- Confidentiality & Expungement — Minnesota Limits Public Access to Juvenile Court Records: Minnesota passed a law to prohibit direct public access to electronic juvenile court records except in cases where the prosecutor has filed a motion to transfer the youth to adult court; the prosecutor has requested that the proceeding be designated as an extended jurisdiction juvenile prosecution (i.e., blended sentence); or the youth has been adjudicated for certain more serious drug or weapon offenses. Such records remain accessible to the public at individual county courthouses. H.F. 392/Act No. 2013-109, signed into law May 24, 2013; effective January 1, 2014.
- Confidentiality & Expungement — Minnesota Supreme Court Grants Limited Expungement of Executive Branch Juvenile Records: Responding to an appeal from an individual with a juvenile record that created barriers to his educational and career pursuits, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that courts can expunge some parts of juvenile delinquency records that are held by the executive-branch agencies (e.g., the Department of Human Services and Bureau of Criminal Apprehension). However, the court limited expungement to the court order that adjudicated the youth delinquent. The youth’s arrest records, stays of adjudication, and adjudication petitions held by the executive branch are not expungeable. The court also articulated a new standard in its ruling, stating that “the petitioner bears the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the benefit [of expungement] to the petitioner outweighs the detriment to the public and the burden on the court.” In the Matter of the Welfare of J.J.P., No. A11-1146, decided May 22, 2013.
- Organizational & Large-Scale Change — Minnesota Establishes Work Group to Address Juvenile Justice System Goals: The Minnesota Legislature passed a law establishing a work group to discuss statewide goals for youth in the juvenile justice system, necessary services for youth in the juvenile justice system and their families, strategies for identifying and responding to the needs of youth in the system or at risk of entering it, and system changes needed in order to better respond to these needs. The legislation also instructs the work group to develop an implementation plan to achieve service delivery and meet outcome goals. The work group submitted its report in March 2014, calling for funding for evidence-based early intervention programs, improved mental health screenings in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, and the creation of a state Office of Juvenile Justice to help implement the work group’s recommendations. S.F. 671/Act. No.86, signed into law May 23, 2013; effective August 1, 2013.
- Sexual Exploitation of Youth — State Passes Safe Harbor Law Protecting Youth Victims of Sexual Exploitation: A new Minnesota law provides that sexually exploited youth under the age of 16 cannot be detained as delinquent. It also establishes mandatory diversion of first-time offenders who are 16 or 17 years old and have been exploited through prostitution. The law increases penalties against “johns” and directs the Commissioner of Public Safety to create a victim-centered response to sexually exploited youth. S.F. 1/Ch. 1, Art. 4, signed into law July 20, 2011; effective August 1, 2011 and August 1, 2014.
- Youth in the Adult System — Youth Charged as Adults in Minnesota May Be Held in Juvenile Detention Facilities: Youth charged as adults in Minnesota may now be held in secure juvenile detention facilities, pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings against them. The change will help keep some youth out of adult facilities prior to a conviction or acquittal. H.F. 229/Ch. 72, signed into law May 24, 2011; effective August 1, 2011.
- Racial & Ethnic Disparities — Juvenile Justice Data Collection Bill Addresses Racial and Ethnic Disparities: A new Minnesota law aims to address racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system and mandates that a study group produce a plan to determine how to best collect data on race, ethnicity, gender, geography, and offenses in the juvenile justice system. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Justice Programs submitted a report on behalf of the study group in February 2010 on strategies to improve Minnesota’s juvenile justice data collection and analysis. The detailed report examines various decision points in the system, including those related to law enforcement, county attorneys, juvenile courts, juvenile probation, and detention and residential facilities. The report’s recommendations focus on dissemination of available juvenile justice data, assessment of the accuracy of current data, mapping of diversion resources, implementation of statewide race and ethnicity data collection standards, and creation of a statewide central data repository. H.F. 702/Ch. 132, signed into law May 21, 2009; effective July 1, 2009.