Sacramento – A legislative proposal by Assemblymember Tom Daly (D – Anaheim) eliminating the fee for sealing a juvenile record was approved by the State Assembly this week. Assembly Bill (AB) 1394 was approved with bipartisan support.
In recent years, the California Legislature has sought to lessen financial hardships on youth and their families by reducing fines and fees imposed in the juvenile justice system. Existing law allows individuals who are under the age of 26 to ask the juvenile court to seal their records within the juvenile justice system at no cost. Daly’s legislation will remove that obstacle for individuals of all ages, by eliminating the $150 petition fee altogether.
“A juvenile court record creates barriers and limits opportunities for many individuals. When employers and landlords conduct background checks on applicants, a juvenile record can be used as a basis for denial. Sealing records is the best way to ensure that past mistakes will not hinder an individual’s future opportunities. So long as the fee remains, it is an obstacle to rehabilitation,” stated Assemblymember Daly. “This bill is a logical next step toward helping more individuals reintegrate into society.”
“Past legislation left out small, but vulnerable populations, which are disproportionately minorities and low-income,” said Judge Paul Bacigalupo, President of the California Judges Association. “One way to address the racial inequities within the juvenile justice system is to follow the lead of some counties and eliminate these fees, regardless of age.”
The measure is supported by the California Judges Association, the National Association of Social Workers, and the Pacific Juvenile Defender Center.
AB 1394 is headed to the State Senate for consideration.
Assemblymember Tom Daly represents California’s 69th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Anaheim, Garden Grove, Orange and Santa Ana.