WEST virginia legislature
2017 regular session
House Bill 2352
By Delegates Statler, Westfall, Maynard, Howell, Upson, Hill, Kessinger, Foster, N., Higginbotham, Ward and Williams
[Introduced February 13,
to the Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §61-8-14 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to the criminal offense of desecration of graves and vandalizing cemeteries and mandating that persons convicted thereof shall be required to perform one thousand hours of service to and for the cemetery involved.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §61-8-14 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 8. CRIMES AGAINST CHASTITY, MORALITY AND DECENCY.
§61-8-14. Disinterment or displacement of dead body or part thereof; damage to cemetery or graveyard; penalties; damages in civil action.
(a) Any person who unlawfully and intentionally disinters or displaces a dead human body, or any part of a dead human body, placed or deposited in any vault, mausoleum or any temporary or permanent burial place, removes personal effects of the decedent removes or damages caskets, surrounds, outer burial containers, or any other device used in making the original burial; transports unlawfully removed human remains from the cemetery; or knowingly receives unlawfully removed human remains from the cemetery is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be confined in a state correctional facility for a determinate sentence of not more than five years.
(b)(1) Any person who intentionally desecrates any tomb, plot, monument, memorial, or marker in a cemetery, or any gate, door, fence, wall, post, or railing, or any enclosure for the protection of a cemetery or any property in a cemetery, graveyard, mausoleum or other designated human burial site is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $2,000, or confined in jail not more than one year, or both fined and confined, and shall be required to perform one thousand hours of service in maintenance and improvements to the cemetery affected.
(2) Any person who intentionally and without legal right destroys, cuts, breaks, removes, or injures any building, statuary, ornamentation, landscape contents, including a tree, shrub, flower, or plant, within the limits of a cemetery, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $2,000, or confined in jail not more than one year, or both fined and confined, and shall be required to perform one thousand hours of service in maintenance and improvements to the cemetery affected.
(3) For the purposes of this subsection, “desecrate” means destroying, cutting, mutilating, effacing, injuring, tearing down, removing, defacing, damaging or otherwise physically mistreating in a way that a reasonable person knows will outrage the sensibilities of persons likely to observe or discover his or her actions.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to mandate that anyone who desecrates a grave or vandalizes a cemetery shall perform one thousand hours of service to the cemetery involved in the offense.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.