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Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency Part 7, § 375.2: Motion to Seal After a Finding

A juvenile delinquency case has two major parts: the fact-finding hearing and the dispositional hearing. The fact-finding hearing is similar to a criminal trial. The accused minor is known as the "respondent" and the government entity bringing the case is known as the "presentment agency." A juvenile delinquency case is initiated when the presentment party files a petition with Family Court. At a fact-finding hearing a determination is not made as to whether or not the accused is guilty or not guilty. Instead, a determination is made as to whether or not the minor did the acts described in the petition that for an adult would amount to a crime. If so, the next step is the dispositional hearing. The dispositional hearing is analogous to the sentencing phase of a criminal case. However, the Family Court does not impose a sentence, but issues an "order of disposition." Under New York Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 7, § 375.2, after an order of disposition has been issued, upon motion of the respondent, unless the minor committed a felony act, the court may order that the records of the case be sealed.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Order of disposition: New York Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 5, § 352.2
  2. Expungement of court records: New York Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 7, § 375.3

A petition of was filed in family court naming Kiarc C. as the respondent. The petition alleged facts that if she were an adult, amounted to the crimes of manslaughter in the second degree and criminal negligent homicide. Kiara was accused of placing her newborn baby in a garbage bag, resulting in the baby's death. Kiara entered an admission to having committed an act that would have constituted the crime of manslaughter in the second degree. At the conclusion of the dispositional hearing Kiara was placed on probation for 18 months. After completing her probation term, Kiara filed a motion to seal the records. The presentment agency opposed the motion, noting that Kiara's actions resulting in the death of a baby. However, the court granted Kiara's motion, noting that although Kiara's actions were horrific, Kiara had a difficult family life based on the stressful relationship between her divorced parents. Furthermore, Kiara had graduated from high school, enrolled in an automotive mechanic program, and had stayed out of trouble. In the Matter of Kiara, 2011 NY Slip Op 51111 (N. Y. Fam. Ct., 2011)

Family Court Act, Article 3, Juvenile Delinquency, Part 7, § 375.2: Motion to seal after a finding
  1. If an action has resulted in a finding of delinquency pursuant to subdivision one of § 352.1, other than a finding that the respondent committed a designated felony act, the court may, in the interest of justice and upon motion of the respondent, order the sealing of appropriate records pursuant to subdivision one of § 375.1.
  2. Such motion must be in writing and may be filed at any time subsequent to the entering of such finding. Notice of such motion shall be served upon the presentment agency not less than eight days prior to the return date of the motion. Answering affidavits shall be served at least two days before such time.
  3. The court shall state on the record its reasons for granting or denying the motion.
  4. If such motion is denied, it may not be renewed for a period of one year, unless the order of denial permits renewal at an earlier time.
  5. The court shall not order the sealing of any record except as prescribed by this § or § 375.1. 6. Such a motion cannot be filed until the respondent's sixteenth birthday.
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. Juvenile delinquency cases are complicated, requiring knowledge of criminal law, criminal procedure and juvenile delinquency procedure. 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 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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