2006 Regular Session
To: Judiciary, Division A
By: Senator(s) White
AN ACT TO PROHIBIT RECOVERY OF DAMAGES BY CERTAIN PERSONS WHO ARE INJURED WHILE COMMITTING A CRIMINAL ACT; TO PROSCRIBE THE PROOF THAT A VICTIM COULD USE IN SUPPORT OF HIS IMMUNITY; TO ALLOW A CIVIL ACTION AGAINST A VICTIM BY THE PERPETRATOR OF A CRIME TO BE STAYED PENDING THE FINAL OUTCOME OF THE CRIMINAL TRIAL OF THE PERPETRATOR; TO ALLOW FOR THE AWARD OF ATTORNEYS' FEES AND COSTS TO A VICTIM WHO IS A DEFENDANT IN A CIVIL CASE UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) "Criminal activity" means any action that constitutes a felony offense, an attempt of a felony offense, or any other crime involving physical harm or the risk of physical harm to a victim, even if the person who has engaged in the criminal activity is not subsequently charged or convicted.
(b) "Perpetrator" means a person who has engaged in any action that constitutes a felony offense, an attempt of a felony offense, or any other crime involving physical harm or the risk of physical harm to a victim.
(c) "Victim" means a person who owns the property upon which criminal activity takes place, an invited guest on that property, or a person providing assistance to another victim. The term includes a person who in self-defense injures another person engaging in an action that constitutes a felony offense, an attempt of a felony offense, or any other crime involving physical harm or the risk of physical harm to another person.
(2) A perpetrator assumes the risk of loss, injury or death resulting from or arising out of a course of criminal activity engaged in by the perpetrator or an accomplice.
(3) A victim is immune from civil damages as a result of acts or omissions of the victim in resisting criminal conduct or from other harm to a perpetrator, except that a victim is not immune from civil liability if he is found guilty of criminal conduct resulting from his actions taken in response to criminal activity of a perpetrator.
(4) Conclusive proof of criminal activity of a perpetrator includes, but is not limited to, the following:
(a) A certified copy of a guilty plea;
(b) A court judgment of guilt;
(c) A court record of conviction; and
(d) An adjudication of delinquency of a child.
(5) A victim is immune from civil damages to a perpetrator if he, by a preponderance of the evidence, proves the criminal activity of the perpetrator.
(6) The immunity granted to a victim is not precluded if a perpetrator pleads guilty to or is found guilty of a lesser included offense that is not a felony.
(7) Except to the extent needed to preserve evidence, a civil action in which a defense of immunity is pled shall be stayed by the court on the motion of the defendant during the pendency of any criminal action against the plaintiff based on the alleged criminal activity.
(8) In any civil action subject to this section, the court shall award reasonable expenses, including attorneys' fees and costs to the victim, if he prevails on grounds of immunity as set forth in subsections (2) and (3) of this section.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2006, and shall apply to civil actions commenced on or after that date.