Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency Part 5, § 354.1: Retention and destruction of fingerprints of persons alleged to be juvenile delinquents

When a minor who is over 7 years old and less than 16 years old is accused of committing a criminal act, the minor's case is handled by Family Court, not by Criminal Court. The case begins when the government, referred to as the presentment agency, files a petition with Family Court. The minor named in the petition is the respondent. While the minor is not subjected to the criminal court process, there are some similarities. For example, the minor is photographed and fingerprinted and those fingerprints are added to law enforcement's fingerprint database. However, one distinction between the Criminal Court process and the Family Court process is that Under New York Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 5, § 354.1, a minor's fingerprints are not always retained. Fingerprints are retained if:

  1. A disposition is made and the charges include a felony offense and the juvenile was 13 to 15 years old when the fingerprintable offense was committed; or
  2. The adjudication charges include a Class A or B felony offense and the juvenile was 11 to 12 years old when the fingerprintable offense was committed.

Otherwise, all records in its possession that pertain to the case, including fingerprints must be destroyed. In such instances arresting agencies must also destroy any records in their possession.

Example

Following an attempted burglary of a dwelling, the police recovered eight latent fingerprints from the scene. The police were able to match the fingerprints to those of Quadon. Quadon's fingerprints were in the police database because a year earlier he had been fingerprinted in connection with an unrelated robbery. However, no charges were filed in connection with that matter. The court concluded that under New York Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 5, § 354.1 Quadon's fingerprints should have been destroyed. However, it is important to note that just because the fingerprint evidence may have been unusable, does not necessarily mean that the petition will be dismissed. In this case there was additional evidence to tie Quadon to the incidence. In the Matter of Quadon, 55 A.D.3d 834,(N.Y. App. Div., 2008)

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Order of disposition: New York Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 5, § 352.2
  2. Duties of counsel: New York Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 5, § 354.2
  3. Motion procedures: New York Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 5, § 355.2
Family Court Act, Article 3, Child Protective Services, Part 5, § 354.1: Retention and destruction of fingerprints of persons alleged to be juvenile delinquents
  1. If a person whose fingerprints, palmprints or photographs were taken pursuant to § 306.1 or was initially fingerprinted as a juvenile offender and the action is subsequently removed to a family court pursuant to article seven hundred twenty-five of the criminal procedure law is adjudicated to be a juvenile delinquent for a felony, the family court shall forward or cause to be forwarded to the division of criminal justice services notification of such adjudication and such related information as may be required by such division, provided, however, in the case of a person eleven or twelve years of age such notification shall be provided only if the act upon which the adjudication is based would constitute a class A or B felony.
  2. If a person whose fingerprints, palmprints or photographs were taken pursuant to § 306.1 or was initially fingerprinted as a juvenile offender and the action is subsequently removed to family court pursuant to article seven hundred twenty-five of the criminal procedure law has had all petitions disposed of by the family court in any manner other than an adjudication of juvenile delinquency for a felony, but in the case of acts committed when such person was eleven or twelve years of age which would constitute a class A or B felony only, all such fingerprints, palmprints, photographs, and copies thereof, and all information relating to such allegations obtained by the division of criminal justice services pursuant to § 306.1 shall be destroyed forthwith. The clerk of the court shall notify the commissioner of the division of criminal justice services and the heads of all police departments and law enforcement agencies having copies of such records, who shall destroy such records without unnecessary delay.
  3. If the appropriate presentment agency does not originate a proceeding under § 310.1 for a case in which the potential respondent's fingerprints were taken pursuant to § 306.1, the presentment agency shall serve a certification of such action upon the division of criminal justice services, and upon the appropriate police department or law enforcement agency.
  4. If, following the taking into custody of a person alleged to be a juvenile delinquent and the taking and forwarding to the division of criminal justice services of such person's fingerprints but prior to referral to the probation department or to the family court, an officer or agency, elects not to proceed further, such officer or agency shall serve a certification of such election upon the division of criminal justice services.
  5. Upon certification pursuant to subdivision twelve of § 308.1 or subdivision three or four of this §, the department or agency shall destroy forthwith all fingerprints, palmprints, photographs, and copies thereof, and all other information obtained in the case pursuant to § 306.1. Upon receipt of such certification, the division of criminal justice services and all police departments and law enforcement agencies having copies of such records shall destroy them.
  6. If a person fingerprinted pursuant to § 306.1 and subsequently adjudicated a juvenile delinquent for a felony, but in the case of acts committed when such a person was eleven or twelve years of age which would constitute a class A or B felony only, is subsequently convicted of a crime, all fingerprints and related information obtained by the division of criminal justice services pursuant to such § and not destroyed pursuant to subdivisions two, five and seven or subdivision twelve of § 308.1 shall become part of such division's permanent adult criminal record for that person, notwithstanding § 381.2 or 381.3.
  7. When a person fingerprinted pursuant to § 306.1 and subsequently adjudicated a juvenile delinquent for a felony, but in the case of acts committed when such person was eleven or twelve years of age which would constitute a class A or B felony only, reaches the age of twenty-one, or has been discharged from placement under this act for at least three years, whichever occurs later, and has no criminal convictions or pending criminal actions which ultimately terminate in a criminal conviction, all fingerprints, palmprints, photographs, and related information and copies thereof obtained pursuant to § 306.1 in the possession of the division of criminal justice services, any police department, law enforcement agency or any other agency shall be destroyed forthwith. The division of criminal justice services shall notify the agency or agencies which forwarded fingerprints to such division pursuant to § 306.1 of their obligation to destroy those records in their possession. In the case of a pending criminal action which does not terminate in a criminal conviction, such records shall be destroyed forthwith upon such determination.
New York Juvenile Delinquency Lawyer

If your child is a respondent in a juvenile delinquency proceeding, it is important that he or she is represented by experienced counsel. The outcome of your child's delinquency proceeding could have a significant affect on his or her future. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully representing juvenile clients in New York Family Court as well as in criminal court who have been accused of committing misdemeanors and felonies. Contact us at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those involved in juvenile delinquency matters in the following locations:

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