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Name: In re Elijah S.
Case #: A104126
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 01/27/2005

A newspaper filed pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 827, subdivision (a)(2) for disclosure of the juvenile records of two deceased minors who had come within the court’s jurisdiction. The juvenile court granted disclosure. The issue on appeal was whether section 827 permits the disclosure of juvenile records in cases involving deceased children where no formal jurisdictional petition has been filed in juvenile court. The appellate court held that in light of the plain language of the statute and applicable case law, the juvenile court has exclusive authority to order release of juvenile records of deceased minors who come within its jurisdiction pursuant to section 300 regardless of whether a petition was filed prior to or concurrently with the request to disclose the files. Therefore, the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion when it released the files in this case, subject to an in camera review of the documents prior to their release and redaction of information affecting the rights of any other minors.