2023 Regular Session
To: Judiciary B
By: Representative Yates
AN ACT TO CREATE THE OFFENSE OF FAILING TO EXECUTE PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY OF A CHILD; TO PROVIDE THAT SUCH OFFENSE MAY BE COMMITTED BY A PARENT, LAWFUL GUARDIAN OR OTHER PERSON LAWFULLY CHARGED WITH THE CARE OR CUSTODY OF A CHILD WHO IS UNDER SEVENTEEN YEARS OF AGE; TO PROVIDE THAT SUCH OFFENSE IS COMMITTED WHEN THE CHILD COMMITS CERTAIN VIOLENT ACTS AND THE CHILD HAS BEEN PREVIOUSLY CHARGED WITH OR CONVICTED OF SIMILAR ACTS AND THE PARENT, LAWFUL GUARDIAN OR OTHER PERSON KNEW OR SHOULD HAVE KNOWN OF SUCH PREVIOUS ACT OR ACTS COMMITTED BY THE CHILD; TO PROVIDE CERTAIN AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES FOR THE PARENT, LAWFUL GUARDIAN OR OTHER PERSON LAWFULLY CHARGED WITH THE CHARGE OR CUSTODY OF THE CHILD; TO PROVIDE CERTAIN PENALTIES FOR THOSE CONVICTED OF FAILING TO EXECUTE PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY OF A CHILD; TO AMEND SECTION 43-21-151, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CONFORM TO THE PRECEDING SECTION; TO BRING FORWARD SECTION 43-21-619, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH PERTAINS TO RESTITUTION THAT MAY BE PAID BY THE PARENTS OF A CHILD WHO IS UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE YOUTH COURT, FOR PURPOSES OF POSSIBLE AMENDMENT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) Subject to the condition prescribed under subsection (3) of this section, a person commits the offense of failing to execute parental responsibility of a child if the person is the parent, lawful guardian or other person lawfully charged with the care or custody of a child under seventeen (17) years of age and such child:
(a) Attempts or commits any act, which if such act committed by an adult would be punishable under state or federal law by life imprisonment or death, and such act committed by the child will be in the original jurisdiction of the circuit court;
(b) Attempts or commits any act that is defined as a violent crime under Section 97-3-2, and such act will be in the original jurisdiction of the circuit court; or
(c) Commits any delinquent act that is a felony, and the act causes the child to be committed to the state training school.
(2) Nothing in this section applies to any child care facility as defined under Section 43-20-5 or to foster parents.
(3) Before a person, as described in subsection (1) of this section, commits the offense of failing to execute parental responsibility of a child, such person must have:
(a) Known or reasonably should have known that his or her child has been previously charged with or convicted of a similar act; and
(b) Failed to take reasonable steps to control the conduct of the child so as to prevent the commission of such future offense(s).
(4) In a prosecution of a person for failing to execute parental responsibility of a child under this section, it is an affirmative defense that the person (i) reported the act to the appropriate authorities or (ii) the person took reasonable steps to control the conduct of the child at the time the person is alleged to have committed the offense of failing to execute parental responsibility of a child.
(5) (a) If a person pleads guilty or is found guilty of failing to execute parental responsibility of a child under this section and if the person has not previously been convicted of failing to execute parental responsibility of a child, the court shall order the person to complete a parental effectiveness program approved by the court. Upon the person's completion of the parental effectiveness program to the satisfaction of the court, the court may discharge the person. If the person fails to complete the parental effectiveness program to the satisfaction of the court, the court may impose a sentence authorized by this section.
(b) Upon a subsequent conviction of a person who has committed the offense of failing to execute parental responsibility of a child, the court shall order such person to pay restitution to the victim for economic damages arising from the act of the child and such restitution shall not exceed Two Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($2,500.00) or the court may order the person to serve a sentence in the county jail that shall not exceed six (6) months, or both.
