1997 Regular Session
To: Juvenile Justice; Appropriations
By: Senator(s) Smith, Johnson (19th)
Senate Bill 2851
AN ACT TO BE ENTITLED THE "YOUTH COURT EMERGENCY RELIEF PILOT PROGRAM ACT"; TO ENACT LEGISLATIVE INTENT; TO CREATE AN ELEVEN-COUNTY PILOT PROJECT TO EXPIRE WITHIN FIVE YEARS THAT WILL ADD JUDGES AND PROSECUTORS TO THE YOUTH COURTS IN THE PILOT PROGRAM COUNTIES; TO AMEND SECTION 9-1-105, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL YOUTH COURT JUDGES BY THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE MISSISSIPPI SUPREME COURT; TO ENACT SECTION 7-5-14, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO APPOINT ASSISTANT ATTORNEYS GENERAL TO BE ASSIGNED TO THE HANDLING OF CERTAIN YOUTH COURT CASES; TO AMEND SECTION 43-21-117, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. This act may be cited as the "Youth Court Emergency Relief Pilot Program Act".
SECTION 2. The Legislature finds that the youth court system is in a crisis situation in some areas of this state due to an explosive increase in the number of youth court cases. The Legislature is committed to giving the Judicial Department of state government the resources needed to adequately handle those youth court caseloads.
SECTION 3. There is hereby created a state-funded youth court emergency relief pilot program in eleven (11) counties. The purpose of the program is to place additional judges and prosecutors in certain youth courts at state expense. The pilot program counties are: Coahoma, Grenada, Hancock, Harrison, Hinds, Jones, Lauderdale, Lee, Pike, Washington and Yazoo Counties.
SECTION 4. Section 9-1-105, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
9-1-105. (1) Whenever any judicial officer is unwilling or unable to hear a case or unable to hold or attend any of the courts at the time and place required by law by reason of the physical disability or sickness of such judicial officer, by reason of the absence of such judicial officer from the state, by reason of the disqualification of such judicial officer pursuant to the provision of Section 165, Mississippi Constitution of 1890, or any provision of the Code of Judicial Conduct, or for any other reason, the Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court, with the advice and consent of a majority of the justices of the Mississippi Supreme Court, may appoint a person as a special judge to hear the case or attend and hold a court.
(2) Upon the request of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals or the senior judge of a chancery or circuit court district, the Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court, with the advice and consent of a majority of the justices of the Mississippi Supreme Court, shall have the authority to appoint a special judge to serve on an emergency basis in a circuit or chancery court. It shall be the duty of any special judge so appointed to assist the court to which he is assigned in the disposition of causes so pending in such court.
(3)(a) The Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court, with the advice and consent of a majority of the justices of the Mississippi Supreme Court, shall appoint, by order, special youth court judges to serve in any pilot program youth court or youth courts during the period of existence of the pilot program. It shall be the duty of any special judge so appointed to assist the youth court to which he is assigned in the disposition of the youth court cases pending or subsequently filed in that court as provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection. The order may provide that a special youth court judge shall serve in more than one (1) youth court for the duration of the appointment on a schedule to be specified in the order.
(b) Special youth court judges appointed pursuant to the provisions of this subsection shall be authorized to handle disposition of any cases on the same basis as any other youth court judge.
(c) The total number of special youth court judges appointed pursuant to this act shall not exceed eleven (11) at any one (1) time.
(d) This subsection shall be effective from and after the effective date of Senate Bill No. 2851, 1997 Regular Session, and shall stand repealed from and after January 1, 2002.
(4) When a vacancy exists for any of the reasons enumerated in Section 9-1-103, the vacancy has not been filled within seven (7) days by an appointment by the Governor, and there is a pending cause or are pending causes in the court where the vacancy exists that in the interests of justice and in the orderly dispatch of the court's business require the appointment of a special judge, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, with the advice and consent of a majority of the justices of the Mississippi Supreme Court, may appoint a qualified person as a special judge to fill the vacancy until the Governor makes his appointment and such appointee has taken the oath of office.
(5) If the Chief Justice pursuant to this section shall make an appointment within the authority vested in the Governor by reason of Section 165, Mississippi Constitution of 1890, the Governor may at his election appoint a person to so serve. In the event that the Governor makes such an appointment, any appointment made by the Chief Justice pursuant to this section shall be void and of no further force or effect from the date of the Governor's appointment.
(6) When a judicial officer is unwilling or unable to hear a case or unable or unwilling to hold court for a period of time not to exceed two (2) weeks, the trial judge or judges of the affected district or county and other trial judges may agree among themselves regarding the appointment of a person for such case or such limited period of time. The trial judges shall submit a notice to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court informing him of their appointment. If the Chief Justice does not appoint another person to serve as special judge within seven (7) days after receipt of such notice, the person designated in such order shall be deemed appointed.
(7) A person appointed to serve as a special judge may be any presently sitting or retired chancery, circuit or county court judge, Court of Appeals judge or Supreme Court Justice, or any other person possessing the qualifications of the judicial office for which the appointment is made; provided, however, that a judge or justice who was retired from service at the polls shall not be eligible for appointment as a special judge in the district in which he served prior to his defeat.
