Youth Court serves many important functions. For example, the youth court has exclusive jurisdiction or power over : (1) Hearings when a child commits a delinquent act – an act that would carry criminal punishments if committed by an adult; (2) Hearings when a child has been abused or neglected – whether it be physical, mental or sexual abuse/neglect; (3) Hearings when a child is unruly or in need of supervision and is a dependent child; (4) involuntary committals of children in need of special care or mental treatment. Youth Court may also hear cases to terminate parental rights when parent(s) have failed or neglected certain key duties to the child or children. The County Court may also serve as place where child support claims and issues of paternity are presented; this is a shared or concurrent power with Chancery Court system.
The Mississippi Youth Court Laws are to be liberally construed to provide that each child [in youth court] shall become a responsible, accountable and productive citizen, and that each such child shall receive such care, guidance and control, preferably in such child’s own home as is conducive toward that end and is in the state’s and the child’s best interest.
It is the public policy of Mississippi that the parents of each child shall be primarily responsible for the care, support, education and welfare of such child or children; however, when it is necessary that a child be removed from the control of such child’s parents, the Youth Court shall secure proper care for that child or children.
NOTE: The two principal factors determine the jurisdiction of Youth Court: age and conduct. The outer limit for Youth Court is eighteen (18) years of age. [The age at the time of the offense.]
John M. Gilmore, Youth Court Referee
15288 S. Jackson St.
P.O. Box 151
Durant, MS 39063
(662) 653-3030 (Office)
(662) 653-3090 (Fax)
J. David Wynne, Youth Court Prosecutor
116 Court Square
P.O. Box 90
Lexington, MS 39095
(662) 834-3600 (Office)
Karen Hunter, Youth Court Counselor
P.O. Box 120
Lexington, MS 39095
(662) 834-1511 (Office)
(662) 834-3362 (Fax)