Section 12-15-134

Maintenance and inspection of law enforcement records.

(a) Law enforcement agencies shall take special precautions to ensure that law enforcement records and files concerning a child will be maintained in a manner and pursuant to those safeguards that will protect against disclosure to any unauthorized person, department, agency, or entity. Unless a charge of delinquency is transferred for criminal prosecution pursuant to Section 12-15-203 or the juvenile court otherwise orders in the interests of the child or of national security, the law enforcement records and files with respect to the child shall not be open to public inspection nor their contents disclosed to the public.

(b) Law enforcement records and files described in subsection (a) shall be open to inspection and copying by the following:

(1) A juvenile court having a child currently before it in any proceeding.

(2) Personnel of the Department of Human Resources, the Department of Youth Services, public and private institutions or agencies of which the child under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court has been placed into the legal custody and those responsible for his or her supervision after release.

(3) Law enforcement officers of other jurisdictions when necessary for the discharge of their current official duties.

(4) The probation and other professional staff of a court in which the child is subsequently convicted of a criminal offense or adjudicated as a youthful offender for the purpose of a presentence report or other dispositional proceedings, officials of penal institutions and other penal facilities into which the child is placed or a parole board in considering his or her parole or discharge or in exercising supervision over him or her.

(5) The probation and other professional staff serving a court handling criminal cases when investigating or considering youthful offender applications.

(6) The parent, except when parental rights have been terminated, or legal guardian of the child and the child's attorney and guardian ad litem.

(7) The principal of the school in which the child is enrolled, or the representative of the principal, upon written petition to the juvenile court setting forth the reasons why the safety or welfare, or both, of the school, its students, or personnel necessitate production of the information and without which the safety and welfare of the school, its students, and personnel would be threatened.

(c) Law enforcement records may be viewed by victims during the investigation of a crime at the discretion of the investigating officer.

(d) All law enforcement agencies shall report to the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center that a child has been charged with an act of delinquency along with any pertinent identifying information or historical data concerning that child, when either of the following occurs:

(1) The child is taken into custody and charged with an act of delinquency for an act which would constitute a felony if committed by an adult.

(2) The child is taken into custody and charged with an act of delinquency for an act which would constitute a misdemeanor, according to subdivision (2) of Section 41-9-622 if committed by an adult.

(e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit or otherwise limit counsel from disclosing confidential law enforcement records relating to a client as needed to investigate the case of the client or prepare a defense for that client, provided that the disclosure is in furtherance of counsel's representation of the party.

(f) Except as provided in this section, whoever directly or indirectly discloses or makes use of or knowingly permits the use of information described in this section that identifies a child, or the family of a child, who is or was under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, upon conviction thereof, shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court.

(Acts 1975, No. 1205, p. 2384, §5-143; Acts 1990, No. 90-674, p. 1304, §16; Acts 1996, No. 96-524, p. 677, §1; Act 99-433, p. 792, §3; §12-15-101; amended and renumbered by Act 2008-277, p. 441, §7.)