A new article in the Georgetown Law Journal exposes the fallacy that delinquency adjudications don’t follow juveniles into adulthood, and documents the alarming extent to which records of juvenile delinquency adjudications have become almost as accessible to the public as records of adult convictions. In The Juvenile Record Myth, University of Tennessee Law Professor Joy Radice argues that state confidentiality and sealing provisions often provide far less protection than is commonly believed, and that juveniles frequently face continuing legal restrictions and stigma. Almost all states permit some degree of public access, and some even publish juvenile records online. Using recent literature on juvenile brain development and the recidivism research of criminologists, Radice presents new arguments for why delinquency records should not follow a juvenile into adulthood—and why the state’s obligation to help rehabilitate juveniles (an obligation typically recognized in a state’s juvenile code) should extend to restricting access to juvenile records. The abstract of Professor Radice’s article is reprinted at the end of this post.
The state-by-state profiles from the Restoration of Rights Project analyze each state’s laws on access to records of juvenile adjudications. These laws are summarized in the RRP’s 50-state-chart on expungement and sealing.