Juvenile court erred by refusing to seal records where minor successfully completed probation but was still subject to firearms ban until he turns 30. Joshua was adjudged a ward in juvenile court and placed on probation. After he successfully completed probation, the court granted his motion to withdraw his plea, terminated his probation, and dismissed the Welfare and Institutions Code section 602 petition. However, the court declined to seal his records, reasoning that one of the probation conditions prohibited him from possessing a firearm until he turns 30. Joshua appealed. Held: Reversed. Under Welfare and Institutions Code section 786, “If a minor satisfactorily completes a term of probation . . . the court shall order the petition dismissed. The court shall order sealed all records pertaining to that dismissed petition . . . .” But under Penal Code section 29820, a minor who commits an offense described in section 29805 and is adjudged a ward cannot possess any firearm until he turns 30 and the juvenile court must submit a form to the Department of Justice to notify it that a person is subject to the ban. The Attorney General asserted that sealing the record would effectively ify section 29820. The Court of Appeal disagreed because the provisions can be harmonized. Penal Code section 29820, subdivision (c) provides that “[n]otwithstanding any other law, the forms required to be submitted to the department pursuant to this section may be used to determine eligibility to acquire a firearm.” Thus it is exempt from the sealing provision set forth in section 786. The juvenile court erred by refusing to seal the remaining records.
The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/G052965A.PDF