By what authority can the public view the entire docket of a case in which the judgment has been vacated by the court? Even if the WSP and Local LEAs have destroyed their records, the public can still view the entire record of a case in which the judgment of conviction has been vacated.

The rules that govern access to Law enforcement records are different than those that govern access to court records.  Law enforcement records are governed by RCW 10.97 while court records are governed by a combination of statute and court rule.  When the court vacates a conviction pursuant to RCW 9.96.060, the statute states that the court sets aside the verdict of guilty and dismisses the complaint or citation.  The statute also states that for all purposes, including responding to questions on employment or housing applications, a person whose conviction has been vacated under this statute may state that he or she has never been convicted of that crime.  The statute does not also provide that the record be sealed, unlike juvenile cases, where the applicable statute (RCW 13.50.050 (11)) specifically provides that the court may vacate the judgment and seal the record.  Similarly, with law enforcement records, the statute (10.97.050) specifically provides that the public shall not have access to certain non-conviction records.  After a misdemeanor conviction is vacated pursuant to RCW 9.96.060, the defendant may request that the case record be sealed by the court.  That is done pursuant to a motion based on GR 15 (c).  However, even if the court record is ordered sealed by the court, information about the case will still be displayed in the public index of cases, pursuant to GR 15 (d):  "Procedures for Vacated Criminal Convictions.  In cases where a criminal conviction has been vacated and an order to seal entered, the information in the public court indices shall be limited to the case number, case type with the notification "DV" if the case involved domestic violence, the adult or juvenile's name, and the notation "vacated.""

AOC is required to follow the requirements of the law in providing access to court records. As a result of the differences in the law, the public may be able to access court records when they cannot access law enforcement records.

RN id: 2211