Juvenile Justice

LA Judge Orders Greater Media Access to Juvenile Court

A judge has ordered the L.A. County Juvenile Court to be open to regular media coverage to boost transparency and shed greater light on problems that have festered outside the public’s view.

Judge Michael Nash, the longest-serving Juvenile Court judge in the state, ordered greater access for news organizations to the dependency side of the court, which includes child abuse, foster care and adoption proceedings, the Los Angeles Times reports. The order excludes the delinquency side, which involves crimes committed by children.

Although Juvenile Court judges have always been able to grant access to a proceeding if a news organization makes a persuasive argument for it, few ever prevail, according to the Times. Instead, media outlets have had to rely on incomplete and long-delayed case records, Judge Nash said in the order.

The order does not alter court access for members of the public, for whom proceedings will be closed if an objection is raised unless they demonstrate a legitimate interest in attending a proceeding or are present at the request of the child or the child’s attorney.

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