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IN THE INTEREST OF T. D. B.

MARCH 07, 1984

IN THE INTEREST OF T. D. B., MINOR CHILD




BEFORE ROY NOBLE LEE, PRATHER, and SULLIVAN

ROY NOBLE LEE, PRESIDING JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

This is an appeal from the Family Court of Harrison County, Honorable Michael H. Ward, presiding, by T.D.B., a minor, who was adjudicated to be delinquent and was committed to the custody of the Miss. Dept. of Youth Services for placement at an appropriate state training school.

The lower court found T.D.B. was delinquent after hearing a petition alleging that she burned a school building and possessed one ounce of marijuana. Appellant admitted the allegations of the petition, viz, that she started the fire from toilet tissue in the school washroom upon a" dare "from three other students. However, the record indicates she immediately summoned help and the fire was extinguished with little damage. Thirteen witnesses testified for appellant, including Dr. Thomas William Howard, a clinical psychologist, and members of the sheriff's department.

 The evidence reflects that appellant was mentally retarded to a degree; that family therapy would be the best approach to her problem; and that it would not be for her best interest to be confined in a juvenile training school. The lower court was of the opinion that

 It would be in the best interest of this child not to go to Columbia Training School. She's in the lower ten percent of the population of this country in intellectual capacity among her age. She did set a fire, but she immediately reported the same to the individuals at school, figures of authority. The training school would not help her, might do her harm, and her problems would be best served by her and her family being required to receive treatment and therapy from Dr. William Howard or some other clinical psychologist . . . .

 The lower court was of the opinion that under

 Mississippi Code Annotated 97-17-3 (1972) it had no alternative except to sentence appellant to at least six (6) months confinement at the training school. *fn1 However, the court granted an appeal with supersedeas to this Court.

 Section 97-17-3 provides the following:

 (1) Any person who wilfully and maliciously sets fire to or burns or causes to be burned, or who is a party to destruction by explosion from combustible material, who aids, counsels, or procures the burning or destruction of any state-supported schoolbuilding in this state . . .

 * * *

 (3) Any person, who by reason of his age, comes under the jurisdiction of juvenile authorities and who is found guilty under subsection (1) of this section, shall not be eligible for probation unless and until at least six months' confinement has been served in a state reform school.

 The above section was amended by Chapter 256, 1958 Miss. Laws, to add Subsection (3), which provides for at least six months' confinement without probation of a juvenile who was found guilty under Subsection (1). The Youth Court Act was amended by Chapter 506, 1979 Miss. Laws, and Chapter 550, 1980 Miss. Laws, and is now known as the" Youth Court Law, "coverning Mississippi Code Annotated 43-21-101 through 43-21-651 (1972). That law grants broad powers to the Youth Court and the Family Court. Mississippi Code Annotated 43-21-605 (1972) provides great authority and wide discretion to those courts in delinquency cases and disposition orders.

 The appellant contends that the lower court committed two errors in its judgment:

 (1) The Honorable Family Court judge erred in finding that the Youth Court Act of 1979 had not been repealed by ...


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