2005 Regular Session
To: Apportionment and Elections
By: Representative Denny
AN ACT TO PROVIDE THAT AN ELECTED OFFICIAL WHO IS INDICTED IN STATE OR FEDERAL COURT SHALL BE SUSPENDED IMMEDIATELY WITHOUT PAY; TO SPECIFY THAT THE CRIMES FOR WHICH INDICTMENT THEREOF RESULT IN SUSPENSION ARE BRIBERY, EXTORTION, ANY FELONY OTHER THAN MANSLAUGHTER, ANY VIOLATION OF THE UNITED STATES INTERNAL REVENUE CODE, ANY CRIME INVOLVING MORAL TURPITUDE, ANY CRIME THAT VIOLATES ELECTION LAWS, AND EMBEZZLEMENT OR APPROPRIATION OF PUBLIC OR TRUST FUNDS BY AN ELECTED OFFICIAL WHO HAS CUSTODY OF THE FUNDS; TO PROVIDE THAT IF AN ELECTED OFFICIAL IS CONVICTED OF SUCH A CRIME, HE SHALL BE REMOVED FROM OFFICE; TO AMEND SECTION 25-5-1, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY THERETO; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) A state, district, county or municipal elected official who is indicted in a state or federal court for any of the following crimes shall be suspended immediately without pay: Bribery, extortion, any felony other than manslaughter, any violation of the United States Internal Revenue Code, any crime involving moral turpitude, any crime that violates election laws, and embezzlement or appropriation of public or trust funds by an elected official who has custody of the funds.
(2) The suspension shall remain in effect until the elected official is acquitted, convicted, pleads guilty or pleads nolo contendre. In the case of a conviction or plea of guilty or nolo contendere, the office shall be declared vacant, the elected official shall be removed from office under Section 25-5-1 and the vacancy filled as provided by law. In the event of an acquittal or dismissal of charges against the elected official, he is entitled to reinstatement and back pay.
(3) If this section applies to an elected official and he fails to acknowledge or submit to his suspension, the Attorney General of the State of Mississippi shall promptly enter a motion for suspension from office in the Circuit Court of Hinds County in the case of a state officer, and in the circuit court of the county of residence in the case of a district, county or municipal officer. The court, or the judge in vacation, upon notice and a proper hearing, shall issue an order suspending the official from office without pay.
(4) If the elected official is involved in an election for office between the time of the original suspension and final conclusion of the indictment, the suspension shall continue into the official's next term of office, and the suspended elected official may not participate in the business of his elected office.
SECTION 2. Section 25-5-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
25-5-1. If any public officer, state, district, county or municipal, shall be convicted in any court of this state or any other state or in any federal court of any crime enumerated in Section 1 of this act, of corruption in office or peculation therein, or of gambling or dealing in futures with money coming to his hands by virtue of his office, any court of this state, in addition to such other punishment as may be prescribed, shall adjudge the defendant removed from office; and the office of the defendant shall thereby become vacant. If any such officer be found by inquest to be of unsound mind during the term for which he was elected or appointed, or shall be removed from office by the judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction or otherwise lawfully, his office shall thereby be vacated; and in any such case the vacancy shall be filled as provided by law.
When any such officer is found guilty of a crime which is a felony under the laws of this state or which is punishable by imprisonment for one (1) year or more, other than manslaughter or any violation of the United States Internal Revenue Code, in a federal court or a court of competent jurisdiction of any other state, the Attorney General of the State of Mississippi shall promptly enter a motion for removal from office in the Circuit Court of Hinds County in the case of a state officer, and in the circuit court of the county of residence in the case of a district, county or municipal officer. The court, or the judge in vacation, shall, upon notice and a proper hearing, issue an order removing such person from office and the vacancy shall be filled as provided by law.
SECTION 3. The Attorney General of the State of Mississippi shall submit this act, immediately upon approval by the Governor, or upon approval by the Legislature subsequent to a veto, to the Attorney General of the United States or to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in accordance with the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after the date it is effectuated under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.