In our last post, we examined the confidentiality of juvenile records and the various state procedures available to seal or expunge them. As noted, the public does not have access to these records once sealed, but law enforcement and court personnel do retain unfettered access. If the juvenile record includes acts considered felonious if committed by an adult, that record will likely remain unsealed. But what of acts deemed illegal only because of the offender’s status as a juvenile? How are these “status offenses” defined legally?
Status offenses are acts that would not be considered illegal if committed by an … Read More
In our July 2008 post about juvenile court records, we noted that most juvenile court records are confidential. This is done to protect the juvenile, on the theory that juveniles are more prone to bad decisions than adults (i.e., they do “dumb things”), but that they can be rehabilitated. Law enforcement agencies and the court system can see juvenile records, but the general public cannot.
Background checks for the purposes of employment and housing – and sometimes for college admission, financial aid, etc. – are the general public’s main interest in court records. Since most juveniles are not yet … Read More
Guns are in the news lately. The USA is a big country with a lot of guns, some of which are used to kill large numbers of people, generating news reports. Some are used in confrontations that become high-profile trials, generating more news reports.
From Newtown CT to Sanford FL, the headlines have driven debate about guns and gun violence. The debate in turn drives more headlines about guns – so guns are in the news. But in the USA, guns are always in the news. Although the Sandy Hook school shooting and the George Zimmerman trial make headlines, guns … Read More
Crime is in the news lately. But as they say in the news business, “If it bleeds, it leads.” – so whether crime rates are up or down, crime is always in the news. Among the crime reports are those in which the accused is a minor, so the reports note whether the accused will be tried as an adult or a minor. But what does that question really mean?
If the minor is tried as an adult, the trial will be in a regular criminal court, and neither the process nor the result will take the accused’s age into … Read More
If a person under has committed a crime, but is under the age of 18, this can greatly affect their journey through the US legal system. Individuals under the age of 18, also referred to as minors, will have different legal options depending on their age, type of crime committed, and whether they are a first time offender.
For example, if a judge determines that a crime is minor, and the child has a parent or guardian who is generally a good disciplinarian, then a judge may allow the juvenile to return home under routine visits from a probation officer, … Read More