Asked in Juvenile Law and Military Law

Q: Military disqualifications against minor juvenile records?

This individual is now 20 years old. He self-mutilated and was admitted to a psych ward at age 13. By law, is the military able to disqualify any person(s) for past medical history in which the minor was not legally of age to permit any decisions or diagnosis' without the consent of a parent? Technically, like marriage, it's the parents' decisions to permit any legal or medical actions.

Now I'm fully aware that rules are rules, especially with the United States Army, however; could this (no-exceptions) rule be waived if presented unlawful against a minor?

Why are minors later held liable for decisions they made during adolescent years? With hormonal imbalances and development stages of puberty, how is that held accountable as any future mental illnesses?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Patrick Korody
Patrick Korody
  • Criminal Law Lawyer

A: You need to understand that there is no right to serve in the military, and when the military trains a recruit, they spend tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars. The recruiting standards exist based on probabilities as to who will have and not have problems conforming, serving, and meeting the physical and mental demands of military service. The military is not concerned about how the diagnosis was reached - just that there was a diagnosis.

Most of those who enlist in the military are still adolescents by psychological and neurological standards - brains aren't fully developed until mid to late 20s. The military holds those individuals to the same standard as a 45 year old master sergeant.

So the short answer is, there is data out there that suggests mental health issues as a juvenile provide a higher likelihood of issues under the stress of military service. Therefore, to reduce the risk, the military has made a categorical rule. Categorical rules are the way we fight and win wars. It's the bedrock of the military hierarchy.

I am sorry that he will not be able to serve in the military. There are other ways to serve this country besides military service and he should take pride pursuing those opportunities.

Robert Donald Gifford II agrees with this answer

1 user found this answer helpful

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