Expungement of juvenile records issue in recent court case

A lot of people make mistakes when they are teenagers. Some of these mistakes may even lead to criminal charges for juveniles. While it might seem like a minor issue at the time, a conviction in one of these matters could lead to life-long complications. A recent Minnesota Supreme Court case highlights the problems that have resulted due to having a criminal record as a juvenile.

The case concerns an individual convicted of two offenses when he was a juvenile. After several years had passed, the individual has asked the court for an expungement of the records related to the offenses. The court approved his petition, and ordered the individual’s record to be cleared.
Unfortunately, this order did not cover all of the records associated with the offense. The court’s ruling only covered those records that could be found in the judicial system. Agencies that fall under a different branch of government, such as police departments that fall under the executive branch, are not included in the court’s ruling. This meant that when a background check was conducted on the individual, arrest records could still be found.

The case went through the court system, eventually being heard by the Minnesota Supreme Court. The individual believed that the judicial branch has the power to order the executive branch to expunge juvenile records, based on state law.

When the court issued it’s ruling, it held that the courts could order executive branch agencies to expunge juvenile records when it deems it to be necessary. It created a balancing test for courts to use when considering petitions for expungement. This would allow courts to consider the potential benefits to the individual against the dangers that could result if the public was unable to learn about the past offenses.

In addition to the court case, the Minnesota Legislature recently passed a bill concerning public access to electronic court records of minors. This access would be restricted unless certain conditions were satisfied. The bill was signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton.

Both of these developments may help individuals who have had problems finding work due to a criminal record. If you have questions about having your record expunged, speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney about the options that may be available to you.

Not every person will be successful with these requests, so it is important that you work with someone that understands the process. An attorney can help you demonstrate how you have overcome these past convictions, and how they are preventing you from achieving your new goals.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

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