1997 Regular Session
To: Judiciary B
By: Representatives Formby, Moore, Chaney, Denny, Ellington, Green (34th), Janus, Johnson, Ketchings, Reeves, Rogers, Rotenberry, Weathersby, Cameron
House Bill 515
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 97-17-3, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT THE BURNING OF A CHURCH, TEMPLE, SYNAGOGUE OR OTHER PLACE OF WORSHIP SHALL BE ARSON IN THE FIRST DEGREE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 97-17-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
97-17-3. (1) Any person who wilfully and maliciously sets fire to, or burns, or causes to be burned, or who is a party to destruction by explosion from combustible material, who aids, counsels, or procures the burning or destruction of any state-supported school building in this state or any church, temple, synagogue or other place of worship, whether in use or vacant, shall be guilty of arson in the first degree and, upon conviction therefor, shall be sentenced to the penitentiary for not less than two (2) nor more than twenty (20) years.
(2) Any person observing or witnessing the destruction by fire of any state-supported school building or any church, temple, synagogue or other place of worship, whether occupied or vacant, which fire was the result of his or her act of an accidental nature, and who wilfully fails to sound the general alarm or report such fire to the local fire department or other local authorities, shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction therefor, shall be sentenced to the Penitentiary for not less than two (2) nor more than ten (10) years.
(3) Any person, who by reason of his age comes under the jurisdiction of juvenile authorities and who is found guilty under subsection (1) of this section, shall not be eligible for probation unless and until at least six (6) months confinement has been served in a state reform school.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.