Limiting Access to Certain Court Records — SEA 19

IC 31-39 details at length the wide variety of juvenile court records that are available to various people and entities with or without a court order.  SEA 19 modifies the access statutes to exclude “records involving proceedings that pretain to: (A) paternity issues; (B) custody issues; (C) parenting time issues; or (D) child support issues; concerning a child born to parents who are not married to each other.”

Without comment as to whether this law is necessary or appropriate, it is interesting that when considering changes to the confidentiality statutes, the legislature chose to focus first on unmarried parents and their children, rather than juvenile delinquents.  Given the evolving case law and research that notes the immaturity and brain development issues that help lead children to juvenile court involvement and the collateral consequences of that involvement, it would be appropriate for legislators to shield more juvenile delinquency records from the public gaze.

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