Appeal from the Order November 20, 2011 In the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County Juvenile Division at No. 1624-03 / History No. 71226-A Appeal from the Order January 30, 2012 In the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County Family Court at No. 1870-05
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bender, J.
IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF
BEFORE: BENDER, J., BOWES, J. AND DONOHUE, J.
In this consolidated matter,*fn1 R.R. and H.L. (collectively "Appellants") appeal from the orders issued by the juvenile section of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County that denied both R.R.'s and H.L.'s petitions to expunge their juvenile records. For the reasons stated below, we affirm.*fn2
We begin by setting forth the juvenile court's statement of the facts and the procedural history relating to H.L.'s case:
H.L. was born [i]n September [of] 1992; he is 19 ½ years old. In August of 2005, H.L. was charged with sexual offenses in two delinquency petitions. At Caselog Number T139326, H.L. was charged with Rape, Sexual Assault and Indecent Assault; at Caselog Number T138075 H.L. was charged with Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse (4 counts), Sexual Assault (2
counts), and Indecent Assault (4 counts). On October 24, 2005, pursuant to [ ] plea agreements H.L. admitted to one count of Indecent Assault at each of the petitions and the remaining charges were withdrawn by the attorney for the Commonwealth. I found that H.L. was a delinquent child in need of treatment, supervision and rehabilitation and deferred disposition with permission to place him in sex offender treatment at Auberle or Harborcreek Youth Services. H.L. was subsequently placed at Harborcreek Youth Services. At the time of the adjudication and disposition, H.L. was 13 years old.
On August 23, 2005, at the approximate time that the delinquency petitions were filed, Children Youth and Family Services (CYF) filed a petition for dependency. The dependency petition alleged that H.L. was dependent because his sisters were the victims of the sexual offenses to which he admitted and
H.L.'s parents and the agency felt that it was inappropriate for him to return home. On October 24, 2005, I also adjudicated
H.L. dependent. H.L. completed sex offender treatment at Harborcreek Youth Services on March 19, 2007 and was placed at Auberle Group Home. On December 10, 2007, H.L. was placed on probation, but remained in placement at Auberle through CYF. On August 18, 2008, H.L. was released from probation and his delinquency case was closed. H.L. continued to remain under that supervision of CYF and in placement.
Until the time of the close of H.L.'s delinquency case, I held joint placement and permanency review hearings every ninety days. When H.L. reached the age of 18, he agreed to remain under the supervision of Children Youth and Families (CYF) and the court. He is now 19 years old and is residing at Wyotech Vocational School in Blairsville, where he receives automotive training. He received financial assistance and other supports from CYF. His case is reviewed every 90 days by Hearing Officer James Alter. Since his delinquency case was closed in August of 2008, H.L. has not been arrested, adjudicated delinquent, or convicted of a crime.
On November 2, 2011, H.L. filed a Petition for Expungement of his juvenile delinquency records. A hearing on the petition to expungement [sic] was held on January 23, 2012. On January 30, 2012, I entered an order denying the request to expunge the juvenile record, as the District Attorney did not consent to the expungement of the record.
On February 27, 2012, [H.L.] filed a Notice of Appeal of the January 30, 2012 order denying expungement of his juvenile delinquency record. Appellant identified this case as a Children's Fast Track case and filed a Concise Statement of Matters Complained with the Notice of Appeal.
Juvenile Court Opinion (J.C.O. re H.L.), 4/17/12, at 1-2 (footnote omitted). Next, we set forth the juvenile court's factual recitation and procedural history concerning R.R.'s case:
R.R. was born [i]n March [of] 1991; he is 21 years old.
R.R. was adjudicated dependent in 2003. In 2003, R.R. was charged in a juvenile petition at Caselog Number T127654 with Rape, Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse, Aggravated Indecent Assault and Statutory Sexual Assault. On June 24, 2004, pursuant to a plea agreement, R.R. admitted to one count of Aggravated Indecent Assault and entered treatment through Juvenile Probation. R.R. remained under the supervision of Juvenile Probation and the court until his case through juvenile probation was closed on February 1, 2011. Until the time of the close of his delinquency case, I held joint placement and permanency review hearings every ninety days. After R.R.'s delinquency case was closed, R.R., who was then 19 years old, agreed to remain under the supervision of Children Youth and Families (CYF) and the court. I continued to review his case every 90 days, until his case was closed on November 29, 2011.
On October 20, 2011, R.R. filed a Petition for Expungement of his juvenile delinquency records. A hearing on the petition to expungement [sic] was scheduled for November 29, 2011[,] to coincide with his dependency permanency hearing. After a hearing in open court, I entered an order closing R.R.'s dependency case. I also entered an order denying the request to expunge the juvenile record at Caselog Number T127654, as the District Attorney did not consent to the expungement of this record.
On December 27, 2011, [R.R.] filed a Notice of Appeal of the November 29, 2011 order denying expungement of his juvenile delinquency record at Caselog Number T127654. Appellant identified this case as a Children's Fast Track case and filed a Concise Statement of Matters Complained with the Notice of Appeal.
Juvenile Court Opinion (J.C.O. re R.R.), 4/17/12, 1-2 (footnotes omitted).
The juvenile court's opinions in both cases explain that because 18 Pa.C.S. § 9123(a)(4), which is the applicable section of the Criminal History Record Information Act ("CHRIA"), requires the consent of the
Commonwealth to grant expungement, it is compelled to deny both Appellants' petitions. However, the court acknowledges that if the
Commonwealth's consents were not required, it would have granted both petitions because it believed that expungement would serve the interests of the public and the juvenile.
In this appeal, Appellants assert the following two overarching arguments for our review:
I. Section 9123(a)(4) of the [CHRIA] is unconstitutional on its face and as applied to the extent it permits the denial of expungement based solely upon the Commonwealth's refusal to consent, and where no reason or basis for the refusal to consent is either offered or required.
II. Allowing the prosecutor to unilaterally block a petition for expungement when all other statutory criteria are met contravenes the ...