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  1. #1
    meandmyself3492 is offline Junior Member
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    Legality of putting a juvenile's face on news.

    Okay, I am a seventeen year old resident of Florida. Almost two years ago, I was arrested for grand theft auto, and the news plastered my name and face all over their five o'clock segment. I was not charged as an adult for my crime, and I went straight to the local juvenile detention center after my arrest and fingerprinting. I ultimately did twenty months in a juvenile program for all my crimes, but none of these were ever of the adult system.

    Was this legal? I've always been told that to put the face of an underage offender on the news was against the law. On other cases the news even stated that they couldn't release the name of the youth because HE WAS UNDER EIGHTEEN. I was only fifteen years old, a sophomore in high school, and it ruined my reputation around town, to such an extent that getting a job is almost impossible because, invariably, there is someone that works there who went to school with me and recognizes me.

    Basically, what I'm trying to ask is: Do I have any grounds to sue?
  2. #2
    Isis1 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by meandmyself3492 View Post
    Okay, I am a seventeen year old resident of Florida. Almost two years ago, I was arrested for grand theft auto, and the news plastered my name and face all over their five o'clock segment. I was not charged as an adult for my crime, and I went straight to the local juvenile detention center after my arrest and fingerprinting. I ultimately did twenty months in a juvenile program for all my crimes, but none of these were ever of the adult system.

    Was this legal? I've always been told that to put the face of an underage offender on the news was against the law. On other cases the news even stated that they couldn't release the name of the youth because HE WAS UNDER EIGHTEEN. I was only fifteen years old, a sophomore in high school, and it ruined my reputation around town, to such an extent that getting a job is almost impossible because, invariably, there is someone that works there who went to school with me and recognizes me.

    Basically, what I'm trying to ask is: Do I have any grounds to sue?

    no, it is not against to law to post your picture.

    honey, you ruined your reputation by stealing cars, not by having your picture in the paper.
  3. #3
    cbg
    cbg is offline Senior Member
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    "I've always been told that to put the face of an underage offender on the news was against the law."

    Then you were told wrong.

    "On other cases the news even stated that they couldn't release the name of the youth because HE WAS UNDER EIGHTEEN."

    It's not that they couldn't; it's that they chose not to. Contrary to what many people believe, the law does NOT prohibit the news media, or the police, from releasing the names of minors; it's simply that as a policy, most of them choose not to.

    "I was only fifteen years old, a sophomore in high school, and it ruined my reputation around town, to such an extent that getting a job is almost impossible because, invariably, there is someone that works there who went to school with me and recognizes me."

    Too bad you didn't think of that before you committed a felony.

    "Do I have any grounds to sue? "

    No.
  4. #4
    Country Living is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by meandmyself3492 View Post
    .....it ruined my reputation around town, to such an extent that getting a job is almost impossible because, invariably, there is someone that works there who went to school with me and recognizes me.
    Having a felony on your record is what's ruining your chances of employment, not the publicity of committing the crime.
  5. #5
    Blue Meanie is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by meandmyself3492 View Post
    Okay, I am a seventeen year old resident of Florida. Almost two years ago, I was arrested for grand theft auto, and the news plastered my name and face all over their five o'clock segment. I was not charged as an adult for my crime, and I went straight to the local juvenile detention center after my arrest and fingerprinting. I ultimately did twenty months in a juvenile program for all my crimes, but none of these were ever of the adult system.

    Was this legal? I've always been told that to put the face of an underage offender on the news was against the law. On other cases the news even stated that they couldn't release the name of the youth because HE WAS UNDER EIGHTEEN. I was only fifteen years old, a sophomore in high school, and it ruined my reputation around town, to such an extent that getting a job is almost impossible because, invariably, there is someone that works there who went to school with me and recognizes me.

    Basically, what I'm trying to ask is: Do I have any grounds to sue?
    I find it incredibly sad that you have learned nothing from your experiences.
  6. #6
    Banned_Princess is offline Senior Member
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    Underage victims, yes. Underage delinquent lunatics, no. People need to be aware of who you are so they can protect their property.
  7. #7
    CdwJava is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbg View Post
    It's not that they couldn't; it's that they chose not to. Contrary to what many people believe, the law does NOT prohibit the news media, or the police, from releasing the names of minors; it's simply that as a policy, most of them choose not to.
    Just to make a clarification of the issue, due to the eccentricities of CA state law, law enforcement in my state are limited by statute in those names we can release. The arrested minor must be age 14 or older and must have committed one of a series of enumerated serious felonies ... auto theft is not one of them. So, while it may be generally true that it is policy that prevents the release of these names in many places, in CA our Welfare and Institutions Code generally prohibits the release of this info (827.5).

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM
  8. #8
    cbg
    cbg is offline Senior Member
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    However, the OP is in Florida, not CA.
  9. #9
    CdwJava is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbg View Post
    However, the OP is in Florida, not CA.
    Of course. But, the statement made was that "the law does NOT prohibit the news media, or the police, from releasing the names of minors; it's simply that as a policy, most of them choose not to." ... this is not a universal truth and did not want it to be taken as such. Whether the law restricts or prohibits the release of such names in FL, I do not know. And even if the law prohibited the police from releasing the name to the paper, I doubt that the law prohibits the media from publishing the name and any photos if they find out. Plus, after a conviction, perhaps these records are public in FL.

    But, the law is not the same in all states, and the law can and does restrict what information the police can release.

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM
  10. #10
    cbg
    cbg is offline Senior Member
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    I didn't say it was universal. Florida law specifically states that such information is NOT confidential simply because of the age of the offender.
  11. #11
    meandmyself3492 is offline Junior Member
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    Okay people, few of you are helping. I greatly appreciate those of you that do though.

