1998 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Farris, Ross
Senate Bill 2871
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 99-19-55, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT EXECUTIONS SHALL BE AT 6:00 P.M.; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 99-19-55, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
99-19-55. (1) Whenever any person shall be condemned to suffer death for any crime for which such person shall have been convicted in any court of any county of this state, such punishment shall be inflicted at 6:00 p.m. or as soon as possible thereafter within the next twenty-four (24) hours at an appropriate place designated by the Commissioner of Corrections on the premises of the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, Mississippi. All male persons convicted of a capital offense wherein the death sentence has been imposed shall be immediately committed to the Department of Corrections and transported to the maximum security cell block at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, Mississippi. When the maximum inmate capacity at such maximum security cell block has been reached, the Commissioner of Corrections shall place such male convicts in an appropriate facility on the grounds of the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, Mississippi. All female persons convicted of a capital offense wherein the death sentence has been imposed shall be immediately committed to the Department of Corrections and housed in an appropriate facility designated by the Commissioner of Corrections. Upon final affirmance of the conviction, the punishment shall be imposed in the manner provided by law. The State Executioner or his duly authorized deputy shall supervise and perform such execution.
(2) When a person is sentenced to suffer death in the manner provided by law, it shall be the duty of the clerk of the court to deliver forthwith to the Commissioner of Corrections a warrant for the execution of the condemned person. It shall be the duty of the commissioner forthwith to notify the State Executioner of the date of the execution and it shall be the duty of the said State Executioner, or any person deputized by him in writing, in the event of his physical disability, as hereinafter provided, to be present at such execution, to perform the same, and have general supervision over said execution. In addition to the above designated persons, the Commissioner of Corrections shall secure the presence at such execution of the sheriff, or his deputy, of the county of conviction, at least one (1) but not more than two (2) physicians or the county coroner where the execution takes place, and bona fide members of the press, not to exceed eight (8) in number, and at the request of the condemned, such ministers of the gospel, not exceeding two (2), as said condemned person shall name. The Commissioner of Corrections shall also name to be present at the execution such officers or guards as may be deemed by him to be necessary to insure proper security. No other persons shall be permitted to witness the execution, except the commissioner may permit two (2) members of the condemned person's immediate family as witnesses, if they so request and two (2) members of the victim's immediate family as witnesses, if they so request. Provided further, that the Governor may, for good cause shown, permit two (2) additional persons of good and reputable character to witness an execution. No person shall be allowed to take photographs or other recordings of any type during the execution. The absence of the sheriff, or deputy, after due notice to attend, shall not delay the execution.
(3) The State Executioner, or his duly authorized representative, the Commissioner of Corrections, or his duly authorized representative, and the physician or physicians or county coroner who witnessed such execution shall prepare and sign officially a certificate setting forth the time and place thereof and that such criminal was then and there executed in conformity to the sentence of the court and the provisions of Sections 99-19-51 through 99-19-55, and shall procure the signatures of the other public officers and persons who witnessed such execution, which certificate shall be filed with the clerk of the court where the conviction of the criminal was had, and the clerk shall subjoin the certificate to the record of the conviction and sentence.
(4) The body of the person so executed shall be released immediately by the State Executioner, or his duly authorized representative, to the relatives of the dead person, or to such friends as may claim the body. The Commissioner of Corrections shall have sole charge of burial in the event the body is not claimed as aforesaid, and his discretion in the premises shall be final. The Commissioner may donate the unclaimed body of an executed person to the University of Mississippi Medical Center for scientific purposes. The county of conviction shall bear the reasonable expense of burial in the event the body is not claimed by relatives or friends or donated to the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1998.