1997 Regular Session
To: Juvenile Justice
By: Senator(s) Smith
Senate Bill 2766
(As Sent to Governor)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 43-21-753, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE DIVERSION OF YOUTHFUL OFFENDERS TO THE TEEN COURT PILOT PROGRAM; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 43-21-753, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-21-753. The youth courts of Harrison, Hinds, Rankin and Bolivar counties are authorized to establish a teen court program for the diversion of certain offenders who have waived all right of confidentiality and privilege against self-incrimination. The youth court of Rankin County may extend its teen court program within the city limits of Pearl. The offenders eligible to participate shall be those * * * offenders who in the discretion of the youth court are suitable and compulsory-school-age children who have come into the jurisdiction of the youth court as a result of not attending school. The teen court shall be a preventive program for juveniles comprised of youth from seventh (7th) through twelfth (12th) grades who are not less than thirteen (13) nor more than seventeen (17) years of age, which students shall serve as prosecutor, defense counsel, bailiff, court clerk and jurors. The program is to administer the "sentencing" or disposition phase of the proceedings against offenders who elect to participate, shall be under the guidance of the local youth court, and shall be approved by the local youth court. The youth court judge, or his designee who is a licensed attorney, shall preside. The teen court is authorized to require eligible offenders who choose to go to teen court in lieu of youth court to perform up to one hundred twelve (112) hours of community service, require offenders to make a personal apology to a victim, require offenders to submit a research paper on any relevant subject, attend counseling and make restitution or any other disposition authorized by the youth court. The youth court shall establish rules and regulations, including sentencing guidelines, for the operation of a teen court. The teen court is authorized to accept monies from any available public or private source, including public or private donations, grants, gifts and appropriated funds for funding expenses of operating the court.
Teen court may be held at whatever location the youth court selects at whatever time or times. Eligible offenders shall be only those children who agree to participate in the teen court and to abide by the teen court's rulings, whose parents or legal guardian shall also so agree, and who are otherwise qualified to participate.
The youth court judge may require an offender who elects to participate in the teen court to pay a fee not to exceed Five Dollars ($5.00); any such fees shall be used in administering this article, and such fee shall not be refunded, regardless of whether the child successfully completes the teen court program.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.