(6) The juvenile court has jurisdiction over a first offense of failing to execute the parental responsibility of a child under this section, and any consequential offenses of such offense shall be in the jurisdiction of the circuit court.
SECTION 2. Section 43-21-151, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-21-151. (1) The youth court shall have exclusive original jurisdiction in all proceedings concerning a delinquent child, a child in need of supervision, a neglected child, an abused child or a dependent child except in the following circumstances:
(a) Any act attempted or committed by a child, which if committed by an adult would be punishable under state or federal law by life imprisonment or death, will be in the original jurisdiction of the circuit court;
(b) Any act attempted or committed by a child with the use of a deadly weapon, the carrying of which concealed is prohibited by Section 97-37-1, or a shotgun or a rifle, which would be a felony if committed by an adult, will be in the original jurisdiction of the circuit court; and
(c) When a charge of abuse of a child first arises in the course of a custody action between the parents of the child already pending in the chancery court and no notice of such abuse was provided prior to such chancery proceedings, the chancery court may proceed with the investigation, hearing and determination of such abuse charge as a part of its hearing and determination of the custody issue as between the parents, notwithstanding the other provisions of the Youth Court Law. The proceedings in chancery court on the abuse charge shall be confidential in the same manner as provided in youth court proceedings.
When a child is expelled from the public schools, the youth court shall be notified of the act of expulsion and the act or acts constituting the basis for expulsion.
(2) Jurisdiction of the child in the cause shall attach at the time of the offense and shall continue thereafter for that offense until the child's twentieth birthday, unless sooner terminated by order of the youth court. The youth court shall not have jurisdiction over offenses committed by a child on or after his eighteenth birthday.
(3) No child who has not reached his thirteenth birthday shall be held criminally responsible or criminally prosecuted for a misdemeanor or felony; however, the parent, guardian or custodian of such child may be civilly liable for any criminal acts of such child. No child under the jurisdiction of the youth court shall be held criminally responsible or criminally prosecuted by any court for any act designated as a delinquent act, unless jurisdiction is transferred to another court under Section 43-21-157.
(4) The youth court shall also have jurisdiction of offenses committed by a child which have been transferred to the youth court by an order of a circuit court of this state having original jurisdiction of the offense, as provided by Section 43-21-159.
(5) The youth court shall regulate and approve the use of teen court as provided in Section 43-21-753.
(6) The youth court shall have jurisdiction over a first offense of failing to execute parental responsibility of a child as prescribed under Section 1 of this act.
( * * *
7) Nothing in this section shall prevent
the circuit court from assuming jurisdiction over a youth who has committed an
act of delinquency upon a youth court's ruling that a transfer is appropriate
pursuant to Section 43-21-157.
SECTION 3. Section 43-21-619, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:
43-21-619. (1) The youth court may order financially able parents to pay for court ordered medical and other examinations and treatment of a child; for reasonable attorney's fees and court costs; and for other expenses found necessary or appropriate in the best interest of the child as determined by the youth court. The youth court is authorized to enforce payments ordered under this subsection.
(2) The youth court may order the parents, guardians or custodians who exercise parental custody and control of a child who is under the jurisdiction of the youth court and who has willfully or maliciously caused personal injury or damaged or destroyed property, to pay such damages or restitution through the court to the victim in an amount not to exceed the actual loss and to enforce payment thereof. Restitution ordered by the youth court under this section shall not preclude recovery of damages by the victim from such child or parent, guardian or custodian or other person who would otherwise be liable. The youth court also may order the parents, guardians or custodians of a child who is under the jurisdiction of the youth court and who willfully or maliciously has caused personal injury or damaged or destroyed property to participate in a counseling program or other suitable family treatment program for the purpose of preventing future occurrences of malicious destruction of property or personal injury.
(3) Such orders under this section shall constitute a civil judgment and may be enrolled on the judgment rolls in the office of the circuit clerk of the county where such order was entered, and further, such order may be enforced in any manner provided by law for civil judgments.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2023.