Criminal Procedure – Jurisdiction – Juvenile Court’s Right to Exclusive Jurisdiction Over a Contempt Proceeding Originally Initiated Against a Minor Child in a Court of General Jurisdiction
A seventeen-year-old minor sought a writ of prohibition against a circuit court to prevent it from enforcing a decree of contempt of court which resulted from her refusal to testify before a grand jury proceeding. She asserted that her refusal to testify was a public offense covered by the juvenile code, over which the juvenile court had exclusive jurisdiction. In an original proceeding, held, order of prohibition denied. The purpose of a direct contempt citation is to compel obedience to, and respect for, the court and not to punish for a public offense; consequently, because contempt is only quasi-criminal in nature, it does not fall within the meaning of the term “public offense” found in the juvenile code. Secondly, since contempt is an inherent attribute of every court of record, it may not be confined by limitations of a statute except in respect to punishment. Young v. Knight, 329 S. W. 2d 195 (Ky. 1959).