Who Can Access a Delinquency or Undisciplined Juvenile Court Record?

I have had the pleasure of working here at the School of Government for eight months now. In that time I have gotten some interesting questions about North Carolina’s delinquency laws. Most often, those questions relate to the confidentiality of juvenile court records. When I first read the statute – G.S. 7B-3000 – I thought it was an open and shut case. Unless you are on the list of people allowed access without a court order, access can only be allowed pursuant to a court order. But then the questions started to come in. Who exactly is the juvenile’s attorney under this statute? Can any prosecutor access juvenile records any time? Can a federal court order disclosure of a North Carolina juvenile record? On what basis can courts order release of juvenile records? It turns out that it’s not open and shut at all. Here is what I have learned so far.

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Consideration of Juvenile Information at Sentencing

A defendant’s prior North Carolina juvenile adjudications never count for sentencing points. That is true for felonies and misdemeanors alike. The definition of a “prior conviction” in Structured Sentencing (G.S. 15A-1340.11(7)) includes only a previous “conviction” for a “crime.” By law in North Carolina, a juvenile adjudication is not a conviction at all, and so … Read more