Legislature(1993 - 1994)
01/21/1994 01:30 PM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE BILL NO. 19 "An Act relating to the crime of conspiracy." Representative Brown provided members with AMENDMENT 3 (copy on file). Representative Brown MOVED to ADOPT AMENDMENT 3. She expressed concern that an individual's "mere presence at the time that two or more persons agreed to engage in or cause the performance of a serious felony offense," not be construed as agreement in the action. Representative Brown MOVED to AMEND Amendment 3 by adding a "." after "offense" and deleting the rest of Amendment 3. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. EDWARD MCNALLY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, ANCHORAGE, DEPARTMENT OF LAW testified via the teleconference network from Anchorage. He asserted that Amendment 3 is unnecessary, redundant and possibly confusing to existing law. He observed that in at least three separate citations existing law states that mere presence or knowledge of a crime is not sufficient for prosecution. DEAN GUANELI, CHIEF ASSISTANT ATTORNEY, DEPARTMENT OF LAW suggested that if Amendment 3 is adopted that it be added to subsection (a) on page 1. Co-Chair Larson MOVED to AMEND Amendment 3 by adding Amendment 3 to page 1, line 8 of CSSB 19 (FIN)am. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. Representative Parnell asked if the fact that mere presence is not enough to convict a person under the statutes would be part of the jury instructions. Mr. McNally believed that juries would receive such instructions. BRANT MCGEE, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF PUBLIC ADVOCACY, DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION testified via the teleconference network from Anchorage. He pointed out that conspiracy is a new offense. He maintained that the court may not apply the same construction to a conspiracy statute that they do to a homicide statute. 2 Mr. Guaneli asserted that a charge would not be made without additional evidence. Representative Hanley restated that intent and existing case law provides that mere presence is not sufficient to bring a charge without an agreement, intent and an overt action. Representative Brown MOVED to ADOPT AMENDMENT 3, as AMENDED. Representative Martin OBJECTED. A roll call vote was taken on the motion. IN FAVOR: Brown, Hanley, Parnell, MacLean, Larson OPPOSED: Martin, Foster Representatives Grussendorf, Hoffman, Navarre and Therriault were not present for the vote. The MOTION PASSED (5-2). Representative Brown provided members with AMENDMENT 4 (copy on file). She MOVED to ADOPT AMENDMENT 4. She explained that the amendment would disallow a conspiracy comprised of two persons if one of the persons was a law enforcement official or a person working in cooperation with a law enforcement official. Mr. Guaneli expressed objection to Amendment 4. He asserted that the amendment would limit prosecution. He observed that an undercover law enforcement officer may be approached in a narcotics sale by an individual who obtains the narcotics from a third unseen individual. He pointed out that individuals that work undercover with law enforcement officers may commit crimes at a later time. Their previous association with law enforcement officers may hinder prosecution of an unrelated act of conspiracy. Mr. McNally expressed concern that in a two person conspiracy case if one defendant cooperates with law enforcement the conspiracy charge would be nullified. RANDY CRAWFORD, ALASKA STATE TROOPERS, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY testified via the teleconference network from Anchorage. He pointed out that most operations involving undercover agents are recorded. He noted that it is typical for persons being arrested to come forward with information about a third person or about an additional crime involving others. Representative MOVED to ADOPT AMENDMENT 4. A roll call vote was taken on the motion. IN FAVOR: Brown OPPOSED: Foster, Hanley, Martin, Parnell, MacLean, Larson 3 Representatives Grussendorf, Hoffman, Navarre and Therriault were not present for the vote. The MOTION FAILED (1-6). Representative Brown provided members with AMENDMENT 5 (copy on file). She MOVED to ADOPT AMENDMENT 5. She explained that the amendment would allow an individual involved in a conspiracy to renounce their involvement. Mr. Guaneli observed that the amendment would address how the end of the conspiracy is calculated for purpose of the five year statute of limitations. He did not think the amendment was necessary. He asserted that language contained in the legislation better clarifies the calculation. Representative Brown referred to subsection 3 of Amendment 5, "the defendant abandons the agreement by advising the persons with whom the defendant agreed". Mr. Guaneli observed that when an individual agrees to engage in a criminal act a process is begun that can "take on a life of its own," even if the individual renounces their involvement. He added that it is difficult to prove a renunciation that takes place in secret. (Tape Change, HFC 94-10, Side 1) Representative Brown WITHDREW AMENDMENT 5. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. Representative Martin MOVED to report HCS CSSB 19 (FIN) out of Committee with individual recommendations and with the accompanying fiscal notes. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. Co-Chair Larson noted that the bill would not be transmitted until absent members have a chance to review the Committee's proceedings on Monday, 1/24/94. HCS CSSB 19 (FIN) was reported out of Committee with a "do pass" recommendation and with four fiscal impact notes, two by the Department of Administration, one by the Department of Corrections and one by the Alaska Court System; and with two zero fiscal notes, one by the Department of Law and one by the Department of Public Safety.