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Bill aimed at disclosing juvenile criminal records passes committee, headed to La. House

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BATON ROUGE - A pleading mother came before lawmakers Wednesday, speaking in support of a bill that would make violent juveniles' criminal records publicly available. 

Sherilyn Price's son, comedian Brandon "Boogie B" Montrell, was shot outside a New Orleans grocery store the day before Christmas Eve in 2022. 

Though Montrell's killer was not a juvenile at the time of the crime, Price says victims' families deserve more help and transparency. That is why she supports Ascension Parish Rep. Tony Bacala's (R) bill to release records.

"When you become a victim, you're nobody's priority," Price said. "There's nobody to tell you the who, the what, the when, the where, and you need answers because your life is shattering and the ground's not under your feet, and you need somebody to give you direction."

As the law currently stands, the public is allowed limited access to some violent juveniles' court proceedings. If the law passed, Bacala says court minutes would be made publicly available. 

"If I want to find out about a case that I'm interested in, I might also want to know other cases that have been - they've been charged with," Bacala said. "So this gives you one location one stop that you can go to see entire state records."

While the bill passed through the Criminal Justice Committee, there was opposition from lawmakers. Caddo Parish Rep. Joy Walters (D) says releasing juvenile offenders' information online could hurt their future job opportunities, marking them guilty before their trial starts.

"Our juveniles, to me, are being framed and being placed automatically as people who are guilty - people who are criminals," Walters said. "I do not want that to follow anyone, including our juveniles."

Sherilyn Price says that doesn't matter. 

"If your kids name is splattered all over the internet, you won't have to pick out a casket," Price said. "You won't have to plan a funeral. He won't die from it. My child is dead."

The bill is expected to be voted on by the House of Representatives by the end of the week. A similar measure targeted at Caddo, Orleans, and East Baton Rouge Parishes failed during the 2023 regular session.


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