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  • Celeste Smith

Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians Released Updated Laws In Response To Pandemic

Updated: May 26

In Neshoba County, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians have updated the Choctaw Criminal Code due to the COVID-19 pandemic, amending existing laws to enhance the tribe’s ability to protect the public from the coronavirus.

Following the tribe’s recent declaration of a State of Public Health Emergency on Thursday May 21, The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, released updated laws making certain actions that might aid in the spread of the coronavirus, to be illegal. These laws will go into effect immediately.

The first new law amends the code which made it a crime to knowingly expose someone to tuberculosis. Now stating, that it is a crime for a person to knowingly expose someone to any infectious or communicable disease, like COVID-19, and those found guilty of this crime, could face up to 6 months in jail or be fined up to $500.

Another updated law, which made it a crime to commit an assault or battery on a police officer, the new changes to the law make it a crime to commit an assault or battery on any tribal employee who is acting in their official capacity or any elected official. There is a mandatory sentence of six months in jail, if a person uses a weapon to threaten serious bodily injury or causes bodily injury while using a weapon; causes serious bodily injury, or causes bodily fluids to make physical contact with a tribal employee or elected official.

Also, it is now considered a Class A offense crime to violate quarantine or isolation orders that are issued under the direction of the chief medical officer at Choctaw Health Center and Choctaw Tribal Court pursuant to the new Emergency Health Powers, anyone found guilty could face a sentence of up to 6 months in jail or a fine of up to $500.

Not only updating the tribe’s laws, Tribal Chief Cyrus Ben issued the fifth extension to the shelter in place order, which is expected to expire on Monday June 1st.

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