State v. Rashad
A strong presumption protects the confidentiality of juvenile records, and in the absence of a legitimate need, a court may not order the release of a police report of the juvenile's arrest, based on the alleged victim's assertion that he will eventually file a civil suit. In June 2012, the state charged the defendant juvenile, Rashad, with second-degree assault and breach of the peace. In September, a prosecutor nolled the charges. The alleged victim requested that the court order the release of the police report of the defendant juvenile's arrest. The defendant objected that a presumption of confidentiality exists in juvenile cases and that the alleged victim failed to provide a compelling reason or need. A party who requests disclosure must explain the party's purpose. The alleged victim requests disclosure pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes §§46b-124(f) and 51-286e(b). The statutes pertain to information in the file and generally do not include police reports. C.G.S. §46b-124(e) provides, "Records of cases of juvenile matters involving delinquency proceedings, or any part thereof, may be disclosed upon order of the court to any person who has a legitimate interest in the information and is identified in such order." The alleged victim, who knows the defendant juvenile's name, did not describe the type of information sought, the intended use or purpose, the basis of his belief that information requested is in the police report or its relevance. The alleged victim's claim that the police report is not available from other sources appears to be premature. "Because the victim has yet to commence a civil action," wrote the court, "discovery tools and methods may still be available to him to obtain the information from other sources once the action is commenced." The alleged victim's assertion that he will eventually file suit is insufficient to establish a legitimate need that rebuts the strong presumption of confidentiality in juvenile records. The court denied the alleged victim's motion to release the police report.