PHOENIX (October 17, 2023) – Having a juvenile record can be a barrier to employment, military service and even leasing an apartment. An event, sponsored in part by the Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County, aims to review and, when eligible, destroy juvenile records.
On Nov. 4 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Durango Juvenile Court Center, 3131 W. Durango Street in Phoenix, adults who had involvement with the Maricopa County juvenile justice system are invited to attend “Project Restore: My Records, My Rights” to explore having those records destroyed – all on-site.
The event is open to those with a juvenile delinquency or diversion record who may be eligible for destruction of records, restoration of civil rights, set aside of an adjudication (an adjudication is similar to a conviction in criminal court) and expungement. Judges will be on-site for immediate rulings.
“We hope to provide anyone involved in the juvenile justice system as a youth with the opportunity to put their mistakes behind them and move forward with plans for their future,” said Hon. Lori Bustamante, presiding judge of Superior Court’s Juvenile Department. “We are grateful our partners are making it possible for those eligible to do everything in one day and take steps toward achieving success in whatever career they choose without the negative impact of a juvenile record.”
Destruction of records and the set aside of adjudications can be important to establish a new start for justice-involved community members.
“For many kids, being involved in the juvenile justice system will follow them into adulthood. But it does not have to be this way,” said Caitlin Engstrand, delinquency attorney supervisor for the Maricopa County Office of the Public Advocate. “Once they become adults, those who have completed their juvenile probation terms, can apply to have their rights restored. The Project Restore event makes it easy for a person to receive assistance in filling out the paperwork and allows them to meet with a judge to clear their juvenile record—all done in one morning.”
Partners for the event, in addition to the Judicial Branch (Superior Court and the Maricopa County Juvenile Probation Department), include the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, the Maricopa County Office of the Public Advocate, the Maricopa County Clerk of the Superior Court and Arizona State University’s Youth Justice Lab.
“People shouldn’t be judged by mistakes they made as teenagers, especially once they’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do to get back on track. Clearing your juvenile record can give you a new lease on life—that’s why this is so important,” said Dr. Adam Fine, professor of criminology and criminal justice at ASU.
To learn if you might qualify for the destruction of a juvenile record, please visit the ASU Youth Justice Lab’s guide and assessment tool. (https://sites.google.com/view/youthjusticelab/projects/destruction-of-records)
To start the process, community members can request their “public profile” at https://superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/juvenile-probation/juvenile-records-requests/.
For additional help and instructions, go to https://superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/llrc/jvrr.