2005 Regular Session
To: Judiciary, Division B
By: Senator(s) Albritton
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 99-37-25, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE RAPE KIT PAYMENT RESPONSIBILITY; TO AMEND SECTION 99-41-3, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CLARIFY THE LEGISLATURE'S INTENT IN PROVIDING FOR COMPENSATION TO VICTIMS OF CRIME; TO AMEND SECTION 99-41-7, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE DUTIES OF THE DIRECTOR OF VICTIM COMPENSATION; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 99-37-25, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
99-37-25. (1) (a) When a person is brought into a doctor's office, a hospital or a medical clinic in this state by a law enforcement agency as the victim of an alleged rape or sexual assault, or comes into a doctor's office, a hospital or a medical clinic in the state alleging rape or sexual assault against the person which results in a criminal investigation, the bill for the * * * medical forensic examination and the preparation of the sexual assault evidence collection kit will be sent to the Division of Victim Compensation, Office of the Attorney General. The Division of Victim Compensation shall pay for the * * * medical examination conducted for the procurement of evidence to aid in the investigation and prosecution of the alleged offense. Such payment shall be limited to the customary and usual hospital and physician charges for such services in the area. Such payment shall be made by the Division of Victim Compensation directly to the health care provider. No bill for the * * * examination will be submitted to the victim, nor shall the medical facility hold the victim responsible for payment. However, if the victim refuses to cooperate with the investigation or prosecution of the case, the Division of Victim Compensation may seek reimbursement from the victim. The victim may be billed for any further medical services not required for the investigation and prosecution of the alleged offense. In cases where the damage caused by the alleged * * * sexual assault requires medical treatment or diagnosis in addition to the * * * examination, the patient will be given information about the availability of victim compensation and the procedure for applying for such compensation.
(b) Upon application submitted by the district attorney, provided the proper warrant or court order has been issued, the county in which an offense of sexual assault or of felonious abuse or battery of a child as described in Section 97-5-39, touching or handling a child for lustful purposes as described in Section 97-5-23, exploitation of children as described in Section 97-5-33 or sexual battery as described in Section 97-3-95, or an attempt to commit such offense has occurred shall pay for a medical forensic examination of the person arrested, charged or convicted of such offense to determine if the person so arrested, charged or convicted has any sexually transmitted disease and for the collection of evidence. Such payment shall be made by the county directly to the health care provider or other service performing the collection of evidence and tests. The results of such test shall be made available to the victim or, if the victim is a child, to the guardian of the victim.
(2) Any defendant who is convicted of, or pleads guilty or nolo contendere to, an offense in violation of rape, felonious abuse or battery of a child as described in Section 97-5-39, touching or handling a child for lustful purposes as described in Section 97-5-23, exploitation of children as described in Section 97-5-33 or sexual battery as described in Section 97-3-95, or an attempt to commit any such offense, shall be ordered by the court to make restitution to the Division of Victim Compensation in an amount equal to the compensation paid by the Division of Victim Compensation to the victim or medical provider for the * * * medical forensic examination and to the county for tests for sexually transmitted diseases. Such restitution shall be in addition to any restitution which the court orders the defendant to pay the victim under the provisions of Chapter 37 of Title 99, (Sections 99-37-1 through 99-37-21), Mississippi Code of 1972.
(3) The Division of Victim Compensation is hereby authorized, in its discretion, to make application for and comply with such requirements as may be necessary to qualify for any federal funds as may be * * * available * * * as a result of services rendered to crime victims under the provisions of this section.
SECTION 2. Section 99-41-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
99-41-3. It is the intent of the Legislature to provide a method of compensating * * * those persons who are innocent victims of criminal acts within the state and who suffer bodily injury or death and of assisting victims of crime through information referrals and advocacy outreach programs. To this end, it is the Legislature's intention to provide compensation for injuries suffered as a direct result of the criminal acts of other persons. It is the further intent of the Legislature that all agencies, departments, boards and commissions of the state and political subdivisions of the state shall cooperate with the Attorney General's Office in carrying out the provisions of this chapter.
SECTION 3. Section 99-41-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
99-41-7. There is hereby created in the Attorney General's Office the Division of Victim Compensation, hereafter referred to as "division." In the Division of Victim Compensation there is hereby created the position of Director of Victim Compensation, hereafter referred to as "director." The duties of the director shall include receipt, investigation, verification and adjudication of a claim for compensation under the provisions of this chapter. The duties shall also include facilitating assistance to victims of crime. The director shall be appointed by the Attorney General.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2005.