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2024 California Rules of Court

Rule 5.860. Prosecuting attorney request to access sealed juvenile case files

(a) Applicability

This rule applies when a prosecuting attorney is seeking to access, inspect, utilize, or disclose a record that has been sealed by the court under sections 781, 786, or 793, or Penal Code section 851.7, and the attorney has reason to believe that access to the record is necessary to meet the attorney's statutory or constitutional obligation to disclose favorable or exculpatory evidence to a defendant in a criminal case.

(b) Contents of the request

Any request filed with the juvenile court under this rule must include the prosecuting attorney's rationale for believing that access to the information in the record may be necessary to meet the disclosure obligation and the date by which the records are needed. The date must allow for sufficient time to meet the notice and hearing requirements of this rule. Form JV-592, Prosecutor Request for Access to Sealed Juvenile Case File, may be used for this purpose.

(c) Notice and opportunity to respond

(1)  Notice requirements

(A)  The request must include a form for the court to notify the person whose records are to be accessed as well as that person's attorney of record, and a form for those individuals to respond in writing and to request an appearance before the juvenile court. Forms JV-593, Notice of Prosecutor Request for Access to Sealed Juvenile Case File, and JV-594, Response to Prosecutor Request for Access to Sealed Juvenile Case File, may be used for this purpose.

(B)  The juvenile court must notify the person with the sealed record and that person's attorney of record using the documents prepared by the prosecuting attorney within two court days of the request being filed.

(2)  Requirements if a response is filed

(A)  If a written response is filed no more than 10 days after the date the notice was issued and no appearance has been requested, the clerk of the court must provide that response to the juvenile court for its consideration as it reviews the prosecuting attorney's request.

(B)  If a response is filed no more than 10 days after the date the notice was issued and an appearance is requested, the clerk of the court must set a hearing and provide notice of the hearing to the person with the sealed record, the attorney of record for that person, and the prosecuting attorney who filed the request.

(d) Juvenile court review and order

The court must review the case file and records that have been referenced by the prosecuting attorney's request as well as any response provided as set forth in subdivision (c)(2). The court must approve the request, in whole or in part, if it determines that access to a specific sealed record or portion of a sealed record is necessary to enable the prosecuting attorney to comply with the disclosure obligation. If the court approves the request, the order must include appropriate limits on the access, inspection, utilization, and disclosure of the sealed record information in order to protect the confidentiality of the person whose sealed record is at issue. Such limits may include protective orders to accompany authorized disclosure, discovery, or access, including an order that the prosecuting attorney first submit the records to be disclosed to the court for its review and possible redaction to protect confidentiality. The court must make its initial order within 21 court days of when the request is filed, unless an appearance has been requested under subdivision (c)(2), in which case the court must act within five court days of the date set for the appearance.

Rule 5.860 adopted effective January 1, 2021.

Title 5, Family and Juvenile Rules-Division 3, Juvenile rules-Chapter 14, Nonminor Dependent; adopted effective January 1, 2012.

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