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Hawaii Court Records

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What are Hawaii Juvenile Court Records?

Juvenile records in Hawaii contain information on children under the age of 18 that have passed through the Hawaii juvenile system. The system primarily constitutes the family court division of the Hawaii State Judiciary and the State Department of Human Services. These offices are responsible for providing appropriate placements and services for juvenile offenders.

Additionally, they conduct decriminalized adjudication for juvenile offenders and all youths that have violated state laws. In line with the aim of the structure, guilty or adjudged juvenile offenders receive dispositions that provide an incentive for reform, deterrence, and rehabilitation. The justice system also promotes the reconciliation and reintegration of these youths into their families and communities.

The Hawaii Family Courts have exclusive original jurisdiction over cases involving juvenile offenders in the state, and the court proceedings are governed by the Hawaii Family Court Rules.

Despite the sensitive nature of the information contained within the juvenile records, Hawaii allows limited public access to juvenile records.

What Information is Contained in a Hawaii Juvenile Record?

Hawaii juvenile records are a reflection of a youth’s legal and social history based on contact with the state juvenile justice system. The social records contain information about the youth’s family, academics, and history with social issues like drug/ alcohol use or history of abuse and neglect. Also, the legal records take into account the court proceedings such as petitions, evidence, motions, and court orders, decisions, or judgments. They also contain arrest records relating to the detention of a juvenile delinquent individual.

What Cases are Heard by Hawaii Juvenile Courts?

Children in Hawaii can be charged with either law violations or status offenses. When they are charged with committing status offenses, they are accused of jeopardizing their safety by engaging in certain activities without the consent of their parents or guardians.

In contrast, when they are charged with law violations, they are being accused of breaking state or municipal law. Generally, the Hawaii Family Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over many juvenile matters such as:

  • Disposition of juvenile delinquency cases
  • Child neglect
  • Truancy
  • Juvenile curfew violations
  • Child custody matters
  • Guardianship
  • Adoption
  • Termination of parental rights
  • Judicial consent to marriage, employment, or enlistment.

In addition, Hawaii Circuit Courts have a Girls Court for some juvenile cases involving female juvenile offenders. Although the state does not consider any adjudication by the family court as convictions, according to Chapter 571of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, juvenile records may still be utilized to inform or influence pre-sentence reports and investigations.

Who is Eligible to View Juvenile Records in Hawaii

According to state laws, law enforcement and court records relating to juveniles in Hawaii are primarily confidential. However, the law provides the following exceptions, and they may view these records under specific circumstances:

  • Individuals or entities whose official duties pertain to family court proceedings.
  • Individuals, agencies, and institutions with an authentic interest in the child’s welfare and disposition
  • Private institutions conducting critical and related research studies
  • Child’s attorney
  • The subject of the records
  • Other parties by court order.

Under certain circumstances, legal records of juvenile adjudication may be open for public inspection. This exception to confidentiality applies in delinquency proceedings where the minor is adjudicated for an act that constitutes Class A felonies such as murder, kidnapping, rape, and arson. Similarly, if the minor was adjudicated for more than one prior felonious act or for crimes that result in severe bodily injury or death of a person, the records are open for public inspection. However, the judge may prohibit access to such records if it is found in writing that “that there are significant and compelling circumstances peculiar to the case” that call for confidentiality.

In general, Haw. Rev. Stat. § 571–84(e) governs the sealing of juvenile adjudication records in Hawaii. According to this section of the state statutes, juvenile records are confidential and automatically sealed, and sealed records are inaccessible without a court order.

How to Find Juvenile Records in Hawaii

Typically, the Hawaii State Judiciary is the agency in charge of maintaining and disseminating court records. It grants access to legal records of delinquency proceedings where the delinquent child is convicted for violent offenses. These offenses are typically considered crimes when committed by an adult, and they constitute a potential sentence of a 20-year open term in confinement, life imprisonment, or fines of up to $50,000 (class A felonies). To retrieve paper or certified copies of these records, it is advisable to visit the courthouse that heard and filed the case. The inquirer can locate any court of choice across Hawaii by using the comprehensive list of court locations and addresses provided on the state judiciary website.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

Can you Lookup Hawaii Juvenile Records Online?

Yes, Hawaii juvenile records are accessible online, but only authorized individuals and entities can access them. The state maintains a Juvenile Justice Information System (JJIS) that gathers and maintains juvenile offender information from the state police, family court, and the youth correctional facility. This information is used to monitor juvenile offenders and missing children in Hawaii.

The information provided by the system usually encompasses a child’s first contact with the law, along with other events that follow, such as adjudication, prosecution, and incarceration, or other court-ordered disposition. However, the system is only accessible to law enforcement officials, police officers, probation officers, judges, prosecutors, and correctional workers.

Do Hawaii Juvenile Records Show up on Background Checks?

No, Hawaii juvenile records do not show up in background checks. A criminal history record or background check is issued by The Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center (HCJDC).. It is sometimes called “Police Clearance” or “Police Abstract” for the State of Hawaii, and this record only includes public adult criminal conviction information and no juvenile records. However, the background check results may consist of records of a juvenile case that was transferred to an adult court. This is because the state only grants public access to the category of juvenile records in which the child delinquent was charged with Class A felonies.

How Long are Juvenile Records Kept in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, an expungement order annuls or invalidates a juvenile record. An expungement order legally permits the subject of a record to state that the records of the arrest are unavailable or non-existent. A child delinquent may request for expungement in writing at the age of 21. However, the record will only be eligible for expungement if;

  • the charges did not result in a conviction, or
  • the case was dismissed, and
  • a prosecuting attorney did not handle the matter.

Hence, only juvenile arrest records can be expunged, and not records resulting in adjudication. Also, according to informal court policy (rule 124 of the Hawaii family court rules), if a child’s attorney in a juvenile case moves a motion for dismissal in the interest of justice and the court grants the motion, the court records relating to that case will be destroyed and invalid.

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