1.    As used in this section:

Terms Used In North Dakota Code 23-06-27

  • Corporation: A legal entity owned by the holders of shares of stock that have been issued, and that can own, receive, and transfer property, and carry on business in its own name.
  • Discovery: Lawyers' examination, before trial, of facts and documents in possession of the opponents to help the lawyers prepare for trial.
  • Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • Felony: A crime carrying a penalty of more than a year in prison.
  • Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
  • Misdemeanor: Usually a petty offense, a less serious crime than a felony, punishable by less than a year of confinement.
  • Partnership: includes a limited liability partnership registered under chapter 45-22. See North Dakota Code 1-01-49
  • Person: means an individual, organization, government, political subdivision, or government agency or instrumentality. See North Dakota Code 1-01-49
  • State: when applied to the different parts of the United States, includes the District of Columbia and the territories. See North Dakota Code 1-01-49

a.    “Burial goods” means any objects or items interred with human remains at the time of burial.

b.    “Disturb” means move, open, expose, dig up, disinter, excavate, remove, carry away, damage, injure, deface, desecrate, loot, vandalize, mutilate, or destroy.

c.    “Human burial site” means any place of interment, by any means, of human remains or burial goods, which is designated by a grave marker or other burial structure or which is not so designated, but is, in fact, discovered or believed to exist on the basis of archaeological or historical evidence.

d.    “Human remains” means any part of the body of a deceased human being in any stage of decomposition.

e.    “Land” means all lands, including submerged lands, located within the state of North Dakota which are owned by the state or its political subdivisions, agencies, or instrumentalities, or by any private person.

f.    “Person” means a natural person, corporation, unincorporated association, partnership, proprietorship, or governmental entity.

2.    A person is guilty of a class C felony who, without authority of law, breaks open any building wherein any body of a deceased human being is deposited while awaiting burial, with the intent of either removing such human body, or any part thereof, or stealing the coffin, or any part thereof, or anything attached thereto or connected therewith, or the vestments or other articles intended to be buried with the human body.

3.    A person is guilty of a felony who, without authority of law, willfully, as defined in section 12.1-02-02, disturbs a human burial site, human remains, or burial goods found in or on any land, or attempts to do the same, or incites or procures the same to be done.

a.    A person is guilty of a class B felony if the offense in this subsection was committed for monetary gain, whether or not such monetary gain was related to the use of the land in or on which the burial, remains, or goods were disturbed.

b.    A person is guilty of a class C felony if the offense in this subsection was not committed for monetary gain.

4.    Any person who knows or has reasonable grounds to believe that a human burial site, human remains, or burial goods, found in or on any land, are being disturbed or may be disturbed, by human activity without authority of law or by natural forces, shall immediately notify the local law enforcement agency with jurisdiction in the area in which the burial, remains, or goods are located. A person is guilty of a class B misdemeanor who is required to provide such notification and willfully, as defined in section 12.1-02-02, fails to provide the same.

5.    Any person who knows or has reasonable grounds to believe that that person has encountered or discovered a human burial site, human remains, or burial goods associated with a human burial, in or on any land, shall refrain from any activity which might disturb or immediately cease any continued activity which might cause further disturbance of such burial, remains, or goods and shall, as soon as practicable, report the presence or discovery of the burial, remains, or goods to the local law enforcement agency with jurisdiction in the area in which the burial, remains, or goods are located. A person is guilty of a class B misdemeanor who is required to make such report and willfully, as defined in section 12.1-02-02, fails to make the same. The requirements imposed in this subsection do not apply to any person engaged in the salvaging excavation or other disinterment of a human burial under authority of law.

6.    Any person having been found guilty or having pleaded guilty, as a result of having been charged with an offense under subsection 2 or 3, must be ordered to forfeit to the state any and all human remains and burial goods acquired in connection with the commission of the offense and may be ordered to forfeit to the state any and all equipment used in connection with the commission of the offense. In addition, any such person having been charged with an offense under subsection 3 must be ordered to pay all reasonable costs actually incurred in the reinterment of the human remains and burial goods so forfeited. In conjunction with the prosecution of any offense under this subsection, the remains in question in the prosecution may, as deemed necessary, be subjected to nonintrusive, nondestructive professional study for the exclusive purpose of determining whether the remains are human.

7.    Subsection 3 does not apply to the inadvertent disturbance of a human burial site, human remains, or burial goods when the state department of health and the state historical society have been notified of the disturbance and the human remains and burial goods must be studied and reinterred pursuant to rules adopted by the state department of health and the state historical society. Subsection 3 also does not apply to situations in which the state department of health and the state historical society are notified of the need to disinter and move the contents of human burial sites that are recorded with the state historical society to prevent the destruction of the human burial sites by actions including the construction of highways, dams, reservoirs, coal mines, power generation and transmission facilities, pipelines, farming practices, and other developments. Where feasible, the developments should avoid disturbance of the human burial sites. In these situations the disinterred human remains and burial goods must be studied and reinterred pursuant to rules adopted by the state department of health and the state historical society.