1997 Regular Session
To: Judiciary A; County Affairs
By: Representative Perry
House Bill 1070
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 41-21-67, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT PERSONS BEING HELD IN JAIL AWAITING COMMITMENT SHALL BE PROVIDED APPROPRIATE MENTAL HEALTH AND MEDICAL SERVICES; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 41-21-67, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
41-21-67. (1) Whenever such affidavit as is provided for in Section 41-21-65 shall be filed with the chancery clerk, the clerk, upon direction of the chancellor of said court, shall issue a writ directed to the sheriff of the proper county to take into his custody the person alleged to be in need of treatment and to bring such person before said clerk or chancellor who shall order preevaluation screening and treatment by the appropriate community mental health center established pursuant to Section 41-19-31 and for examination as set forth in Section 41-21-69. Provided, however, that when such affidavit fails to set forth factual allegations and witnesses sufficient to support the need for treatment, the chancellor shall refuse to direct issuance of the writ. Reapplication may be made to the chancellor. If a pauper's affidavit is filed by a guardian for commitment of the ward of the guardian, the court shall determine if the ward is a pauper and if such ward is determined to be a pauper, the county of the residence of the respondent shall bear the costs of commitment, unless funds for such purposes are made available by the state.
(2) Upon issuance of the writ the chancellor shall forthwith appoint and summon two (2) reputable, licensed physicians or one (1) such physician and a psychologist to conduct a physical and mental examination of such person at a place to be designated by said clerk or chancellor and to report their findings to said clerk or chancellor. In all counties wherein there is a county health officer, such county health officer, if available, may be one (1) of the physicians so appointed. Neither of the physicians or any psychologist selected shall be related to such person in any way, nor have any direct or indirect interest in the estate of such person nor shall any full-time staff of residential treatment facilities operated directly by the Department of Mental Health serve as examiner.
(3) The clerk shall ascertain whether the respondent is represented by an attorney, and if it is determined that respondent does not have an attorney the clerk shall immediately notify the chancellor of such fact, and if the chancellor determines that respondent for any reason does not have the services of an attorney, the chancellor shall forthwith appoint an attorney for the respondent at the time the examiners are appointed.
(4) If the chancellor determines that there is probable cause to believe that the respondent is mentally ill and that there is no reasonable alternative to detention, the chancellor may order that the respondent be retained as an emergency patient at any available regional mental health facility or any other available suitable location as the court may so designate pending an admission hearing and may, if necessary, order a peace officer or other person to transport the respondent to such mental health facility or suitable location. Any respondent so retained may be given such treatment by a licensed physician as is indicated by standard medical practice. Provided, however, the respondent shall not be held in a hospital operated directly by the Department of Mental Health; and shall not be held in jail unless the court finds that there is no reasonable alternative. If held in jail, a person shall be provided appropriate medical and mental health care by the committing county.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.