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HIPAA laws would not be related to this issue. HIPAA only relates to protected health information and implications of its improper release. It is possible to charge a child with criminal charges that has mild retardation or autism if they break the law. It really will depend on the circumstances of the case. Mental illness and defenses related to "intent" can be something that is used with the court to get the child into a mental health facility instead of in juvenile detention. There is nothing specific that requires the police to take your nephew to a hospital instead. Most likely, there should be plenty of defenses to keep him from criminal charges if the behavior stemmed from the "mental illness" or retardation. I would recommend retaining a criminal attorney to be safe.
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