Argued September 11, 2014
Valerie Marushige, for petitioner.
Ryan P. Jurvakainen, Prosecuting Attorney, Amie L. Matusko, Deputy, and Brian N. Wasankari, Special Deputy, for respondent.
AUTHOR: Justice Susan Owens. WE CONCUR: Chief Justice Barbara A. Madsen, Justice Charles W. Johnson, Justice Mary E. Fairhurst, Justice Debra L. Stephens, Justice Charles K. Wiggins, Justice Steven C. González, Justice Sheryl Gordon McCloud, Justice Mary I. Yu.
[182 Wn.2d 274] ¶ 1 By statute, all juvenile offender records must be kept confidential except those in the " official juvenile court file," which are open to the public. RCW 13.50.010(1)(b), [182 Wn.2d 275] .050. In this case, we address whether a particular type of report about a juvenile offender--a special sex offender disposition alternative (SSODA) evaluation, RCW 13.40.162--should be filed in the official juvenile court file and therefore be open to the public. The legislature has explicitly defined the contents of the official juvenile court file as " the petition or information, motions, memorandums, briefs, findings of the court, and court orders." RCW 13.50.010(1)(b). Since the SSODA evaluation does not fit within any of these categories, it is not a part of the official juvenile court file. Consequently, it is subject to the general rule that all juvenile records not in the official juvenile court file must be kept confidential.
¶ 2 In 2010, A.G.S. pleaded guilty to two counts of first degree rape of a child and two counts of second degree child molestation. State law provides a special sentencing alternative option for juvenile sex offenders who have no history of a prior sex offense and whose offense was not a serious violent offense. RCW 13.40.162(1). If an offender is eligible, the court or either party may order a SSODA evaluation to determine the juvenile's amenability to treatment and relative risk to the community. RCW 13.40.162(2). In this case, both the State and A.G.S. ordered separate SSODA evaluations.
¶ 3 The trial court considered both SSODA evaluations and ultimately decided against giving A.G.S. a SSODA disposition. The court noted that while both SSODA evaluations indicated that A.G.S. was amenable to treatment, they did not discuss the damage that A.G.S.'s actions caused the victims.
¶ 4 The State provided a copy of its SSODA evaluation to the parents of the victims, but the parents also requested a copy of the SSODA evaluation conducted at the request of the defendant. The parents said they wanted a copy to help [182 Wn.2d 276] with the children's treatment, although the defense said that the parents were planning on releasing the SSODA evaluation to the public.
¶ 5 The trial court ordered the release of the portion of the defense's SSODA evaluation that it considered in making its disposition. The court found that release was appropriate pursuant to " the open administration of justice" after it found that public records law did not provide a mechanism for release of the SSODA evaluation. Clerk's Papers at 25-26.
¶ 6 A.G.S. appealed, and the Court of Appeals remanded to the trial court with ...