In Interest of A.R., 89-CA-093

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
Citation579 So.2d 1269
Docket NumberNo. 89-CA-093,89-CA-093
Decision Date15 May 1991

Merrida P. Coxwell, Jr., Stanfield, Carmody & Coxwell, Jackson, for appellant.

Larry Stamps, Jackson, for appellee.


ROY NOBLE LEE, Chief Justice, for the Court:

The Hinds County Welfare Department filed a petition in the Hinds County Youth Court, for the First Judicial District of Hinds County, alleging that A. and B. R., minor children, were abused children pursuant to Miss.Code Ann. Sec. 43-21-105(m) (Supp.1988). That court ordered the children's natural mother and custodial parent to attend parenting classes at a parent/child center and be under the supervision of the Hinds County Welfare Department for six (6) months. The mother appeals the order of the Hinds County Youth Court presenting one issue for discussion by this Court.


On October 17, 1988, the father of A., born on April 9, 1979, and B.R., born on July 9, 1980, reported to a Hinds County Welfare Department worker that, when he picked up A. and B.R. for his regular visitation, from the home of the mother, he observed that the boys had bruises on their buttocks. The parents of the children were divorced in 1985 and pursuant to the decree the mother had custody of A. and B.R.

The mother testified that A. and B.R. had received a spanking, with a leather gun strap, similar to a belt, from their stepfather. The spankings resulted from conversations the mother had with the boys' teachers wherein she was informed that the boys had not been doing their homework; that they had not been obeying their teachers; that they had been disrupting class and that they had thrown pencils in school urinals. The mother was advised, by one teacher, that notes concerning the boys misbehavior had been sent home with the boys. She had no knowledge of such notes but discovered the notes hidden in A.'s backpack. The mother further testified that the boys had not been behaving at home and that, prior to the administration of the corporal punishment, other forms of punishment, such as taking away the boys' privileges, had been utilized to no avail.

The record reflects that one of A.'s and B.R.'s teachers requested the mother grant her permission to administer corporal punishment upon the boys, in connection with the boys' misbehavior, since other forms of discipline were unsuccessful. Testimony at trial revealed that the day after the boys received spankings their behavior at home and at school improved.


The appellant, the mother of A. and B.R., contends that the evidence was not sufficient to support a finding that A. and B.R. are abused children within the meaning of the Youth Court Act. The State must establish its case by a preponderance of the evidence.

If the court finds from a preponderance of the evidence that the child is a neglected child or an abused child, the youth court shall enter an order adjudicating the child to be a neglected child or an abused child.

Miss.Code Ann. Sec. 43-21-561(3) (1972). See In Interest of E.S., M.S., J.S. v. State, 567 So.2d 848, 850 (Miss.1990); In Interest of I.G., 467 So.2d 920, 924 (Miss.1985). When a Youth Court makes an adjudication of abuse, this Court considers all of the evidence before the Youth Court in the light most favorable to the State. In Interest of TLC, 566 So.2d 691, 701 (Miss.1990); Collins v. Lowndes County Public Welfare Department, 555 So.2d 71, 72 (Miss.1989); In Interest of M.R.L., 488 So.2d 788, 791 (Miss.1986). "If the evidence so considered is opposed to the finding of the Youth Court with such force that 'reasonable men' could not have found as the Youth Court did by a preponderance of the evidence, this Court must reverse." In Interest of TLC, 566 So.2d at 701 (quoting Collins, 555 So.2d at 72).

An abused child is a child "whose parent, guardian or custodian or any person responsible for his care or support, whether legally obligated to do so or not, has caused or allowed to be caused upon said child sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, emotional abuse, mental injury, nonaccidental physical injury or other maltreatment." Miss.Code Ann. Sec. 43-21-105(m) (Supp.1990). The Mississippi Youth Court Act was not intended to and does not prohibit the use of corporal punishment in disciplining a child. Injury is labeled abusive only when it constitutes maltreatment.

A parent, being charged with the training and education of his child, has a right to adopt such disciplinary measures for the child as will enable him to discharge his parental duty. Accordingly, he has a right to correct the child by reasonable and timely punishment, including corporal punishment.... A parent has a wide discretion in the performance of such functions. The control and proper discipline of a child by the parent may justify acts which would otherwise constitute assault and battery, but the right...

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5 cases
  • In re Uniform Rules of Youth Court Practice, No. 89-R-99033-SCT (Miss. 12/11/2008), 89-R-99033-SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • December 11, 2008
    ...... court may require a hearing to determine whether the court or parties have a legitimate interest to be allowed access to the confidential files. In determining whether a person has a legitimate ......
  • In re Unif. Rules of Youth Court Practice, 89-R-99033-SCT
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • July 17, 2012
    ...Rules are as follows: "Abused child" has the same meaning as in section 43-21-105(m) of the Mississippi Code. See, e.g., In re A.R., 579 So. 2d 1269, 1270 (Miss. 1991) (dealing with corporal punishment in disciplining a child); "Adjudication hearing" means a hearing to determine whether a c......
  • J.T. v. Hinds Cnty. Youth Court, 2015–CA–00160–SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • April 21, 2016
    ...E.S. v. State, 567 So.2d 848, 849 (Miss.1990).9 Id.10 Id.11 Id.12 In re D.O., 798 So.2d 417, 421 (Miss.2001).13 Id. at 422.14 In re A.R., 579 So.2d 1269, 1270–71 (Miss.1991).15 Id. at 1270.16 Id.17 Id. at 1270–71.18 Id. at 1271.19 (Emphasis added.)20 Miss.Code Ann. § 43–21–203(4) (Rev.2015)......
  • State v. Arnold
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • February 14, 1996
    ......14, 832 S.W.2d 510 (1992); Deloso v. State, 37 Md.App. 101, 376 A.2d 873 (1977); In Interest of A.R., 579 So.2d 1269 (Miss.1991); In re Ethan H., 135 N.H. 681, 609 A.2d 1222 (1992). ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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