Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/10/1993 01:00 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  HB 69 - SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION                                            
                                                                               
  DOUG WOOLIVER, STAFF TO THE HOUSE MAJORITY, spoke on behalf                  
  of HB 69's SPONSOR, SPEAKER RAMONA BARNES, who was unable to                 
  be present.  He said that HB 69 would require sex offenders                  
  to register with the Alaska State Troopers, and HB 69 would                  
  cover not only those people convicted of sex offenses in                     
  Alaska, but also those convicted of sex offenses in other                    
  states.  He noted that the bill was retroactive to cover                     
  crimes committed from five to ten years earlier, depending                   
  on the severity of the crime.                                                
                                                                               
  Number 593                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. WOOLIVER stated that the bill provided that new Alaska                   
  residents had 45 days in which to register with the state                    
  troopers.  Current Alaska residents would have 30 days in                    
  which to register, he added.  He said that Speaker Barnes                    
  requested that the committee look at shortening those time                   
  periods.  He stated that when an offender registered, he or                  
  she would provide a name, address, place of employment, date                 
  of birth, crime for which they were convicted, date of                       
  conviction, place and court of conviction, length of                         
  sentence, fingerprints, photograph, driver's license number,                 
  and any aliases they had used.  He said that with the                        
  exception of the fingerprints, photograph, driver's license                  
  number, and aliases, this registration information would be                  
  available to the public.                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 612                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. WOOLIVER cited the tremendously high rate of sex                         
  offenses in Alaska.  He said Alaska led the nation in child                  
  sexual abuse and was second in the nation in terms of sexual                 
  assaults in general.  He commented that many people came to                  
  Alaska to get away from their pasts.  He cited a California                  
  study that found a very high recidivism rate for sex                         
  offenders.  Because of the high rate of sex offenses in                      
  Alaska and the high rate of recidivism, he said, it was                      
  important that information on the offenders be accessible to                 
  the public.                                                                  
                                                                               
  Number 652                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. WOOLIVER said currently, limited information on sex                      
  offenders was available.  However, that was only in the case                 
  of job applicants or those who held jobs where they                          
  supervised or disciplined children.  Mr. Wooliver noted HB
  69 would greatly increase the availability of information on                 
  convicted sex offenders.                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 668                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. WOOLIVER commented that HB 69 would aid in the                           
  apprehension of perpetrators.  He said 18 states had sex                     
  offender registration laws in place, 11 of which had been                    
  enacted since 1985.                                                          
                                                                               
  Number 686                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. GREEN asked how the law could be enforced when                          
  convicted sex offenders entered Alaska from other                            
  jurisdictions.                                                               
                                                                               
  Number 697                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. WOOLIVER replied that HB 69 provided for penalties for                   
  not registering with the state troopers.  He said a proposed                 
  change would tighten up the penalty section of the bill.                     
  Currently, he acknowledged, the law would be difficult to                    
  enforce; but it was a step in the right direction.                           
                                                                               
  Number 724                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. GREEN asked why the photograph of a convicted sex                       
  offender would not be made public, along with much of the                    
  other registration information.                                              
                                                                               
  Number 735                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. WOOLIVER responded that the bill could be amended so as                  
  to make photographs public.  He noted that there might be                    
  right to privacy concerns surrounding the public                             
  dissemination of photographs.                                                
                                                                               
  Number 745                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. GREEN asked if a court might strike down a law making                   
  photographs of convicted sex offenders public information.                   
                                                                               
  Number 748                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. WOOLIVER expressed an opinion that the law might be less                 
  likely to stand up to a court challenge if it included the                   
  public dissemination of photographs of convicted sex                         
  offenders.                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN PORTER mentioned Alaska's constitutional right to                   
  privacy.                                                                     
                                                                               
  TAPE 93-11, SIDE B                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN PORTER asked Mr. Wooliver why sex offenders should                  
  register for a limited amount of time (five or ten years),                   
  instead of for the rest of their lives.                                      
                                                                               
  Number 022                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. WOOLIVER responded that Speaker Barnes would not mind                    
  increasing the amount of time during which offenders were                    
  required to register.  He said many states had lifetime                      
  registration requirements.  The only way that an offender                    
  could be released from registration requirements in those                    
  states would be to petition the court.                                       
                                                                               