(8) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (2) of this section, the need for an appointment pursuant to this section may be certified to the Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court by any attorney in good standing or other officer of the court.
(9) The order appointing a person as a special judge pursuant to this section shall describe as specifically as possible the duration of the appointment.
(10) A special judge appointed pursuant to this section shall take the oath of office, if necessary, and shall, for the duration of his appointment, enjoy the full power and authority of the office to which he is appointed.
(11) Any presently sitting justice or judge appointed as a special judge under this section shall receive no additional compensation for his or her service as special judge. Any other person appointed as a special judge hereunder shall, for the period of his service, receive compensation from the state for each day's service a sum equal to 1/260 of the current salary in effect for the judicial office; provided, however, that no retired chancery, circuit or county court judge, retired Court of Appeals judge or any retired Supreme Court Justice appointed as a special judge pursuant to this section may, during any fiscal year, receive compensation in excess of twenty-five percent (25%) of the current salary in effect for a chancery or circuit court judge. Any person appointed as a special judge shall be reimbursed for travel expenses incurred in the performance of the official duties to which he may be appointed hereunder in the same manner as other public officials and employees as provided by Section 25-3-41, Mississippi Code of 1972.
(12) If any person appointed as such special judge is receiving retirement benefits by virtue of the provisions of the Public Employees' Retirement Law of 1952, appearing as Sections 25-11-1 through 25-11-139, Mississippi Code of 1972, such benefits shall not be reduced in any sum whatsoever because of such service, nor shall any sum be deducted as contributions toward retirement under said law.
(13) The Supreme Court shall have authority to prescribe rules and regulations reasonably necessary to implement and give effect to the provisions of this section.
(14) Nothing in this section shall abrogate the right of attorneys engaged in a case to agree upon a member of the bar to preside in a case pursuant to Section 165 of the Mississippi Constitution of 1890.
(15) The Supreme Court shall prepare the necessary payroll for special judges appointed pursuant to this section and shall submit such payroll to the Department of Finance and Administration.
(16) Special judges appointed pursuant to this section shall direct requests for reimbursement for travel expenses authorized pursuant to this section to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court shall submit such requests to the Department of Finance and Administration. The Supreme Court shall have the power to adopt rules and regulations regarding the administration of travel expenses authorized pursuant to this section.
SECTION 5. The following provision shall be codified as Section 7-5-14, Mississippi Code of 1972:
7-5-14. (1) The Attorney General shall, with the approval of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, appoint not more than eleven (11) competent attorneys, each of whom shall be designated assistant attorney general, who shall be assigned specifically to the handling of the prosecution of youth court cases to be heard in any of the eleven (11) pilot program counties created by Senate Bill No. 2851, 1997 Regular Session. Said assistants shall possess all of the qualifications required by law of the Attorney General, shall have power and authority under the direction and supervision of the Attorney General to perform all the duties required under this section, and shall be liable to all the pains and penalties to which the Attorney General is liable. The Attorney General may discharge any such assistant at his pleasure and appoint another in his stead. The attorney shall fix the annual salary of each of the attorneys appointed under this section as he may deem proper, but not to exceed Forty-Five Thousand Dollars ($45,000.00). The assistants appointed under this section shall devote their entire time and attention to the duties pertaining to the prosecution of youth court cases in youth courts participating in the pilot program created by Senate Bill No. 2851, 1997 Regular Session.
SECTION 6. Section 43-21-117, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-21-117. (1) The youth court prosecutor shall represent the petitioner in all proceedings in the youth court.
(2) Except as provided in Senate Bill No. 2851, 1997 Regular Session, the county prosecuting attorney shall serve as the youth court prosecutor; however, if funds are available pursuant to Section 43-21-123, the court may designate, as provided in subsection (3) of this section, a prosecutor or prosecutors in lieu of or in addition to the county prosecuting attorney. Where there is a municipal youth court division, the city prosecutor shall serve as youth court prosecutor; provided that the district attorney may participate in transfer proceedings.
(3) The judge may designate as provided in Section 43-21-123 some suitable attorney or attorneys to serve as youth court prosecutor or prosecutors in lieu of or in conjunction with the youth court prosecutor provided in subsection (2) of this section. The designated youth court prosecutor or prosecutors shall be paid a fee or salary fixed on order of the judge as provided in Section 43-21-123 and shall be paid by the county out of any available funds budgeted for the youth court by the board of supervisors, unless the designated youth court prosecutor or prosecutors serves in a municipal youth court division, in which case he shall be paid a fee or salary fixed on order of the judge from the funds available to the municipality.
SECTION 7. The Attorney General of the State of Mississippi is hereby directed to submit this act, immediately upon approval by the Governor, or upon approval by the Legislature subsequent to a veto, to the Attorney General of the United States or to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in accordance with the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.
SECTION 8. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after the date it is effectuated under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.