The coroner is the chief county medical examiner and/or county medical examiner investigator. This office is responsible for issuing declarations of death and performing or reporting results of autopsies in cases requiring such action.
Responsibilities of the Coroner
The Coroner is responsible for assuring readily available death investigators for the county twenty-four (24) hours-a-day for the investigation of all deaths “affecting the public interest.” As designated in Section 41-61-59(2) OF THE Code:
A death affecting the public interest includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:
Violent death, including homicidal, suicidal or accidental death.
Death caused by thermal, chemical, electrical or radiation injury.
Death caused by criminal abortion, including self-induced abortion, or abortion related to sexual abuse.
Death related to disease thought to be virulent or contagious which may constitute a public hazard.
Death that has occurred unexpectedly or from an unexplained cause.
Death of a person confined in a prison, jail or correctional institution.
Death of a person where a physician was not in attendance with thirty-six (36) hours preceding death, or in prediagnosed terminal or bedfast cases, within thirty (30) days preceding death.
Death of a person where the body is not claimed by a relative or a friend.
Death of a person where the identity of the deceased is unknown.
Death of a child under the age of two (2) years where death results from an unknown cause or where the circumstances surrounding the death indicated that sudden infant death syndrome may be the cause of death.
Where a body is brought into this state for disposal and there is reason to believe either that the death was not investigated properly or that there is not an adequate certificate of death.
Where a person is presented to a hospital emergency room unconscious and/or unresponsive, with cardiopulmonary resuscitative measures being performed, and dies within twenty-four (24) hours of admission without regaining consciousness or responsiveness, unless a physician was in attendance with thirty-six (36) hours preceding presentation to the hospital, or in cases in which the decedent had a prediagnosed terminal or bedfast condition, unless a physician was in attendance with thirty (30) days preceding presentation to the hospital.
The Coroner is also responsible for the maintenance of copies of all medical examiner death investigations for the county for the previous five (5) years, and the coordination and cooperation of his office and duties with the State Medical Examiner.
The coroner position is filled through an at large election and serves a 4 year term. He or she must meet the following requirements prior to taking the oath:
Possess a high school diploma or its equivalent
Be twenty-one (21) years of age or older
Be a qualified elector of the county in which elected
Attend the Mississippi Crime Laboratory and State Medical Examiner Death Investigation Training School, successfully completing all exams on the subject matter presented
Once the Corner takes oath he/she is designated the chief medical examiner (CME) or chief medical examiner investigator (CMEI) for the county. A CME is a doctor of medicine (M.D.) Or osteopathic medicine (D.O.) licensed in the State of Mississippi, while a CMEI is a nonphysician possessing, as a minimum, a high school diploma or its equivalent.
As the CME or CMEI, the Corner is required to:
Successfully complete additional training on subject material presented by the State Medical Examiner at least once every four (4) years
Receive at least twenty-four (24) hours of continuing education annually. If the continuing education standards are not met, the CME/CMEI is disqualified and removed from office.
The CME/CMEI, with the Board of Supervisors, may appoint deputy medical examiners or deputy medical examiner investigators as deemed necessary. All deputies must possess the same authority and duties and are subject to the same qualifications, training, and certification requirements as any CME/CMEI.