Monday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

Appeals Court Backs Coaches in Disclosure of Students Sexual Orientation, Education Week

A federal appeals court has ruled that two Texas high school softball coaches are immune from a student’s privacy lawsuit because there was no clearly established law barring school officials from discussing a student’s private matters, including her sexual orientation, with the student’s parent.

The 2-1 decision by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, in New Orleans, comes in the case of a mother who sued the Kilgore Independent School District and various officials, alleging that the two softball coaches confronted her 16-year-old daughter about whether she was a lesbian and then “outed” her during a meeting with the parent

Texas Sentences for 17 Year-old Murderers Fine as They Are: No Need for Special Session Call, Grits for Breakfast

So far, Gov. Perry has resisted adding anything to the special session call besides redistricting and Grits’ must admit I’m grateful. Unless he surprises me and put warrants for cell-phone location data on the list (which he should), not much good can come of any of the criminal-justice topics the Governor is most likely to add to a special session which some, like Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, would like to fill with right-wing red meat.

One surprising omission so far has been the failure of the 83rd Legislature to establish a legal punishment for 17-year old capital offenders. Texas treats them as adults but the US Supreme Court considers them juveniles. So SCOTUS rulings banning the death penalty and life without parole (LWOP) for juveniles have left Texas with no legal punishments on the books for 17-year olds charged with capital murder. They can still be charged with “regular” murder, which could get them a sentence of up to 99-life, but with the eventual possibility of parole

Data: Juvenile Detentions Down, The Tribune-Democrat

HARRISBURG — The number of accused juvenile delinquents taken from their homes by court order dropped more than 29 percent from 2007 to 2011, government data shows.

While the trends are encouraging, advocates note that Pennsylvania had plenty of ground to make up.

Through 2010, the most recent year in which national data is available, Pennsylvania had the highest rate of juveniles in out-of-home detention, according to data compiled by the U.S. Department of Justice. And while most other big states had seen the number of juveniles placed in out-of-home detention decrease over the decade leading up to 2010, the number went up in Pennsylvania.

Monday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

Researchers Examine Youth Delinquency and Violence in Denver, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

The initial results from a study analyzing youth violence in a small Denver neighborhood finds that the roots of adolescent delinquency may be found in tumultuous, early home-life experiences.

In February, researchers at the University of Colorado’s Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence released findings from the first year of a five-year analysis of Denver’s Montbello neighborhood. With data for more than 2,000 local students culled from surveys, in tandem with almost 700 Montbello resident interviews, researchers determined that two-out-of-five young people in the area had been involved in delinquent activity within a 12-month period, with 6 percent of the youth population saying they had tried drugs before becoming teenagers.

Neb. Court Rejects Off-Campus Search of Student Vehicle, Education Week

A search by school officials of a student’s vehicle while it was parked just off campus was unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment, Nebraska’s highest court has ruled.

The search had turned up drug paraphernalia, leading to a 19-day suspension for a Millard West High School student identified in court papers as J.P.

The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled 5-1 that school officials exceeded their authority under state law when they concluded that a student driving to and from school without parking on school grounds gave them a sufficient nexus to school activities to subject the student to discipline based on that activity.

Juvenile Justice Overhaul Caries Additional Cost, forsyth News

Forsyth County Juvenile Court and the local finance committee used a Wednesday budget meeting to grapple with how to budget for new statewide requirements.

Gov. Nathan Deal signed a juvenile justice reform bill into law on May 2 that rewrites and reorganizes the law.

The 250-page bill is a “complete overhaul of the juvenile code,” said Juvenile Court Judge Russell Jackson.

Those new requirements take effect with the start of 2014, but the impact to the county’s budget hasn’t been determined.