1997 Regular Session
To: Judiciary; Education
By: Senator(s) Frazier
Senate Bill 2896
(As Sent to Governor)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 97-7-10, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PRESCRIBE THE CRIME OF FALSIFYING DOCUMENTS ISSUED BY A SECONDARY SCHOOL, POSTSECONDARY EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION, OR GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY; TO AMEND SECTION 97-17-97, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CONFORM TO SENATE BILL NO. 2071, 1997 REGULAR SESSION; TO PROVIDE ENHANCED PENALTIES FOR CRIMES COMMITTED AGAINST PERSONS 65 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER; TO REQUIRE NOTICE OF PENALTY ENHANCEMENT; TO PROVIDE FOR A SEPARATE SENTENCING PROCEEDING; TO PROVIDE THAT PENALTIES MAY BE DOUBLED; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 97-7-10, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
97-7-10. (1) Whoever, with intent to defraud the state or any department, agency, office, board, commission, county, municipality or other subdivision of state or local government, knowingly and willfully falsifies, conceals or covers up by trick, scheme or device a material fact, or makes any false, fictitious or fraudulent statements or representations, or makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or entry, shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not more than Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) or by imprisonment for not more
than five (5) years, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
(2) It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly and willfully:
(a) To make falsely or alter falsely, or to procure to be made falsely or altered falsely, or to aid or assist in making falsely or altering falsely, a diploma, certificate, license or transcript signifying merit or achievement in an educational program issued by a secondary school, a post-secondary educational institution, or a governmental agency;
(b) To sell, give, buy or obtain, or to procure to be sold, given, bought or obtained, or to aid or assist in selling, giving, buying or obtaining, a diploma, certificate, license or transcript which he or she knows is false, signifying merit or achievement in an educational program issued by a secondary school, a postsecondary educational institution, or a governmental agency;
(c) To use, offer or present as genuine a falsely made or falsely altered diploma, certificate, license or transcript signifying merit or achievement in an educational program issued by a secondary school, a postsecondary educational institution, or a governmental agency which he or she knows is false; or
(d) To make a false written representation of fact that he or she has received a degree or other certification signifying merit, achievement or completion of an educational program involving study, experience or testing from a secondary school, a postsecondary educational institution, or governmental agency in an application for: (i) employment; (ii) admission to an educational program; or (iii) for the purpose of inducing another to issue a diploma, certificate, license or transcript signifying merit or achievement in an educational program of a secondary school, postsecondary educational institution, or a governmental agency.
As used in this section: "postsecondary education institution" means a technical college, community college, junior college or university; "governmental agency" means any agency of a state or local government or of the federal government; and "secondary school" means Grades 9 through 12.
Any person who violates a provision of this subsection (2) shall be guilty of a crime and shall be punished by a fine not to exceed Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) and/or imprisonment for a term not to exceed one (1) year.
(3) This section shall not prohibit the prosecution under any other criminal statute of the state.
SECTION 2. Section 97-17-97, Mississippi Code of 1972, as amended by House Bill No. 100, 1997 Regular Session, is amended as follows:
97-17-97. (1) Except as otherwise provided in Section 1 of Senate Bill No. 2071, 1997 Regular Session, if any person or persons shall without authority of law go into or upon or remain in or upon any building, premises or land of another, including the premises of any public housing authority after having been banned from returning to the premises of the housing authority, whether an individual, a corporation, partnership, or association, or any part, portion or area thereof, after having been forbidden to do so, either orally or in writing including any sign hereinafter mentioned, by any owner, or lessee, or custodian, or other authorized person, or by the administrators of a public housing authority regardless of whether or not having been invited onto the premises of the housing authority by a tenant, or after having been forbidden to do so by such sign or signs posted on, or in such building, premises or land, or part, or portion, or area thereof, at a place or places where such sign or signs may be reasonably seen, such person or persons shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) or by confinement in the county jail not exceeding six (6) months, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
(2) The provisions of this section are supplementary to the provisions of any other statute of this state.
SECTION 3. The penalty for any felony or misdemeanor which is a crime of violence shall be subject to enhancement as provided in this act if the felony or misdemeanor was committed because the victim is sixty-five (65) years of age or older.
SECTION 4. (1) For enhancement of the penalty for a felony offense to apply, the prosecuting attorney if the defendant is charged by information, or grand jury if an indictment is returned, shall provide notice upon the information or indictment that the prosecutor will seek the enhanced penalty provided in this act. The notice shall be in a clause separate from and in addition to the substantive offense charged and shall not be considered as an element of the offense charged.
(2) For enhancement of the penalty for a misdemeanor to apply, the affiant, the prosecuting attorney if the defendant is charged by information, or grand jury if an indictment is returned, shall provide written notice that the enhanced penalty will be sought as provided in this act. The notice shall be in a clause separate from and in addition to the substantive offense charge and shall not be considered as an element of the offense charged.
(3) There shall be no mention in the guilt or innocence phase of the trial or in any documents or evidence seen by the jury that an enhanced penalty may be sought.
SECTION 5. (1) Upon conviction or adjudication of guilt of a defendant where notice has been duly given that an enhanced penalty will be sought as provided in this act, the court shall conduct a separate sentencing proceeding to determine the sentence. The proceeding shall be conducted by the trial judge before the trial jury as soon as practicable. If, through impossibility or inability, the trial jury is unable to reconvene for a hearing on the issue of penalty, having determined the guilt of the accused, the trial judge shall summon a jury to determine whether an enhanced penalty should be imposed. If trial by jury has been waived, or if the defendant pleaded guilty, the sentencing proceeding shall be conducted before a jury impaneled for that purpose. Provided, however, that if the defendant enters a plea of guilty and waives trial by jury for the sentencing proceeding, the sentencing proceeding shall be conducted before the trial judge sitting without a jury. In the proceeding, evidence may be presented as to any matter that the court deems relevant to sentence. However, this subsection shall not be construed to authorize the introduction of any evidence secured in violation of the Constitution of the United States or of the State of Mississippi. The state and the defendant or his counsel or both defendant and counsel shall be permitted to present arguments for or against any sentence sought.
(2) In order to impose an enhanced penalty under the provisions of this act, the jury must find beyond a reasonable doubt:
(a) That the defendant perceived, knew, or had reasonable grounds to know or perceive that the victim was within the class delineated; and
(b) That the defendant maliciously and with specific intent committed the offense because the victim was within the class delineated.
(3) That the victim was within the class delineated means that the reason the underlying crime was committed was because the victim is sixty-five (65) years of age or older.
SECTION 6. In the event it is found beyond a reasonable doubt that the offense was committed because the victim is sixty-five (65) years of age or older, then the penalty for the offense may be enhanced by punishment for a term of imprisonment of up to twice that authorized by law for the offense committed, or a fine of up to twice that authorized by law for the offense committed, or both.
SECTION 7. Notwithstanding the provisions of any law to the contrary, in any municipality with a population of less than eight hundred (800) in a county with two (2) judicial districts which such county has a population of less than thirteen thousand (13,000) but more than twelve thousand (12,000) according to the most recent federal decennial census which has any person currently employed by such municipality who has served in a law enforcement capacity as a prison guard, police officer, deputy sheriff or other similar law enforcement capacity shall have all the powers and emoluments conferred upon a law enforcement officer in this state. This section shall stand repealed on January 1, 1999.
SECTION 8. Section 7 of this act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage and the remainder of this act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 2, 1997.