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In re Wharton

Filed: May 4, 1982.

IN THE MATTER OF PHILLIP WHARTON, JUVENILE


On discretionary review of decision of the Court of Appeals [54 N.C. App. 447, Britt, Justice.

Britt

I.

First, we address the procedural aspects of this case. Relying on our decision in In Re Brownlee, 301 N.C. 532, 272 S.E.2d 861 (1981), the Court of Appeals properly held that Guilford County had no right to appeal from the order dated 23 October 1980 and filed 3 November 1980. We reaffirm our decision in Brownlee with respect to a county's right to appeal from orders entered in a juvenile proceeding.

Nevertheless, as we said in Brownlee, this court is authorized to issue "any remedial writs necessary to give it general supervision and control over the proceedings of the other courts" of the state. North Carolina Constitution, Article IV, Section 12(1). We also said in Brownlee that

Under exceptional circumstances this court will exercise power under this section of the constitution in order to consider questions which are not presented according to our rules or procedure; State v. Stanley, 288 N.C. 19, 215 S.E.2d 589 (1975); and this court will not hesitate to exercise its original supervisory authority when necessary to promote the expeditious administration of justice. Brice v. Robertson House Moving, Wrecking and Salvage Co., 249 N.C. 74, 105 S.E.2d 439 (1958); Park Terrace, Inc. v. Phoenix Indemnity Co., 243 N.C. 595, 91 S.E.2d 584 (1956).

301 N.C. at 548.

Due to the far reaching effect of Judge Pfaff's orders on Guilford County and the director of its Department of Social Services, we consider this case to be of sufficient importance for us to invoke our supervisory authority. We have therefore allowed Guilford County's petition for discretionary review. We now treat the papers filed in this court on behalf of Guilford County

and Frank Wilson as a petition for a writ of certiorari to review the orders of the trial court, and as a motion to bypass the Court of Appeals, and allow the petition and motion.

II.

Before passing upon the validity of the 3 November 1980 order adjudging Frank Wilson, Director of the Department of Social Services for Guilford County, in contempt of court, we must consider the validity of the portion of the trial court's order entered 27 August 1980 upon which the 3 November 1980 order was predicated. In In Re Smith, 301 N.C. 621, 272 S.E.2d 834 (1981), Justice Huskins, speaking for this court, said:

Disobedience of an order made without, or in excess of, jurisdiction is not punishable as contempt. State v. Black, 232 N.C. 154, 59 S.E.2d 621 (1950); see also 17 Am. Jur., 2d, Contempt, ยง 42, and ...


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