2007 Regular Session
To: Juvenile Justice
By: Representative Flaggs
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH THE YOUTH COURT DEFENDER STANDARDS COUNCIL; TO PROVIDE THE PURPOSE AND MEMBERSHIP OF THE COUNCIL; TO PROVIDE THAT THE COUNCIL SHALL EMPLOY AN EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR; TO PROVIDE THAT THE COUNCIL, FOR BUDGETARY PURPOSES ONLY, SHALL OPERATE UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATIVE COURTS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) There is established the Youth Court Defender Standards Council. The purpose of the council is to establish, implement and enforce polices and standards for a comprehensive and effective system of legal representation for children in youth court delinquency proceedings throughout the State of Mississippi. The standards for the council shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
(a) Standards for maximum caseloads for youth court defenders taking into consideration the defender's youth court caseload and non-youth court caseload;
(b) Standards for minimum education, training and experience of attorneys assigned as youth court defenders;
(c) Standards for assessing the need for expert, investigative and social services in youth court public defender offices and on individual cases; and
(d) Standards for establishing salary ranges for employees of youth court defender offices and reasonable hourly rates to be paid attorneys and defense team members in individual cases.
(2) The membership of the council shall consist of the following five (5) members as follows:
(a) One member appointed by the Youth Court Judges Conference;
(b) One member appointed by the Director of the Division of Youth Services;
(c) One member appointed by the President of the County Supervisors Association;
(d) One member appointed by the Mississippi Public Defender Association who must be an attorney with experience in youth court defense; and
(e) One member appointed by the Mississippi Bar Association.
(3) Council members shall serve for three (3) years. At the first meeting, which shall be organized by the Administrative Office of Courts within ninety (90) days of the effective date of this act, the council shall elect a chairperson from its membership and adopt rules and procedures for conducting its business.
(4) The Administrative Office of Courts shall provide administrative support to the council. The council shall operate under the authority of the Administrative Office of Courts.
(5) The council shall cooperate with any individual, private or public agency, whether state, local or federal, or with any public or private law school, with any public or private institution of higher learning to obtain by gift, grant or otherwise any financial, professional, investigatory, training, education or research or other assistance; provided, however, that any grants or any financial assistance received for the purposes set out in this subsection shall be paid over to the Administrative Office of Courts and administered consistent with the provisions of this act and the rules and regulations of the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.