Q House Bill 585 changes the penalties for a number of property crimes and also for drug cases charging possession of a small amount of a controlled substance, effective July 1, 2014. What will the effect be on a case that occurs prior to July 1, but is not resolved by plea or trial until July 1 or later? Which set of penalties will apply?

A The Mississippi Supreme Court stated in Daniels v. State, 742 So.2d 1140, 1145 (Miss. 1999) that “when a statute is amended to provide for a lesser penalty, and the amendment takes effect before sentencing, the trial court must sentence according to the statute as amended.” Thus, in a case which occurs prior to July 1 and is not resolved before July 1, the court should apply the lesser penalty provided in House Bill 585. (Attorney General’s Opinion to Smith, June 4, 2014)