferJan. 1, 14 8:39 PM

If you are a convicted felon your records should be available no matter what your age.

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totaltruthJan. 2, 14 9:01 AM

A felony is an "adult" crime, with victims... No matter what the age of an individual... Why would we hide the records of a criminal??? Certainly not to protect current and future victims...

Unfortunately in Minnesota we have gone the route of "Protect the criminal" & "Ignore the victims".

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bannedmuggsJan. 2, 14 9:26 AM

Depending how the juvenile information is used, this could be good and bad.

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mnfishJan. 2, 14 9:46 AM

Why are we looking for ways to make it easier for young adults, who have a criminal history, to make it "up" in life? Based on their life choices....they should live with the extended consequences. Typical government....always trying to push up the least useful and least contributing portions of society. Climbing up the ladder of life SHOULD be much tougher if you have a criminal past.....common sense has been replaced with PC throughout this country, sad.

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brucelieJan. 2, 14 9:47 AM

In this case "Justice" means that law abiding citizens must be ignorant of felony convictions for job applicants, on-line dating prospects, college entrance, etc.

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greatxJan. 2, 1410:02 AM

"If you are a convicted felon your records should be available no matter what your age."

The problem I have weedsniffer, is that society has passed so many laws that are now a "felony" to start with.

Soon the state will build a fence and we will need to ask permission to leave...

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snickelodeonJan. 2, 1410:18 AM

"Young adults, who have a criminal history… should live with the extended consequences." The problem with your argument, mnfish, is that if those with a criminal past cannot find a way to "climb up the ladder" to a job and a decent life, society will also live with "extended consequences." If the doors to employment are slammed shut, they'll have to find a way to support themselves somehow, most likely by returning to crime. They'll end up back in jail, with taxpayers picking up the tab. The cost to society -- in terms of economics, and public safety -- is simply too high not to provide young adults with a criminal history with a second chance.

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dewarfJan. 2, 1410:52 AM

Tough issue to achieve the proper balance. We desire to give young people a 'second chance', but at the same time protect the public. Notice a lot of support for this legislation comes from 'public defenders', i.e., lawyers defending these felons. I'd expect that. Recent legislation also restricts employers from inquiring as to an applicant's criminal background. Does that same legislation protect the employer from all liability and financial loss if he/she hires a person knowing of their criminal record and the employee commits another crime? Do these new laws require 'measurement', so that after a year or two, the results can be tallied and the legislation revised, if necessary? Too often, once new laws are on the books they continue forever regardless if they're achieving the desired results. How do these new laws regarding criminal records and employment achieve that proper level of balance? Only through measurement. If it's worth doing -- measure it and require the results to be published. Then revise as necessary.

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dewarfJan. 2, 1411:13 AM

snickelodeon: I don't disagree. We understand the dilemma. But what's the solution? Great leaders always tell you, "don't bring me a problem without proposing a solution". Are you suggesting that restricting access to their criminal records will result in their 'climbing the ladder'? To what extent? At what cost? What constitutes success? What ensures proper balance? How are we measuring success or failure and in what time-frame? Is revision required if the stated level of success is not achieved? Or are we simply passing another feel-good law, or because we don't know what else to do? I'm not saying this legislation is bad -- but put proper measurements in place and a time-line that requires specific, balanced results to be achieved. "If it's worth doing -- it's worth measuring".

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