Title 33: Human Services
Chapter 51: GENERAL PROVISIONS
33 V.S.A. § 5117. Records of juvenile judicial proceedings
§ 5117. Records of juvenile judicial proceedings
(a) Except as otherwise provided, court and law enforcement reports and files concerning a person subject to the jurisdiction of the court shall be maintained separate from the records and files of other persons. Unless a charge of delinquency is transferred for criminal prosecution under chapter 52 of this title or the court otherwise orders in the interests of the child, such records and files shall not be open to public inspection nor their contents disclosed to the public by any person. However, upon a finding that a child is a delinquent child by reason of commission of a delinquent act which would have been a felony if committed by an adult, the court, upon request of the victim, shall make the child's name available to the victim of the delinquent act. If the victim is incompetent or deceased, the child's name shall be released, upon request, to the victim's guardian or next of kin.
(b)(1) Notwithstanding the foregoing, inspection of such records and files by the following is not prohibited:
(A) A court having the child before it in any juvenile judicial proceeding.
(B) The officers of public institutions or agencies to whom the child is committed as a delinquent child.
(C) A court in which a person is convicted of a criminal offense for the purpose of imposing sentence upon or supervising the person, or by officials of penal institutions and other penal facilities to which the person is committed, or by a parole board in considering the person's parole or discharge or in exercising supervision over the person.
(D) Court personnel, the state's attorney or other prosecutor authorized to prosecute criminal or juvenile cases under state law, the child's guardian ad litem, the attorneys for the parties, probation officers, and law enforcement officers who are actively participating in criminal or juvenile proceedings involving the child.
(E) The child who is the subject of the proceeding, the child's parents, guardian, custodian, and guardian ad litem may inspect such records and files upon approval of the family court judge.
(F) Any other person who has a need to know may be designated by order of the family division of the superior court.
(G) The commissioner of corrections if the information would be helpful in preparing a presentence report, in determining placement, or in developing a treatment plan for a person convicted of a sex offense that requires registration pursuant to 13 V.S.A. chapter 167, subchapter 3.
(2) Files inspected under this subsection shall be marked: UNLAWFUL DISSEMINATION OF THIS INFORMATION IS A CRIME PUNISHABLE BY A FINE UP TO $2,000.00.
(c) Upon motion of a party in a divorce or parentage proceeding related to parental rights and responsibilities for a child or parent-child contact, the court may order that court records in a juvenile proceeding involving the same child or children be released to the parties in the divorce proceeding. Files inspected under this subsection shall be marked: UNLAWFUL DISSEMINATION OF THIS INFORMATION IS A CRIME PUNISHABLE BY A FINE OF UP TO $2,000.00. The public shall not have access to records from a juvenile proceeding that are filed with the court or admitted into evidence in the divorce or parentage proceeding.
(d) Such records and files shall be available to state's attorneys and all other law enforcement officers in connection with record checks and other legal purposes.
(e) Any records or reports relating to a matter within the jurisdiction of the court prepared by or released by the court or the department for children and families, any portion of those records or reports, and information relating to the contents of those records or reports shall not be disseminated by the receiving persons or agencies to any persons or agencies, other than those persons or agencies authorized to receive documents pursuant to this section.
(f) This section does not provide access to records sealed in accordance with section 5119 of this title unless otherwise provided in section 5119. (Added 2007, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 2009; amended 2009, No. 1, § 33a; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 238.)