Youth Court in Mississippi – The Basics

In the state of Mississippi, there are certain people who feel the purpose of Youth Court is to alleviate the constant backlog of criminal cases in other courts. Nothing could be further from the truth. Youth Court has exclusive power over these types of cases:

  1. Delinquency Hearings: These are “mini-trials” dealing with delinquent acts committed by children. Delinquent acts are considered any actions that would carry a criminal punishment if those actions were committed by an adult.
  2. Child Abuse/Neglect Hearings. At times, these hearings can end up terminating parental rights when parent(s) have failed or neglected to provide basic, fundamental care to their child/children.
  3. Children in Need of Supervision Hearings
  4. Involuntary Commitment proceedings involving children in need of special care or mental treatment.

According to the statutes in Mississippi dealing with Youth Court, the purpose of this Court is to see that each child who comes in contact with the youth court becomes a responsible, accountable and productive citizen.
Each child shall receive care, guidance and control preferably in the child’s own home, as long as that home can provide that care. It is simple and good public policy to have the parents of each child be responsible for their care and support, but when it is necessary to remove a child from the control of that child’s parents, the youth court will provide proper care for that child.

The two principal factors to determine the jurisdiction of Youth Court are age and conduct. No child may be 18 or over and be handled by the Youth Court. The Court looks at the age of the child when the alleged offense occurred. Once within the Youth Court, a judge may transfer the case to Circuit Court, as long as a transfer hearing is conducted, and the judge is satisfied that other alternatives have been exhausted or will be ineffective in the particular case before the judge.

Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.

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