    Juvenile records are SEALED in Florida. Any felonies that I have on my record are not available to be seen by the public. Everyone I've talked to-that works in the juvenile system in my state-says that what the news did was illegal, I would just like some confirmation.

    I know that it is ultimately my fault I cannot get a job, but in the state of Florida, records of youth are supposed to be sealed, and what I've done should not keep me from getting a job. I know what I did back then was stupid, but what's done is done.

    And saying that I learned nothing from my experiences is inaccurate. Nothing I have posted should show otherwise, I'm trying to take the legal route in everything I do, that's why I'm posting on a LEGAL ADVICE FORUM.
  12. #12
    >Charlotte< is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by meandmyself3492 View Post
    Everyone I've talked to-that works in the juvenile system in my state-says that what the news did was illegal, I would just like some confirmation...I'm trying to take the legal route in everything I do, that's why I'm posting on a LEGAL ADVICE FORUM.
    And if you don't get confirmation you'll just tell everybody they're wrong, so why ask? If you already "know" it's illegal, go sue them.

    Even if. You're not finding it difficult to find people who will trust you because of what the paper did. You're finding it difficult because of what you did. That's the basis of your complaint, and it's a loser.
  13. #13
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by meandmyself3492 View Post
    Juvenile records are SEALED in Florida. Any felonies that I have on my record are not available to be seen by the public.
    That's not quite how it works. See http://tinyurl.com/6amqcj for information on the process. At this point, I'm confident that your records are NOT sealed and are available to the public.
  14. #14
    CdwJava is offline Senior Member
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    In other words, have you applied to have the record sealed?

    This is from the FDLE:

    The following considerations are relevant to the decision whether to seek the judicial sealing or expunction of a juvenile criminal history record. Prior to October 1, 1994 (for felonies), and July 1, 1996 (for specified misdemeanors), juvenile arrest records were not maintained by FDLE in the criminal history record system and would not be available to the general public unless the juvenile were treated as an adult. Juvenile records are subject to an abbreviated retention schedule, if certain qualifications are met, which results in the automatic expunction of the record after a specified period, under s. 943.0515, Florida Statutes. Juvenile defendants who successfully complete a qualified diversion program, as set out in s. 943.0582, Florida Statutes, may be eligible for expunction of their record as the term is defined therein. If a person wishes to pursue the judicial sealing or expunction of his or her juvenile record, the eligibility criteria and procedure, which are similar to those for adults, are found in s. 943.059 and s. 943.0585, Florida Statutes.


    You appear to have no grounds to sue any media outlet or law enforcement agency. People are free to make decisions on the information they have. If FL law specifically prohibits a prospective employer from discriminating based upon your criminal history, and you can find a prospective employer who will ADMIT to such a decision in violation of the law you MIGHT have grounds to sue for the job (however, since theft is a crime of moral turpitude, it would have a very broad application for rejection). And no court order will prevent people from recognizing you.

    So, all you can really do is try and find out if your record has been sealed, try and make sure it is if it has not been, and then move forward with education and anything that helps you shine. Perhaps a solid volunteer history with a community organization? The more you do to show positive character and honesty, the better off you shall be.

    - Carl
    Last edited by CdwJava; 08-12-2009 at 06:44 PM.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM
  15. #15
    quincy is offline Senior Member
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    meandmyself, you are partly right - but not about the media publishing your name and your face.

    Most states prohibit law enforcement officers and court officials from releasing the names of juveniles, and juvenile records are considered confidential. The media and the public are not allowed access to them. In addition, traditionally, juvenile court hearing are closed to the public, and whether to allow media coverage of the hearings is determined on a case-by-case basis. A judge can deny all access.

    HOWEVER, Florida state law does NOT PROHIBIT the release of juvenile records if the child is charged with a felony. Also, the media CANNOT be sanctioned in ANY state for revealing information that was legally obtained - including the names, addresses, and photos of juvenile offenders.

    One Supreme Court case in particular makes clear that prosecution of the media under state statutes for publishing the names and photos of juveniles is barred by the First Amendment.

    In Smith v Daily Mail Publishing Company, 443 US (1979), the Court said, "If a newspaper obtains truthful information about a matter of public significance then state officials may not constitutionally punish publication of the information, absent a need to further a state interest of the highest order." ANYTHING that qualifies as a "matter of public interest" and that is published by the media is protected by the First Amendment.

    Florida Starr v B.J.F, 491 US (1989) addressed the First Amendment issue as it applies to the publication of rape victims' names. Again, the media is protected in publishing truthful information that is a matter of public concern (although, as a note on this case, the publication of the rape victim's name was an inadvertant error - the media will generally not publish a victim's name as an ethical rule but not because it is a legal requirement).

    Some state statutes consider a "minor" anyone under the age of 14 when it comes to releasing records, while other states allow public access to records when the "minor" is over the age of 12 and has committed a felony.

    In Carl's state of California, which bars access to juvenile records for the most part, there is public access to juvenile felony hearings which involve gang activity.

    Finally, the media may be given permission from the court to attend juvenile hearings, and the media may be given permission from the court to have cameras in the courtroom to film or photograph the proceedings. In a recent Florida case, where a juvenile was accused of murdering his parents, the trial court held that print and broadcast media had the right to attend and photograph the detention hearing, but barred the broadcasting of, and printing the photograph of, the juvenile's face.

    So, as everyone pretty much has told you already, you have no grounds to sue. The media has the constitutional right to publish your name, your photograph and the facts of your case. And Florida state law supports the right of the media to publish the names and photos of juveniles who have committed a felony.

    For a more complete picture of the Florida statutes on confidentiality as it applies to juveniles, you can go to [url]http://www.pdmiami.com/cpr/Morrison_Memo_JUV_confidential.pdf[/url].
    Last edited by quincy; 08-12-2009 at 07:10 PM.

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