In Kentucky, Juvenile Offenders’ Names Could be Shared After Adjudication

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Kentucky Capital DannyKBoydOn Monday, members of the Kentucky House passed a bill that would allow victims in juvenile court trials to discuss a case once a verdict is rendered, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports.

House Bill 115 swept through the House with unanimous approval earlier this week, garnering a 93-0 vote in Kentucky’s lower legislative body.

The bill stems from a 2011 sexual assault case involving Savannah Dietrich, then 16 years old, who was attacked by two underage football players at a Louisville, Ky., party. The two assailants struck a plea deal, resulting in 50 hours of community service and counseling.

Dietrich, upset with what she considered lenient sentencing, tweeted the names of her attackers, violating a state gag order which prevented her from discussing details of the case to the public.

A highly-publicized media controversy followed suit, with the juvenile court judge altering the original sentence to include required Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) supervision for the boys who attacked Dietrich.

The latest incarnation of recently-passed bill includes language altering the state’s existing gag order laws so victims in juvenile justice cases may speak about the trial after the case has been adjudicated.

“Juvenile court records which contain information pertaining to arrests, petitions, adjudications and dispositions of a child may be disclosed to victims or other person authorized to attend a juvenile court hearing,” the bill reads. “Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a crime victim from speaking publicly about his or her case on matters within his or her knowledge or on matters disclosed to the victim during any aspect of a juvenile court proceeding.”

The bill now awaits approval from the Kentucky Senate.

Photo by DannyKBoyd | Flickr

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