  Number 031                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that representatives of the                           
  Departments of Public Safety and Corrections would address                   
  the committee later.                                                         
                                                                               
  Number 039                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. PHILLIPS notified the committee that during a recent                    
  district teleconference her constituents had asked why new                   
  residents of Alaska were given such a lengthy period in                      
  which to register.                                                           
                                                                               
  Number 060                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. WOOLIVER outlined the changes that had been made to HB
  69 in the House State Affairs Committee.  He called the                      
  members' attention to the last sentence on page 1 of the                     
  bill, which raised the penalty for failing to register for                   
  those who had been convicted of the more serious sex                         
  offenses.  He also noted that the time periods in which                      
  offenders were given to register had been shortened from 45                  
  days to 14 days for non-Alaska residents, and from 30 days                   
  to seven days for Alaska residents.  He noted that parolees                  
  under the Interstate Compact on Probation and Parole program                 
  had seven days in which to register.                                         
                                                                               
  Number 095                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. WOOLIVER noted a change on page 3, section (c), which                    
  held that if an offender was unable to register with the                     
  Alaska State Troopers, he or she could register with a                       
  municipal police department.  An earlier version of HB 69                    
  had said that if an offender lived 50 miles or more from an                  
  Alaska State Trooper station, he or she could register with                  
  a municipal police department.  He said the change had been                  
  made because state troopers were occasionally not in their                   
  stations for days at a time, as they were accompanying                       
  prisoners and performing other duties.                                       
                                                                               
  Number 117                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. WOOLIVER stated that a small, technical change had been                  
  made to the section of the bill pertaining to the Central                    
  Registry of Sex Offenders.  Whereas an earlier version of HB
  69 had said that the Alaska State Troopers would maintain                    
  the registry, the current work draft now provided that the                   
  Department of Public Safety would do that.                                   
                                                                               
  Number 127                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. KOTT asked Mr. Wooliver about the possibility of                        
  enacting a lifetime registration requirement, and of                         
  including offenses committed more than ten years prior to                    
  passage of HB 69.                                                            
                                                                               
  MR. WOOLIVER responded that as a practical matter, the state                 
  might only be able to go back a certain number of years due                  
  to the difficulty of accessing old records.                                  
                                                                               
  Number 156                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. KOTT asked Mr. Wooliver about a convicted sex offender                  
  who had served a jail sentence, successfully completed                       
  probation or parole, and was faced with a new requirement                    
  that he or she register with the state.  He asked if HB 69                   
  would be considered an "ex post facto" law.                                  
                                                                               
  Number 166                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. WOOLIVER replied that he did not believe that HB 69 was                  
  an ex post facto law.  He said the prohibition against ex                    
  post facto laws meant that laws could not be passed that                     
  increased the penalty for a crime that had already been                      
  committed.  He said that the courts, when determining                        
  whether a law violated the ex post facto provision, looked                   
  at whether the law was punitive or regulatory.  If laws were                 
  punitive, then they received an ex post facto analysis.  He                  
  said HB 69 was a regulatory action and therefore did not                     
  violate the prohibition of ex post facto laws.  He added                     
  that changing the bill to require lifetime registration                      
  would not change that fact.                                                  
                                                                               
  MR. WOOLIVER noted that for HB 69 the registration                           
  requirement did not begin until the end of probation or                      
  parole.  He said the law was retroactive, as were similar                    
  laws in other states.                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 202                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. GREEN asked Mr. Wooliver to clarify how HB 69 was                       
  retroactive in relation to parole and probation periods.                     
                                                                               
  Number 210                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. WOOLIVER commented that, as the bill was currently                       
  written, an offender who had committed a more serious sex                    
  offense eight years before and was required, under HB 69, to                 
  register for ten years, would be covered by the bill's                       
  provisions.  However, an offender who had committed a crime                  
  requiring a ten-year registration period twelve years                        
  earlier would not be covered by HB 69.                                       
                                                                               
  MR. WOOLIVER noted that if there was a lifetime registration                 
  period, there would be a question as to whether or not                       
  anyone ever convicted of a sex crime in another state would                  
  also be required to register.                                                
                                                                               
  Number 224                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. NORDLUND asked Mr. Wooliver if the misdemeanor crime of                 
  failing to register was an ex post facto situation.                          
                                                                               
