No. 2329 Philadelphia, 1980, No. 2328 Philadelphia, 1980, Appeals from Orders in the Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, of Philadelphia County, at Pet. No. 4448-79-5 D C 17-79-26048 J-217197, and Pet. No. 3866-79-4 D C 5-79-8317 J-216955.
Robert G. Schwartz, Philadelphia, for appellants.
Nancy D. Wasser, Assistant District Attorney, for Commonwealth, participating party.
Hester, Cavanaugh and DiSalle, JJ. DiSalle, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.
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These appeals are taken from the September 17, 1980 Orders entered in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and denying the appellants' application for the expungement of their juvenile records. We reverse and remand for a hearing on the issue of whether the Commonwealth's interest in maintaining the records is greater than the appellants' interest in having them expunged.
At the age of 18, the appellant, John W., was charged with theft, brought before the Philadelphia Juvenile Court on June 22, 1979 and placed on consent decree probation. John W's probationary period expired on December 22, 1979; on February 5, 1980, he filed an application to expunge the arrest and court records.
Appellant, Roland H., was 17 years old when he appeared before the Philadelphia Juvenile Court for an alleged auto theft and related charges. He was placed on six months probation in accordance with the entry of a consent decree. The probation period expired on December 5, 1979, and on February 21, 1980, he filed an application to expunge as well.
A hearing for both applications was held on September 17, 1980, at which time Orders denying expungement were entered. These appeals followed; they were consolidated by Order of the Pennsylvania Superior Court, dated January 12, 1981.
We must first resolve whether the Criminal History Record Information Act (CHRIA), 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 9101 et seq., is applicable to this appeal. Prior to the enactment of CHRIA,
[ 300 Pa. Super. Page 296]
the decision whether to expunge juvenile records was arrived at solely after a delicate balancing of the Commonwealth's interest in preserving the records and the individual's interest in avoiding the myriad disadvantages of living with a juvenile record. See Commonwealth v. Malone, 244 Pa. Super. 62, 366 A.2d 584 (1976); Commonwealth v. Briley, 278 Pa. Super. 363, 420 A.2d 582 (1980); Commonwealth v. Welford, 279 Pa. Super. 300, 420 A.2d 1344 (1980). Unless upon cause shown, § 9123 of CHRIA renders mandatory the expungement of juvenile records where (1) a complaint is not substantiated or the petition filed as a result of the complaint is dismissed other than via an informal adjustment; (2) 5 years lapsed since final disposition or discharge without further criminal incident; or (3) the individual is 21 years of age or older and a court orders expungement.
CHRIA became effective January 1, 1980; both applications for expungement were filed by the appellants a little later in 1980. Appellants argue that the date of the filing of the application is not determinative; rather, they insist that the time of entry of the consent decree determines whether CHRIA is applicable. The dates of the various stages of the juvenile proceedings do not concern us. Even if the applications to expunge were filed prior to the effective date of ...