State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > Mississippi > Title-99 > 19 > 99-19-57

§ 99-19-57. Execution of death sentence; suspension of sentence when offender is pregnant or a person with mental illness.

(1)  If the Commissioner of Corrections at any time is satisfied that any female offender in his custody under sentence of death is pregnant, he shall summon a physician to inquire into the pregnancy. The commissioner shall summons and swear all necessary witnesses and the commissioner after full examination shall certify under his hand what the truth may be in relation to the alleged pregnancy, and in case the offender is found to be pregnant, the commissioner shall immediately transmit his findings to the Governor, and the Governor shall suspend the execution of the sentence until he is satisfied that the offender is not or is no longer pregnant. The Governor shall then order, by his warrant to the commissioner, the execution of the offender on a day to be appointed by the Governor according to the sentence and judgment of the court. 

(2) (a)  If it is believed that an offender under sentence of death has become mentally ill since the judgment of the court, the following shall be the exclusive procedural and substantive procedure. The offender, or a person acting as his next friend, or the Commissioner of Corrections may file an appropriate application seeking post-conviction relief with the Mississippi Supreme Court. If it is found that the offender is a person with mental illness, as defined in this subsection, the court shall suspend the execution of the sentence. The offender shall then be committed to the forensic unit of the Mississippi State Hospital at Whitfield. The order of commitment shall require that the offender be examined and a written report be furnished to the court at that time and every month thereafter, stating whether there is a substantial probability that the offender will become sane under this subsection within the foreseeable future and whether progress is being made toward that goal. If at any time during the commitment, the appropriate official at the state hospital considers the offender to be sane under this subsection, the official shall promptly notify the court to that effect in writing and place the offender in the custody of the Commissioner of Corrections. The court then shall conduct a hearing on the sanity of the offender. The finding of the circuit court is a final order appealable under the terms and conditions of the Mississippi Uniform Post-Conviction Collateral Relief Act. 

(b) For the purposes of this subsection, a person shall be deemed to be a person with mental illness if the court finds that the offender does not have sufficient intelligence to understand the nature of the proceedings against him, what he was tried for, the purpose of his punishment, the impending fate that awaits him, and a sufficient understanding to know any fact that might exist that would make his punishment unjust or unlawful and the intelligence requisite to convey that information to his attorneys or the court. 

Sources: Codes, Hutchinson's 1848, ch. 64, art. 12, Title 2(15-21); 1857, ch. 64, art. 326; 1871, § 2819; 1880, § 3094; 1892, § 1450; 1906, § 1523; Hemingway's 1917, § 1285; 1930, § 1310; 1942, § 2558; Laws,  1926, ch. 186; Laws, 1984, ch. 448, § 5; Laws, 2008, ch. 442, § 39, eff from and after July 1, 2008.