  Number 233                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. WOOLIVER replied that he did not believe so.                             
                                                                               
  Number 243                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN PORTER asked Mr. Wooliver to ask HB 69's sponsor if                 
  she were opposed to any of the changes that the committee                    
  proposed to make to the bill.                                                
                                                                               
  Number 246                                                                   
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER LLOYD RUPP, from the DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS,                 
  testified in support of HB 69, as amended.  He stated that                   
  he supported lifetime registration for sex offenders.  He                    
  commented on his background of having run a sex offender                     
  treatment program for three years.  He said he had created a                 
  sex offender treatment program for the U. S. Marine Corps                    
  and had helped the Navy to develop its new sex offender                      
  treatment program.                                                           
                                                                               
  Number 250                                                                   
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER RUPP mentioned that research had shown that,                    
  particularly in the case of pedophiles, for every known                      
  perpetration, another 150 were not reported.  He noted that                  
  some sexual deviances were lifelong.  For that reason, he                    
  said, he strongly supported lifetime registration.                           
                                                                               
  Number 283                                                                   
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER RUPP said that research demonstrated that                       
  people who molested children often went on to commit other                   
  sex crimes.  He reiterated the department's support for HB
  69.  Commissioner Rupp commented that sexual deviants had a                  
  lifetime problem, similar to alcoholics or drug addicts.  He                 
  said HB 69 would send a strong signal that society                           
  recognized the lifetime nature of their problem and intended                 
  that the perpetrators also recognize that.                                   
                                                                               
  Number 315                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN PORTER asked Commissioner Rupp if he had ever come                  
  across a pedophile who had been rehabilitated.                               
                                                                               
  Number 320                                                                   
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER RUPP replied that one should never bank on a                    
  sadistic, fixated pedophile.  However, he said, some people                  
  who committed pedophilic acts could control their problem,                   
  in his opinion.  He commented that in his personal                           
  experience he had never come across a rehabilitated                          
  pedophile.  He noted that it did not hurt to register sex                    
  offenders and would aid law enforcement.                                     
                                                                               
  Number 376                                                                   
                                                                               
  DEPUTY COMMISSIONER C.E. SWACKHAMMER, of the DEPARTMENT OF                   
  PUBLIC SAFETY, commented that his department supported HB 69                 
  because of its deterrent effect and because it would aid law                 
  enforcement officials.  He noted that the Alaska Chiefs of                   
  Police Association also supported HB 69.                                     
                                                                               
  Number 388                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. PHILLIPS asked Deputy Commissioner Swackhammer if an                    
  increase in registration period lengths would cause the                      
  department any difficulty.                                                   
                                                                               
  Number 394                                                                   
                                                                               
  DEPUTY COMMISSIONER SWACKHAMMER replied that it would not                    
  cause any difficulty.                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 397                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. PHILLIPS asked if Village Public Safety Officers                        
  (VPSOs) would register sex offenders.                                        
                                                                               
  Number 401                                                                   
                                                                               
  DEPUTY COMMISSIONER SWACKHAMMER responded that VPSOs would                   
  not register sex offenders, as they were not equipped with                   
  photography and fingerprinting equipment.  He said HB 69                     
  held that sex offenders could register with municipal police                 
  departments as well as state trooper stations because, in                    
  some communities, troopers were away from their stations for                 
  long periods of time.                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 415                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. PHILLIPS asked Deputy Commissioner Swackhammer how sex                  
  offenders would be notified of their duty to register.                       
                                                                               
  Number 421                                                                   
                                                                               
  DEPUTY COMMISSIONER SWACKHAMMER said the department planned                  
  to advertise the requirement through the Court System, the                   
  Department of Corrections, and the Division of Motor                         
  Vehicles.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 423                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. PHILLIPS asked if notification would be placed in                       
  newspapers and on the radio as well.                                         
                                                                               
  Number 427                                                                   
                                                                               
  DEPUTY COMMISSIONER SWACKHAMMER replied that he had not                      
  considered placing notices in the newspaper and on the                       
  radio.                                                                       
                                                                               
  Number 429                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. PHILLIPS said some people opposed HB 69 because they                    
  feared that it would encourage vigilantism.                                  
                                                                               
