Lawyers for two media organizations asked a judge Wednesday to release any possible juvenile records of the unarmed 18-year-old who was killed by a suburban St. Louis police officer last month.
A 45-minute hearing before a St. Louis County family court judge didn't reveal whether Michael Brown has such a record. However, a lawyer for the county juvenile office, which opposes the media requests, said only that Brown was never charged with a serious felony.
Juvenile records are confidential in Missouri, but under state law, being charged with certain violent crimes removes those juvenile privacy protections. Police have said Brown had no adult criminal record.
Joe Martineau, an attorney for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, cited an overriding public right to know Brown's history after his early August shooting death by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson sparked more than a week of sometimes-violent protests and drew international scrutiny.
"There is interest in knowing Michael Brown's background," Martineau said. "What we're asking for here is just verification, one way or the other ... We're acting in a vacuum here."
Cynthia Harcourt, the county juvenile office's attorney, countered that "simple curiosity" doesn't trump the state's legal interest in protecting minors accused of crimes.
Read more from the Associated Press at Mass Live