1997 Regular Session
To: Judiciary A
By: Representative Blackmon
House Bill 789
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 93-9-21, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES TO REQUIRE GENETIC TESTING IN PATERNITY ACTIONS; TO AMEND SECTION 93-9-23, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE FOR THE DESIGNATION OF EXPERTS TO PERFORM GENETIC TESTS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 93-9-21, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
93-9-21. (1) The alleged parent may request, and the Department of Human Services shall have the authority to require genetic testing prior to the filing of a paternity action. Such authority shall arise upon a denial of parentage of a child born out of wedlock by any party.
(2) The court, on its own motion or on motion of the plaintiff or the defendant, shall order the mother, the alleged father and the child or children to submit to blood tests and any other tests which reasonably prove or disprove the probability of paternity.
If any party refuses to submit to such tests, the court may resolve the question of paternity against such party or enforce its order if the rights of others and the interest of justice so require.
(3) Any party calling a witness or witnesses for the purpose of testifying that they had sexual intercourse with the mother at any possible time of conception shall provide all other parties with the name and address of the witness twenty (20) days before the trial. If a witness is produced at the hearing for the purpose stated in this subsection but the party calling the witness failed to provide the twenty-day notice, the court may adjourn the proceeding for the purpose of taking a blood or other test of the witness prior to hearing the testimony of the witness if the court finds that the party calling the witness acted in good faith.
(4) The court shall ensure that all parties are aware of their right to request blood or other tests under this section.
SECTION 2. Section 93-9-23, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
93-9-23. (1) Genetic testing shall be made by experts qualified as examiners of genetic tests who shall be designated by the Department of Human Services or appointed by the court.
(2) In any action in which the Department of Human Services is a party, genetic testing shall be performed by such experts or laboratory with whom the department is, or may be under contract for the performance of such testing, unless the court finds that a conflict between the laboratory and party exists. Under those circumstances an independent laboratory may be appointed.
(3) The expert shall attach to the report of the test results an affidavit stating in substance: (a) that the affiant has been appointed by the court to administer the test and shall give his name, address, telephone number, qualifications, education and experience; (b) how the mother, child and alleged father were identified when the samples were obtained; (c) who obtained the samples and how, when and where obtained; (d) the chain of custody of the samples from the time obtained until the tests were completed; (e) the results of the test and the probability of paternity as calculated by an expert based on the test results; (f) the amount of the fee for performing the test; and (g) the procedures performed to obtain the test results.
(4) The expert or laboratory shall send all parties a copy of the report by certified mail. The expert or laboratory shall file the original report with the clerk of the court along with proof of notice to the parties. A party may challenge the testing procedure within thirty (30) days of the date of receipt or service of the notice. If either party challenges the original test results, the court shall order additional testing at the expense of the challenging party.
(5) If the court, in its discretion, finds cause to order additional testing, then it may do so using the same or another laboratory or expert. If there is no timely challenge to the original test results or if the court finds no cause to order additional testing, then the certified report shall be admitted as evidence in the proceeding as prima facie proof of its contents.
(6) Upon request or motion of any party to the proceeding, the court may require persons making any analysis to appear as a witness and be subject to cross-examination, provided that the request or motion is made at least ten (10) days prior to a hearing. The court may require the party making the request or motion to pay the costs and/or fees for the expert witness' appearance.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.