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Delinquency and jurisdiction transfer laws in Mississippi

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2022 | Youth Court |

Delinquency is behavior that would not be criminal if committed by an adult but is unlawful for minors.

Generally speaking, Youth Court in Mississippi has jurisdiction over cases of juvenile delinquency. However, a transfer of jurisdiction can take place for offenses serious enough for the prosecution of the minor as an adult.

What offenses does delinquency include?

According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the definition of delinquency in Mississippi includes the following acts:

  • Disobeying commands from parents or guardians
  • Running away from home
  • Being truant from school, i.e., having unexcused absences from class

Children as young as 10 can go to Youth Court for delinquency. The upper age limit for delinquency jurisdiction in Mississippi is 17.

What is statutory exclusion?

All states have laws that transfer delinquency jurisdiction to adult court under certain circumstances. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Mississippi has a statutory exclusion. This means that the laws of the state exclude certain offenses from Youth Court, and the adult system has jurisdiction.

Which offenses does statutory exclusion apply to?

Generally speaking, transfer laws apply to serious offenses by minors. The statutory exclusion in Mississippi specifically applies to acts by minors involving deadly weapons that would be felonies if committed by an adult. It also applies to an act which, if committed by an adult, would be punishable by a death sentence or life imprisonment.

The statutory exclusion does not only apply to acts that a minor allegedly commits. The statutory exclusion also applies to unsuccessful attempts to commit such acts.