2007 Regular Session
To: Judiciary A
By: Representative Cummings
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 97-3-51, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE OFFENSE OF INTERFERENCE WITH CUSTODY; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 97-3-51, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
97-3-51. (1) For the purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the meaning herein ascribed unless the context otherwise clearly requires:
(a) "Child" means a person under the age of eighteen (18) years at the time a violation of this section is alleged to have occurred.
(b) "Court order" means an order, decree or judgment of any court of this state which is competent to decide child custody matters.
(2) It shall be unlawful for any noncustodial parent or relative with intent to violate a court order awarding custody of a child to another to remove the child from this state or to hold the child out of state after the entry of a court order.
(3) Any person convicted of a violation of subsection (2) or (4) of this section shall be guilty of a felony and may be punished by a fine of not more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for a term not to exceed five (5) years, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
(4) A person commits the crime of interference with custody or visitation if he or she knowingly takes or entices:
(a) Any child under the age of eighteen (18) from the lawful custody or visitation of its parent, guardian or other lawful custodian, or
(b) Any committed person from the lawful custody or visitation of his parent, guardian or other lawful custodian. "Committed person" means, in addition to any one committed under judicial warrant, any neglected, dependent or delinquent child, mentally defective or insane person or any other incompetent person entrusted to another's custody by authority of law.
(5) A person does not commit a crime under this section if the actor's sole purpose is to assume lawful control of the child, to protect the child from imminent physical harm if the person produces clear and convincing evidence of the imminent physical harm, or all parties to the custody and visitation of the child consented to the action of the person.
(6) The provisions of this section shall not be construed to repeal, modify or amend any other criminal statute of this state.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.