State v. I.A.S.
Through a deferred disposition, an eligible youth in Washington State can avoid some of the long-lasting harms of a juvenile adjudication by obtaining a dismissal of their case, a vacated adjudication, and administrative sealing. I.A.S. and M.Y.G. both obtained deferred dispositions but were ordered to submit DNA samples to be entered into a DNA database.
Juvenile Law Center joined King County Department of Public Defense, ACLU of Washington, Washington Defender Association, and other advocacy organizations in filing an amicus brief in the Washington Supreme Court in support of I.A.S. and M.Y.G. The brief argued that collecting DNA after entry of a deferred disposition saddles children with lifetime consequences for youthful actions and undermines the purported goals of the juvenile legal system. We further argued that the collection of DNA for deferred dispositions, as well as the use of DNA databases generally, disproportionately harms Black, Indigenous and other Washingtonians of color.
The Washington Supreme Court held that a deferred disposition does constitute a conviction for purposes of the DNA collection statute, but that youth are only required to submit DNA samples if they are convicted of a felony in adult court or of certain enumerated offenses in juvenile court. The Court held that the statute does not apply to youth who are adjudicated in juvenile court for other felony-equivalent offenses, as I.A.S. and M.Y.G. were, and vacated the orders requiring them to submit DNA samples.