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TENNESSEE COMPILATION OF SELECTED LAWS ON CHILDREN, YOUTH AND FAMILIES, 2011 EDITION

TENNESSEE CODE ANNOTATED

Title 37 Juveniles

Chapter 1 Juvenile Courts and Proceedings

Part 1 General Provisions

37-1-155. Fingerprints and photographs - Use - When destroyed - Video and audio recordings.

(a) (1) No child shall be fingerprinted or photographed in the investigation of delinquent acts without the permission of the court, unless the child is charged with a delinquent act that, if committed by an adult, would constitute a felony, in which case the child shall be fingerprinted and photographed at the time the child is taken into custody and such fingerprint file may be maintained in an automated fingerprint identification system. Such fingerprint file and photograph shall only be accessible to law enforcement officers, except as provided in § 37-1-154, and shall be maintained separate and apart from adult fingerprint files. The custody and maintenance of those fingerprints and photographs shall be the responsibility of the agency taking the child into custody.

(2) Law enforcement agencies shall not disclose such fingerprint or photograph files, except as permitted under § 37-1-154.

(b) (1) Fingerprint and photograph records shall be destroyed:

(A) If the child is charged with a misdemeanor offense and is not adjudicated a delinquent child; or

(B) If a petition alleging delinquency is not filed or the case is transferred to the juvenile court as provided in § 37-1-109.

(2) If the child is charged with a felony and is not adjudicated a delinquent child, the fingerprint and photograph records shall be maintained until the subject reaches eighteen (18) years of age. The record is then subject to expunction at the direction of the court.

(3) If the child is adjudicated a delinquent child on a felony offense, the fingerprint and photograph records shall be maintained permanently.

(4) If the child is adjudicated a delinquent child on a misdemeanor offense, the fingerprint and photograph records shall be maintained until the child reaches eighteen (18) years of age, or permanently if the child was fourteen (14) years of age or older when the offense was committed.

(5) All fingerprint and photograph records maintained pursuant to the authority of this section shall be confidential and used for law enforcement purposes only, or as otherwise permitted by law.

(c) If latent fingerprints are found during the investigation of an offense and a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that they are those of a particular child, such officer may fingerprint the child regardless of age or offense for purposes of immediate comparison with the latent fingerprints. If the comparison is negative, the fingerprint card and other copies of the fingerprints taken shall be immediately destroyed. If the child is not referred to the court or the case is dismissed, the fingerprints shall be immediately destroyed.

(d) If during the investigation of an offense, a law enforcement officer receives a description of the offender and such law enforcement officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that the description is that of a particular child, such officer may photograph the child regardless of age or offense for purposes of identification. However, nothing in this subsection (d) shall be deemed as authorizing an unconstitutional seizure of a child for purposes of obtaining a photograph.

(e) (1) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, a law enforcement officer, while acting in the course of official duties, may photograph, make a video recording or make an audio recording of a juvenile in the following circumstances:

(A) The juvenile is in the process of committing an offense;

(B) The law enforcement officer is conducting field sobriety tests based upon suspicion that the juvenile is driving under the influence of an intoxicant; or

(C) The juvenile is the victim of an offense and consents to photographing or recording. However, any photograph or recording of the victim taken pursuant to this subdivision (e)(1)(C) shall be taken solely for use as evidence in the case being investigated and not for any other purpose except as is already provided in this section.

(2) The photograph or recording shall be made solely for use as evidence, and if no charges are brought against the juvenile within the applicable statute of limitations for the offense under investigation, the photograph or recording shall be destroyed unless a court of competent jurisdiction orders otherwise.

(3) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, the photograph or recording shall not be considered a public record and shall not be released to the public except by order of the court having jurisdiction over the charges brought against the juvenile.

Acts 1970, ch. 600, § 53; impl. am. Acts 1971, ch. 162, § 3; T.C.A., § 37-253; Acts 1993, ch. 363, § 1; 1994, ch. 748, § 1; 2007, ch. 134, § 1.

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