2004 Regular Session
To: Public Health and Human Services; Judiciary B
By: Representative Fleming
AN ACT TO CREATE A NEW SECTION TO BE CODIFIED AS SECTION 41-61-73, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT THE FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS OF THE MEDICAL EXAMINER IN DEATH INVESTIGATIONS SHALL BE REDUCED TO A WRITTEN REPORT AND FILED WITH THE CIRCUIT CLERK OF THE COUNTY OF ORIGINAL JURISDICTION AND SHALL BE KEPT IN A CONFIDENTIAL FILE; TO PROVIDE THAT ACCESS TO THIS FILE MAY ONLY BE GRANTED UPON WRITTEN ORDER OF THE CIRCUIT JUDGE OF THE COUNTY IN WHICH THE FILE IS LOCATED; TO PROVIDE THAT REPORTS OF INVESTIGATIONS, EXAMINATIONS AND AUTOPSIES MADE BY A MEDICAL EXAMINER SHALL BE ADMISSIBLE IN EVIDENCE IN ANY STATE COURT; TO PROVIDE THAT ALL RECORDS AND REPORTS CONCERNING A DEATH INVESTIGATED BY A MEDICAL EXAMINER ARE NOT PUBLIC RECORDS; TO PROVIDE THAT THOSE RECORDS AND REPORTS SHALL BE MADE AVAILABLE TO CERTAIN PERSONS UPON REQUEST; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The following shall be codified as Section 41-61-73, Mississippi Code of 1972:
41-61-73. (1) The findings and conclusions of the medical examiner as a result of the application of Section 41-61-63 shall be reduced to a written report to be filed with the circuit clerk of the county of original jurisdiction and shall be kept in a confidential file. Access to this file may only be granted upon written order of the circuit judge of the county in which the file is located. Unauthorized use of or access to this confidential file shall constitute a misdemeanor, which may be punished in the manner prescribed by law.
(2) Reports of investigations, examinations and autopsies made under Sections 41-61-51 through 41-61-79, and transcripts or copies thereof certified by the author of such or certified by the State Medical Examiner, shall be admissible in evidence in any court of this state.
(3) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, all records, reports, transcripts and copies thereof that are made under the provisions of Sections 41-61-51 through 41-61-79 are not public records as defined and addressed by the Mississippi Public Records Act of 1983, and access to such may only be had as provided in this section. Any such records, reports, transcripts and copies thereof concerning a death investigated by the medical examiner shall be made available, upon request, to any law enforcement agency, prosecuting attorney, grand jury or court involved in any case regarding that particular death, and to any attorney representing the family or estate of the decedent, in accordance with the procedures of the Mississippi Public Records Act of 1983.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2004.