2007 Regular Session
To: Judiciary, Division A
By: Senator(s) White
AN ACT TO PROVIDE IMMUNITY FROM CIVIL SUITS FOR USE OF FORCE AGAINST ONE CONVICTED OF A FORCIBLE FELONY; TO ENACT DEFINITIONS; TO SPECIFY THE PERMISSIBLE USE OF FORCE IN DEFENSE OF SELF AND OTHERS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) For the purposes of this act:
(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.
(c) "Vehicle" means a conveyance of any kind, whether or not motorized, which is designed to transport people or property.
(d) "Forcible felony" means murder; manslaughter; rape; sexual battery; carjacking; robbery; burglary; arson; kidnapping; aggravated assault; drive-by shooting; drive-by bombing; felony stalking; aircraft piracy; and any other felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual.
(2) A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other's imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.
(a) A person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself 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, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person's will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; 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.
(b) The presumption set forth in paragraph (a) does not apply if:
(i) The person against whom the defensive force is used has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, residence, or vehicle, such as an owner, lessee, or titleholder, and there is not an injunction for protection from domestic violence or a written pretrial supervision order of no contact against that person; or
(ii) The person sought to be removed is a child or grandchild, or is otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship of, the person against whom the defensive force is used; or
(iii) The person who uses defensive force is engaged in an unlawful activity or is using the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle to further an unlawful activity; or
(iv) The person against whom the defensive force is used is a law enforcement officer who enters or attempts to enter a dwelling, residence, or vehicle in the performance of his official duties and the officer identified himself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person entering or attempting to enter was a law enforcement officer.
(c) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
(d) A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter a person's dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.
(3) A person is justified in the use of force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate the other's trespass on, or other tortious or criminal interference with, either real property other than a dwelling or personal property, lawfully in his possession or in the possession of another who is a member of his immediate family or household or of a person whose property he has a legal duty to protect. However, the person is justified in the use of deadly force only if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person does not have a duty to retreat if the person is in a place where he has a right to be.
(4) It shall be a defense to any action for damages for personal injury or wrongful death, or for injury to property, that such action arose from injury sustained by a participant during the commission or attempted commission of a forcible felony. The defense authorized by this subsection shall be established by evidence that the participant has been convicted of such forcible felony or attempted forcible felony, or by proof of the commission of such crime or attempted crime by a preponderance of the evidence.
(a) Any civil action in which the defense recognized by this subsection is raised shall be stayed by the court on the motion of the civil defendant during the pendency of any criminal action which forms the basis for the defense, unless the court finds that a conviction in the criminal action would not form a valid defense under this subsection.
(b) In any civil action where a party prevails based on the defense created by this section:
(i) The losing party, if convicted of and incarcerated for the crime or attempted crime, shall, as determined by the court, lose any privileges provided by the correctional facility, including, but not limited to:
1. Canteen purchases;
2. Telephone access;
3. Outdoor exercise;
4. Use of the library; and
(c) The court shall award a reasonable attorney's fee to be paid to the prevailing party in equal amounts by the losing party and the losing party's attorney; however, the losing party's attorney is not personally responsible if he has acted in good faith, based on the representations of the client. If the losing party is incarcerated for the crime or attempted crime and has insufficient assets to cover payment of the costs of the action and the award of fees pursuant to this paragraph, the party shall, as determined by the court, be required to pay by deduction from any payments the prisoner receives while incarcerated.
(d) If the losing party is incarcerated for the crime or attempted crime, the court shall issue a written order containing its findings and ruling pursuant to paragraphs (a) and (b) and shall direct that a certified copy be forwarded to the appropriate correctional institution or facility.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.