H. B. 4337
(By Delegates Iaquinta, Longstreth, Ashley, Azinger, O’Neal, Givens, Ferro, Rowan, Craig and Paxton)
[Introduced January 30, 2012; referred to the
Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and Homeland Security then the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §61-3-59, relating to crimes against property; and creating misdemeanor offense of depriving rightful heir to possession of Civil War medals or medals and citations awarded from any other war in which the Armed Forces of the United States participated; when affidavit required; and criminal penalties.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §61-3-59 to read as follows:
ARTICLE 3. CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY.
§61-3-59. Wrongful depriving rightful heir of Civil War medals or medals from other wars; affidavit; penalties.
(a) Any person who by means of wrongful representations, whether willful or not, deprives another person of any Civil War medal or citation or medal or citation from any other war in which the Armed Forces of the United States participated, when the medal or citation would pass under the law of descent and distribution, as set out in chapter forty-two of this code, to a more direct descendant, is guilty of the larceny of the medal or citation, a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $2,000 or confined in jail not more than one year, or both fined and confined. In addition to any other penalties, the rightful descendant is entitled to possession of the medal or citation or the fair market of the medal or citation.
(b) After the effective date of this section, any person, who claims entitlement to possession of any Civil War medal or citation or medal or citation from any other war in which the Armed Forces of the United States participated following the death of the person to whom the medal or citation was awarded, shall execute a notarized affidavit stating that: “I (claimant’s name, and address) swear (or affirm) that to the best of my knowledge I am the rightful and most direct descendant, under the law of descent and distribution, of (Civil War relative’s name -- or name of deceased relative or any other war in which the Armed Forces of the United States participated); and under penalty of law, certify that this is an honest claim. If, unbeknownst to me, a later claimant comes forward, with proof of more direct descent, I will relinquish the medal or citation to the State of West Virginia for distribution to the more direct descendant.”
(c) A violation of law may be prosecuted under this section notwithstanding any other provision of this code.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to create the misdemeanor offense of depriving a rightful heir, under the law of descent and distribution, to possession of Civil War medals or citations or medals and citations awarded from any other war in which the Armed Forces of the United States participated.
§61-3-59 is new; therefore, it has been completely underscored.