Sitting on Gov. Haley Barbour's desk this morning awaiting his signature is a bill designed to give Mississippi's stalking laws some bite. House bill 1309 revises and strengthens the definition of stalking and creates more appropriate penalties.
"One of the biggest issues in our current stalking law is that it makes successful prosecution contingent upon being able to prove that the stalker intended to place his or her victim, not just in fear, but in fear of death or great bodily injury," Attorney General Jim Hood said in a statement. Hood also told the Jackson Free Press that he sees no barriers to the governor signing the bill into law.
Democratic Sen. David Blount and House members Brandon Jones, D- Pascagoula, and Kimberly Campbell-Buck, D- Jackson, have been working with the attorney general's domestic violence division and advocates against domestic violence to craft the bill.
The amendment will also create a new crime of aggravated stalking, according to Hood's statement, which will be a felony. The underlying behaviors that will constitute aggravated stalking are identical to the behaviors which constitute stalking, but if any of the following three conditions are met, it will be considered aggravated stalking:
• The behavior involves the use or display of a weapon and puts the victim in fear of death or serious bodily injury;
• The stalker has a prior conviction of stalking against any victim, and that conviction is within seven years of the current offense; or
• The stalker is (or should be) registered as a sex offender and the victim is under the age of 18.
The penalty for aggravated stalking when the first or second condition exists is jail for no more than five years and a fine of no more than $3,000. The penalty if the third condition exists is up to six years in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
What did he say about despicable forensic pathologists? What is Payne's commission? Does he get an extra percentage if the client is found guilty?