2007 Regular Session
To: Juvenile Justice
By: Representative Flaggs
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 43-21-201, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, AS AMENDED BY HOUSE BILL NO. 11, 2007 REGULAR SESSION, TO CLARIFY THAT COUNSEL WHO REPRESENT PARTIES IN YOUTH COURT DELINQUENCY MATTERS MUST BE LEGAL DEFENSE COUNSEL WHO IS NOT ALSO A GUARDIAN AD LITEM FOR THE SAME CHILD AND TO REQUIRE THE COMMISSION ON CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION TO APPROVE ANNUAL JUVENILE JUSTICE TRAINING FOR ATTORNEYS WHO REPRESENT DELINQUENT CHILDREN; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 43-21-201, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-21-201. (1) Each party shall have the right to be represented by counsel at all stages of the proceedings including, but not limited to, detention, adjudicatory and disposition hearings and parole or probation revocation proceedings. In delinquency matters the court shall appoint legal defense counsel who is not also a guardian ad litem for the same child. If the party is a child, the child shall be represented by counsel at all critical stages. If indigent, the child shall have the right to have counsel appointed for him by the youth court.
(2) When a party first appears before the youth court, the judge shall ascertain whether he is represented by counsel and, if not, inform him of his rights including his right to counsel. (3) An attorney appointed to represent a delinquent child shall be required to complete annual juvenile justice training that is approved by the Mississippi Judicial College or the Mississippi Commission on Continuing Legal Education. The Mississippi Judicial College and the Mississippi Commission on Continuing Legal Education shall determine the amount of juvenile justice training and continuing education required to fulfill the requirements of this subsection. The Administrative Office of Courts shall maintain a roll of attorneys who have complied with the training requirements and shall enforce the provisions of this subsection. Should an attorney fail to complete the annual training requirement or fail to attend the required training within six (6) months of being appointed to a youth court case, the attorney shall be disqualified to serve and the youth court shall immediately terminate the representation and appoint another attorney. Attorneys appointed by a youth court to five (5) or fewer cases a year are exempt from the requirements of this subsection.
(4) An attorney shall enter his appearance on behalf of a party in the proceeding by filing a written notice of appearance with the youth court, by filing a pleading, notice or motion signed by counsel or by appearing in open court and advising the youth court that he is representing a party. After counsel has entered his appearance, he shall be served with copies of all subsequent pleadings, motions and notices required to be served on the party he represents. An attorney who has entered his appearance shall not be permitted to withdraw from the case until a timely appeal if any has been decided, except by leave of the court then exercising jurisdiction of the cause after notice of his intended withdrawal is served by him on the party he represents.
(5) Each designee appointed by a youth court judge shall be subject to the Code of Judicial Conduct and shall govern himself or herself accordingly.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.