2010 Mississippi Code
TITLE 97 - CRIMES
Chapter 44 - Mississippi Streetgang Act.
97-44-15 - Injunction, abatement, damages, or other remedies for unlawful use of private building by criminal street gang.
§ 97-44-15. Injunction, abatement, damages, or other remedies for unlawful use of private building by criminal street gang.
(1) Every private building or place used by members of a criminal street gang for the commission of illegal activity is a nuisance and may be the subject of an injunction or cause of action for damages or for abatement of the nuisance as provided for in this chapter.
(2) Any person may file a petition for injunctive relief with the appropriate court seeking eviction from or closure of any premises used for commission of illegal activity by a criminal street gang. Upon clear and convincing proof by the plaintiff that the premises are being used by members of a criminal street gang for the commission of illegal activity, the court may order the owner of record or the lessee of the premises to remove or evict the persons from the premises and order the premises sealed, prohibit further use of the premises, or enter such order as may be necessary to prohibit the premises from being used for the commission of illegal activity by a gang and to abate the nuisance.
(3) Any action for injunction, damages, abatement, or other relief filed pursuant to this section shall proceed according to the provisions of the Rules of Civil Procedure.
(4) The court shall not issue an injunction or assess a civil penalty against any owner of record or the lessee of the private building or place, unless there is a showing by clear and convincing proof that the person knew or should have known or had been notified of the use of the premises by a gang for illegal activity. Any injunctive relief other than that specifically authorized in subsection (6) of this section shall be limited to that which is necessary to protect the health and safety of the residents or the public or that which is necessary to prevent further illegal activity.
(5) A petition for injunction shall not be filed until thirty (30) days after notice of the unlawful use or criminal conduct has been provided to the owner of record or the lessee, by mail, return receipt requested, postage prepaid, to the owner's last known address, or by personal service. If the premises are abandoned or closed, or if the whereabouts of the owner of record or lessee is unknown, all notices, process, pleadings, and orders required to be delivered or served under this section may be attached to a door of the premises and mailed, return receipt requested, to the last address which is reflected on the ad valorem tax receipt on file in the office of the tax collector of the county where the property is located, and this shall have the same effect as personal service on the owner of record or lessee. No injunctive relief authorized by subsection (6) of this section shall be issued in the form of a temporary restraining order.
(6) If the court has previously issued injunctive relief ordering the owner of record or the lessee of the premises to close the premises or otherwise to keep the premises from being used for the commission by a gang of illegal activity, the court, upon proof of failure to comply with the terms of the injunction and that the premises continue to be used by a gang for the commission of illegal activity, may do one or more of the following:
(a) Order the premises demolished and cleared at the cost of the owner.
(b) Order the premises sold at public auction and the proceeds from the sale, minus the costs of the sale and the expenses of bringing the action, delivered to the owner.
(c) Order the defendant to pay damages to persons or local governing authorities who have been damaged or injured or have incurred expense as a result of the defendant's failure to take reasonable steps or precautions to comply with the terms of any injunction issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
(d) Assess a civil penalty not to exceed Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) against the defendant based upon the severity of the nuisance and its duration. In establishing the amount of any civil penalty, the court shall consider all of the following factors:
(i) The actions taken by the defendant to mitigate or correct the problem at the private building or place or the reasons why no such action was taken.
(ii) Any failure of the plaintiff to provide notice as required by subsection (5) of this section.
(iii) Any other factor deemed by the court to be relevant.
(7) No nonprofit, fraternal or charitable organization which is conducting its affairs with ordinary care or skill nor any governmental entity shall be enjoined pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
(8) Nothing in this chapter shall preclude any aggrieved person from seeking any other remedy provided by law.
Sources: Laws, 2001, ch. 525, § 1, eff from and after July 1, 2001.
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