2006 Regular Session
To: Judiciary B
By: Representative Mims
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 97-3-15, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO ALLOW USE OF FORCE, INCLUDING DEADLY FORCE TO DEFEND LIFE AND PROPERTY IN THE EVENT OF AN UNLAWFUL ENTRY INTO AN OCCUPIED DWELLING OR RESIDENCE; TO PROVIDE IMMUNITY FROM CRIMINAL PROSECUTION OR CIVIL ACTION; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 97-3-15, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
97-3-15. (1) The killing of a human being by the act, procurement, or omission of another shall be justifiable in the following cases:
(a) When committed by public officers, or those acting by their command in their aid and assistance, in obedience to any judgment of a competent court;
(b) When necessarily committed by public officers, or those acting by their command in their aid and assistance, in overcoming actual resistance to the execution of some legal process, or to the discharge of any other legal duty;
(c) When necessarily committed by public officers, or those acting by their command in their aid and assistance, in retaking any felon who has been rescued or has escaped;
(d) When necessarily committed by public officers, or those acting by their command in their aid and assistance, in arresting any felon fleeing from justice;
(e) When a person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:
(i) The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling or residence, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person's will from the dwelling or residence; and
(ii) The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred;
(f) When committed in the lawful defense of one's own person or any other human being, where there shall be reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a felony or to do some great personal injury, and there shall be imminent danger of such design being accomplished;
(g) When necessarily committed in attempting by lawful ways and means to apprehend any person for any felony committed;
(h) When necessarily committed in lawfully suppressing any riot or in lawfully keeping and preserving the peace.
(2) As used in paragraphs (1)(c) and (1)(d) of this section, the term "when necessarily committed" means that a public officer or a person acting by or at the officer's command, aid or assistance is authorized to use such force as necessary in securing and detaining the felon offender, overcoming the offender's resistance, preventing the offender's escape, recapturing the offender if the offender escapes or in protecting himself or others from bodily harm; but such officer or person shall not be authorized to resort to deadly or dangerous means when to do so would be unreasonable under the circumstances. The public officer or person acting by or at the officer's command may act upon a reasonable apprehension of the surrounding circumstances; however, such officer or person shall not use excessive force or force that is greater than reasonably necessary in securing and detaining the offender, overcoming the offender's resistance, preventing the offender's escape, recapturing the offender if the offender escapes or in protecting himself or others from bodily harm.
(3) As used in paragraphs (1)(c) and (1)(d) of this section, the term "felon" shall include an offender who has been convicted of a felony and shall also include an offender who is in custody, or whose custody is being sought, on a charge or for an offense which is punishable, upon conviction, by death or confinement in the Penitentiary.
(4) As used in subsection (1)(e) of this section, the terms:
(a) "Dwelling" means a building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night.
(b) "Residence" means a dwelling in which a person resides either temporarily or permanently or is visiting as an invited guest.
(5) A person who uses force as permitted in this section is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a public officer, who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a public officer. As used in this subsection, the term "criminal prosecution" includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.
In the event of a resulting death or great bodily harm to an unlawful aggressor:
(a) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in this subsection (5), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.
(b) The court shall award reasonable attorney's fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in this subsection (5).
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2006.