Title 3: Executive
Chapter 7: ATTORNEY GENERAL
3 V.S.A. § 163. Juvenile court diversion project
§ 163. Juvenile court diversion project
(a) The attorney general shall develop and administer a juvenile court diversion project for the purpose of assisting juveniles charged with delinquent acts. Rules which were adopted by the Vermont commission on the administration of justice to implement the juvenile court diversion project shall be adapted by the attorney general to the programs and projects established under this section.
(b) The diversion project administered by the attorney general shall encourage the development of diversion projects in local communities through grants of financial assistance to municipalities, private groups or other local organizations. The attorney general may require local financial contributions as a condition of receipt of project grants.
(c) All diversion projects receiving financial assistance from the attorney general shall adhere to the following provisions:
(1) The diversion project shall only accept persons against whom charges have been filed and the court has found probable cause, but are not yet adjudicated.
(2) Alleged offenders shall be informed of their right to the advice and assistance of private counsel or the public defender at all stages of the diversion process, including the initial decision to participate, and the decision to accept the diversion contract, so that the candidate may give his or her informed consent.
(3) The participant shall be informed that his or her selection of the diversion contract is voluntary.
(4) Each state's attorney, in cooperation with the diversion project, shall develop clear criteria for deciding what types of offenses and offenders will be eligible for diversion; however, the state's attorney shall retain final discretion over the referral of each case for diversion.
(5) All information gathered in the course of the diversion process shall be held strictly confidential and shall not be released without the participant's prior consent (except that research and reports that do not require or establish the identity of individual participants are allowed).
(6) Information related to the present offense that is divulged during the diversion program shall not be used in the prosecutor's case. However, the fact of participation and success, or reasons for failure may become part of the prosecutor's records.
(7) The diversion project shall maintain sufficient records so that the reasons for success or failure of the program in particular cases and overall can be investigated by program staff.
(8) Diversion projects shall be set up to respect the rights of participants.
(9) Each participant shall pay a fee to the local juvenile court diversion project. The amount of the fee shall be determined by project officers based upon the financial capabilities of the participant. The fee shall not exceed $150.00. The fee shall be a debt due from the participant, and payment of such shall be required for successful completion of the program. Notwithstanding 32 V.S.A. § 502(a), fees collected under this subdivision shall be retained and used solely for the purpose of the court diversion program.
(d) The attorney general is authorized to accept grants and gifts for the purposes of this section, such acceptance being pursuant to 32 V.S.A. § 5.
(e) Within 30 days of the two-year anniversary of a successful completion of juvenile diversion, the court shall order the sealing of all court files and records, law enforcement records other than entries in the juvenile court diversion project's centralized filing system, fingerprints, and photographs applicable to a juvenile court diversion proceeding unless, upon motion, the court finds:
(1) the participant has been convicted of a subsequent felony or misdemeanor during the two-year period, or proceedings are pending seeking such conviction; or
(2) rehabilitation of the participant has not been attained to the satisfaction of the court.
(f) Upon the entry of an order sealing such files and records under this section, the proceedings in the matter under this section shall be considered never to have occurred, all index references thereto shall be deleted, and the participant, the court, and law enforcement officers and departments shall reply to any request for information that no record exists with respect to such participant inquiry in any matter. Copies of the order shall be sent to each agency or official named therein.
(g) Inspection of the files and records included in the order may thereafter be permitted by the court only upon petition by the participant who is the subject of such records and only to those persons named therein.
(h) Subject to the approval of the attorney general, the Vermont association of court diversion programs may develop and administer programs to assist persons under this section charged with delinquent, criminal, and civil offenses. (Added 1981, No. 206 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1995, No. 47, § 1, eff. April 20, 1995; 1999, No. 160 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2003, No. 157 (Adj. Sess.), § 11; 2005, No. 198 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. Sept. 1, 2006; 2007, No. 153 (Adj. Sess.), § 28; 2009, No. 12, § 1; 2009, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), § E.201.)