County and Youth Court

Hon. Carol Jones Russell

Located at 110 Alcorn Avenue, Hattiesburg, MS 39401

(601) 545-6100

Forrest County is 1 of 22 counties in Mississippi with a County Court. County Courts are created by the legislature to reduce the workloads of the Circuit and Chancery Courts.

Forrest County has one County Court Judge, the Honorable Carol Jones Russell.  The court has exclusive jurisdiction over matters involving eminent domain, unlawful entry and detainer, youth courts and partition of personal property.

The County Court shares jurisdiction with Justice Court in all matters, civil and criminal. The County Court also shares jurisdiction with the Circuit and Chancery Courts in all matters of law and equity up to $200,000. The County Court Judges also hear non-capital felony criminal cases transferred by the Circuit Court.

County Court is located in the Forrest County Courthouse at 110 Alcorn Ave. in Hattiesburg.  The Circuit Clerk serves as the clerk of the County Court. For assistance, contact Ms. Gwen Wilks, Circuit Clerk of Forrest County, P.O. Box 992, Hattiesburg, MS 39403. Telephone: 601-582-3213.

Youth Court

Located at 110 Alcorn Avenue, Hattiesburg, MS 39401

(601) 545-6185

Youth Court serves many important functions. For example, the youth court has exclusive jurisdiction or power over : (1) Hearings when a child commits a delinquent act – an act that would carry criminal punishments if committed by an adult; (2) Hearings when a child has been abused or neglected – whether it be physical, mental or sexual abuse/neglect; (3) Hearings when a child is unruly or in need of supervision and is a dependent child; (4) involuntary committals of children in need of special care or mental treatment. Youth Court may also hear cases to terminate parental rights when parent(s) have failed or neglected certain key duties to the child or children. The County Court may also serve as place where child support claims and issues of paternity are presented; this is a shared or concurrent power with Chancery Court system.

The Mississippi Youth Court Laws are to be liberally construed to provide that each child [in youth court] shall become a responsible, accountable and productive citizen, and that each such child shall receive such care, guidance and control, preferably in such child’s own home as is conducive toward that end and is in the state’s and the child’s best interest.

It is the public policy of Mississippi that the parents of each child shall be primarily responsible for the care, support, education and welfare of such child or children; however, when it is necessary that a child be removed from the control of such child’s parents, the Youth Court shall secure proper care for that child or children.

NOTE: The two principal factors determine the jurisdiction of Youth Court: age and conduct. The outer limit for Youth Court is eighteen (18) years of age. [The age at the time of the offense.]

Youth Court is located in the Forrest County Courthouse at 110 Alcorn Ave. in Hattiesburg.  The Circuit Clerk serves as the clerk of the Youth Court. For assistance, contact Ms. Gwen Wilks, Circuit Clerk of Forrest County, P.O. Box 992, Hattiesburg, MS 39403. Telephone: 601-582-3213.

Official website for Forrest County in Mississippi.