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IN THE INTEREST OF M. I.

JANUARY 27, 1988

IN THE INTEREST OF M. I., a Minor




BEFORE ROY NOBLE LEE, C.J.; ROBERTSON and GRIFFIN, JJ.

GRIFFIN, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

This appeal arises out of the highly controversial and much publicized case of the Bethseda Home for Girls, a facility located in Forrest County, Mississippi, and operated by the Rev. W. B. Wills, appellant herein. Before this Court we have an Order by the Forrest County Youth Court adjudicating Rev. Wills to be in contempt of court, as well as an expanded order of permanent injunctive relief executed against the appealing party.

As error, Wills would have us determine, among other things, the legality of his home for girls, which has since undergone reorganization in addition to a change of hands. We are of the opinion that this issue is not properly before the Court, and decline to wade through this quagmire of constitutional dilemmas inappropriately assigned as error in the case at bar. It is for this Court to determine only

 whether the orders of the youth court are supported by statutory authority under Miss. Code Ann. 43-21-1, et seq. (the Youth Court Act) and the case law thereunder.

 In our purview of the record before us we find that the youth court, having properly taken jurisdiction in deciding the fate of M.I., was eminently correct in its decision. Therefore, the order of the lower court is affirmed.

 BACKGROUND

 The factual scenario preceding the appeal is this: sometime in early 1984, M. I., a minor resident of the home, ran away and was subsequently taken into custody by Forrest County officials. Pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. 43-21-309 (1981), a hearing was held on March 30, 1984, to determine the status of the child.

 From this hearing the special referee appointed to the case entered an order adjudicating the home to be a detention center within the meaning of the Youth Court Act, 43-21-315 (1972), and the Rev. Wills to be its custodian at law. This order was not contested in the years following, and the designation of the facility as a detention center is admitted on appeal.

 The special referee ordered a due process hearing for the remainder of the minors held within the home. The order included a temporary injunction against removal of any individual from the home, and production of a list of the residents "by 8 o'clock this evening," including the minors' names, ages, parents' addresses and telephone numbers.

 This order, when appealed, was affirmed, and the temporary injunction was made permanent on September 24, 1984. Once again the court ordered production of a list of the residents, and this time the Rev. Wills was told to submit to the court the names of all girls entering the home after September 24 within seven (7) days of admission, "together with all documentation by which they claim said individual is lawfully held."

 Rev. Wills complied with the orders insofar as providing lists of the residents on October 4, 1984, on May 6, 1985, and on July 16, 1985.

 On September 8, 1986, the State of Mississippi by and through the Forrest County Youth Court Prosecutor, filed a motion for contempt against Redemption Ranch, Inc., d/b/a

 Redemption Ranch and the Bethesda Home for Girls, its employees and the Rev. B. R. Wills. This motion was premised upon a failure to comply fully with the youth court's previous orders.

 On September 9, 1986, the Rev. Wills attempted to comply with the orders of the youth court; however, the list of names given to the court excluded the names of six (6) girls who had resided at the facility for longer than seven (7) days, as was stated in the September 24, 1984 order. Further, in the hearing on the motion for contempt, the court found that one hundred thirty-seven (137) minors had been removed from the state in violation of its order. Additionally, the court determined that there ...


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