2005 Regular Session
To: Judiciary, Division A; Appropriations
By: Senator(s) Doxey
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 25-31-5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE NUMBER OF ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEYS THAT MAY BE APPOINTED BY A DISTRICT ATTORNEY; TO AMEND SECTION 25-31-10, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE NUMBER OF CRIMINAL INVESTIGATORS TO THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY THAT MAY BE APPOINTED BY A DISTRICT ATTORNEY; TO AMEND SECTION 99-36-7, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE NUMBER OF VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATORS THAT, SUBJECT TO THE APPROVAL OF THE SENIOR CIRCUIT JUDGE, MAY BE APPOINTED BY A DISTRICT ATTORNEY; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 25-31-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
25-31-5. (1) Two (2) full-time legal assistants shall be authorized per circuit court judgeship in each circuit court district.
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(2) In addition to any legal assistants authorized pursuant to subsection (1) of this section, an additional two (2) full-time legal assistants are authorized (i) in each circuit court district if funds are appropriated by the Legislature to adequately fund the salaries, expenses and fringe benefits of the two (2) additional legal assistants, or (ii) in any * * * circuit court district in which the board of supervisors of one or more of the counties in a circuit court district adopts a resolution to pay all of the salaries, supplemental pay, expenses and fringe benefits of legal assistants authorized * * * pursuant to this subsection.
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(3) The board of supervisors of any county may pay all or a
part of the salary, supplemental pay, expenses and fringe benefits of any district attorney or legal assistant authorized in the circuit court district to which such county belongs pursuant to this section.
SECTION 2. Section 25-31-10, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
25-31-10. (1) Each district attorney may appoint one (1) full-time criminal investigator per circuit court judgeship authorized for the circuit court district.
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(2) No district attorney or assistant district attorney shall accept any private employment, civil or criminal, in any matter investigated by such criminal investigators.
(3) The full and complete compensation for all public duties rendered by a district attorney's criminal investigator shall be not more than Fifty-four Thousand Dollars ($54,000.00) per annum, to be determined at the discretion of the district attorney based upon the qualifications, education and experience of the criminal investigator * * *; necessary travel and other expenses are to be paid in accordance with Section 25-31-8. However, the maximum salary under this subsection for a criminal investigator who has a law degree may be supplemented by the district attorney from other available funds, but not to exceed the maximum salary for a legal assistant to a district attorney.
(4) Any criminal investigator may be designated by the district attorney to attend the Law Enforcement Officers Training Program set forth in Section 45-6-1 et seq., Mississippi Code of 1972. The total expenses associated with attendance by criminal investigators at the Law Enforcement Officers Training Program shall be paid out of the funds of the appropriate district attorney.
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SECTION 3. Section 99-36-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
99-36-7. (1) (a) In addition to the full-time legal assistants to the district attorney authorized by Section 25-31-5, the district attorney in each circuit court district in this state shall, subject to the approval of and upon the order of the senior circuit court judge of the district, employ one (1) person to serve at the will and pleasure of the district attorney as a "victim assistance coordinator" who shall not be considered to be a state employee.
(b) The district attorney of any circuit court district for which more than one (1) circuit court judge is authorized may appoint one (1) * * * victim assistance coordinator per circuit court judgeship authorized for the circuit court district, subject to the approval of and upon the order of the senior circuit court judge * * *.
(2) The duty of the victim assistance coordinator is to ensure that a victim, guardian of a victim, or close relative of a deceased victim is afforded the rights granted victims, guardians and relatives by Section 99-36-5. The victim assistance coordinator shall work closely with appropriate law enforcement agencies, prosecuting attorneys, the state and the judiciary in fulfilling that duty.
(3) The salary of a victim assistance coordinator shall not exceed the salary authorized for criminal investigators in Section 25-31-10, and shall be paid jointly by the counties comprising the circuit court district, with each county paying a pro rata share of the salary as determined by the senior circuit court judge.
(4) The board of supervisors of any county, with the approval of and upon the order of the senior circuit court judge of the district wherein such county lies, may, in addition to any victim assistance coordinator provided for in subsection (1) of this section, create the position of county victim assistance coordinator. The duty of the county victim assistance coordinator shall be to cooperate with local law enforcement agencies, the county attorney and the district attorney in assuring that a victim, guardian or close relative is afforded the rights granted by Section 99-36-5. Two (2) or more counties, by action of their respective boards of supervisors, with the approval of and upon the order of the senior circuit court judge of the district wherein such counties lie, may join in establishing and maintaining the position of victim assistance coordinator to serve these counties. Any municipality, by action of its governing authority, may participate in the establishment and maintenance of a county victim assistance coordinator's office located within the municipality.
(5) Any district attorney, county board of supervisors or governing authority of a municipality which has established or is participating in the maintenance of an office of victim assistance coordinator may apply through the Governor's Office of State and Federal Programs for a grant under the federal "Victims of Crimes Act of 1984" (Public Law 98-473) to be used in the continued operation of a victim assistance program.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2005.