Working to transform the child welfare system.

SB 6493 states that the Washington state Constitution establishes that the public has the right to an open court system. However, the public’s right of access to court records is not absolute and may be limited to protect other interests. The legislature intends that juvenile court proceedings be openly administered but that the records of these proceedings be presumptively closed and not disseminated.

The bill prohibits the publication, distribution, or sale of confidential juvenile offense records maintained by any court, law enforcement agency, or state agency, including the juvenile court, local law enforcement, the Washington state patrol, and the county prosecutor’s offices.  Circumstances under which access to such records can be made available (and to whom) are identified in the bill.

Exceptions such as the assault of a child in the second degree, kidnapping in the second degree, leading organized crime, or malicious placement of an explosive in the first degree must result in the official juvenile court file open to the public in its entirety.