I am trying to find court cases where students are the defendants and am having trouble. All I seem able to find are cases involving college age students and I need to find cases involving elementary and middle school age students.
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The law goes to great length to protect juveniles from criminal records. They are young and callow, and prone to make mistakes they would not have made were they older and more mature. For that reason, most cases involving juveniles are sealed by the court. Even court proceedings are private, unless the juvenile or his parents wish for the hearing to be made public. Such records are normally only opened by court order for good cause shown. Quite often, when the juvenile reaches his maturity he can have the record expunged if he has no other offenses.
In some instances of serious crimes, a juvenile may be charged as an adult. In that instance, his record is not sealed, and he is subject to the same penalty as an adult, although his age might be a mitigating factor in sentencing.
There is a fairly old Supreme Court Case: In Re Gault, 387 U.S. 1 that can give you more information on juvenile rights. But, if you are searching for garden variety juvenile offenders' records, you probably won't get to see them without the consent of the juvenile's parents, or the former juvenile if he is now an adult. The reason you can access college students' records is because they are no longer minors in the eyes of the law.
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