Darren Chaker Arizona Juvenile Record Sealing

Darren-Chaker habeas relief
Darren-Chaker, after conference on post-conviction relief

Arizona court order to seal records, Darren Chaker https://plus.google.com/+DarrenChaker/ , it is common to include to seal a juvenile record. Some convictions are set aside but do not entitle a person to sealing. Pursuant to A.R.S. § 8-349, an applicant is eligible to have his records destroyed, provided that various conditions are satisfied. One of the provisions that must be satisfied is that the person may not have “been convicted of a felony offense.” A.R.S. § 8-349(E)(2). A.R.S. § 8-348 provides that an applicant is eligible to have his adjudications set aside, again, provided certain conditions are satisfied. “A person may not apply to set aside the adjudication if the person… has  been convicted of a criminal offense.” A.R.S. § 8-348(C)(1). buy viagra cialis or levitra

While a conviction may be subsequently set aside, that set aside does not negate the fact that a person has been convicted of a felony offense. See Russell v. Royal Maccabees Life Ins. Co., 193 Ariz. 464, 467-471, 27, 974 P.2d 443, 446-450 (App. 1998). “If the court grants the application, the court shall set aside the judgment of guilt, dismiss the accusations or information and order that the person be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction other than those imposed by the department of transportation… except that the conviction may be used as a conviction if it would be admissible had it not been set aside and may be pleaded and proved in any subsequent prosecution of such person by the state …or used by the department of transportation… as if the judgment of guilt had not been set aside.” Id. at ¶14 (emphasis in the original).

The statute is clear regarding a felony conviction. There are no exceptions, including no exception for the circumstance in which a felony conviction was set aside. “The primary rule of statutory construction is to find and  *7 give effect to legislative intent.” Mail Boxes, Etc., U.S.A. v. Industrial Comm’n, 181 Ariz. 119, 121, 888 P.2d 777, 779 (1995). As the Arizona Supreme Court has stated, “If a statute is clear and unambiguous, we apply it without using other means of statutory construction.” Aros v. Beneficial Arizona, Inc., 194 Ariz. 62, 66, 977 P.2d 784, 788 (1999) (en banc) (citations omitted); UNUM Life Ins. Co. of America v. Craig, 200 Ariz. 327, 330, 26 P.3d 510, 513 (2001) (en banc). A.R.S. §§ 8-348 and 8-349 are undeniably clear: they do not apply to anyone who has been convicted of a felony.

The cases are equally clear on the effect of a set aside: the set aside does not remove the fact of a conviction in Arizona. State v. Barr, Ariz. 445, 449, 175 p.3d 694, 698 (App. 2008); Russell v. Royal Maccabees Life Ins. Co., supra, 217 Ariz. at 467-468, 974 P.2d at 446-447; accord State v. Green, 173 Ariz. 464, 469, 844 P.2d 631, 636 (App. 1992), vacated in part, 174 Ariz. 586, 852 P.2d 401 (1993) (noting statute “specifically authorizes the conviction to be used as a prior conviction in subsequent prosecutions”); see also State v. Key, 128 Ariz. 419, 421, 626 P.2d 149, 151 (App. 1981) (noting statute permits a person to be released of all penalties and disabilities “with the exception that the conviction may be proved as a prior conviction in a subsequent criminal action”).

Moreover, there is nothing in the statute that bestows upon the Juvenile Court the authority to grant requests pursuant to A.R.S. §§ 8-348 and 8-349 when a felony conviction has been set aside since the person “[h]as been convicted of a criminal offense.” A.R.S. § 8-348(C)(1); see also A.R.S. §§ 8-349(D)(2) and (E)(2). Hence, a Court’s order granting an applicant’s application for destruction of records and setting aside his adjudications would be error since he would not be entitled to such order. Given the above, if you need an attorney to pursue a legal matter, contact an attorney and do not rely on the this article or any information on this blog as it is not updated or intended to be construed as legal advice.

Author: Darren Chaker

Darren Chaker decided to take an approach to life which differed from most. In lieu of seeking out another law firm to work for, Darren focused energy on helping others through volunteering time to help non-profits and working in overseas security tasks. Darren continues to blog about various legal topics, and contributes to www.DarrenChaker.org .

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