  DEPUTY COMMISSIONER SWACKHAMMER responded that he had not                    
  thought about the possibility of vigilantism.  He added that                 
  much would depend on how the registration program                            
  information was disseminated.  He said the purpose of the                    
  regulations was to ensure that the department properly dealt                 
  with Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act issues.                      
                                                                               
  Number 443                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. PHILLIPS commented that one legislator had a                            
  constituency that was very concerned about the vigilante                     
  aspect of the bill.                                                          
                                                                               
  Number 447                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN PORTER said that one response to that constituency                  
  would be that people were being convicted of sex offenses in                 
  Alaska all the time.  He stated that he doubted that                         
  vigilantism would start upon enactment of HB 69, given that                  
  so many opportunities for it had existed in the past.                        
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN PORTER asked if Deputy Commissioner Swackhammer                     
  would comment on possibly including a requirement that an                    
  offender provide a blood sample as part of the registration                  
  process.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 463                                                                   
                                                                               
  DEPUTY COMMISSIONER SWACKHAMMER commented that California                    
  required sex offenders to provide blood and saliva samples.                  
  He said he thought it would be helpful if a similar program                  
  were in place in Alaska as well.  However, he said, that                     
  technology in the state crime lab was not yet sophisticated                  
  enough to allow DNA testing.  He stated that the department                  
  should have the appropriate technology in place within two                   
  to three years.                                                              
                                                                               
  Number 475                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN PORTER asked if the department would support HB
  69's inclusion of language allowing the department to                        
  require blood and saliva samples from offenders when                         
  appropriate technology was available.                                        
                                                                               
  DEPUTY COMMISSIONER SWACKHAMMER said the department would                    
  support that.                                                                
                                                                               
  REP. KOTT asked if the department would support registration                 
  of anyone convicted of an unclassified felony.                               
                                                                               
  Number 486                                                                   
                                                                               
  DEPUTY COMMISSIONER SWACKHAMMER replied that law enforcement                 
  did have the ability to do that, to some extent.  He added                   
  that sometimes great volumes of data were a problem in and                   
  of themselves in that there was no appropriate way to deal                   
  with it all.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Number 502                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN PORTER asked if one opportunity for learning that                   
  an unregistered sex offender was in the state would be the                   
  normal course of records checks conducted by law enforcement                 
  officials.                                                                   
                                                                               
  DEPUTY COMMISSIONER SWACKHAMMER said that for new residents                  
  of Alaska it would be an opportunity.                                        
                                                                               
  Number 512                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. NORDLUND mentioned a situation in Anchorage in which                    
  neighbors had learned that a convicted sex offender had                      
  moved into the neighborhood.  He said the neighbors were                     
  upset that police had not informed them that a convicted sex                 
  offender was in the neighborhood.  He said that neighbors                    
  had found out about the sex offender because children had                    
  been lured into the house and found inappropriate pictures                   
  on the walls, which they reported to parents.                                
                                                                               
  REP. NORDLUND noted that neighbors contacted authorities and                 
  were finally able to pressure the man to move out of the                     
  neighborhood.  He asked Deputy Commissioner Swackhammer how                  
  the neighbors would have found out that the man was a                        
  convicted sex offender.  Also, he wanted to know if HB 69                    
  could provide for notification of community officials when a                 
  sex offender moved into a neighborhood.                                      
                                                                               
  Number 531                                                                   
                                                                               
  DEPUTY COMMISSIONER SWACKHAMMER replied that neighbors could                 
  have looked at court records, which were public documents.                   
                                                                               
  Number 539                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. NORDLUND asked how much of an improvement HB 69 was                     
  over what currently existed in law, given that HB 69 would                   
  not provide for notification of community officials.                         
                                                                               
  Number 542                                                                   
                                                                               
  DEPUTY COMMISSIONER SWACKHAMMER commented that HB 69 was                     
  geared toward law enforcement, in terms of having a central                  
  registry of sex offenders.  He said that the issue of                        
  information dissemination would be addressed in the                          
  regulations.  He added that the regulations would be written                 
  so as to comply with the Freedom of Information Act and the                  
  Right to Privacy Act.                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 558                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. KOTT asked if HB 69 would encourage defendants to plead                 
  guilty to lesser charges.                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 568                                                                   
                                                                               
  DEPUTY COMMISSIONER SWACKHAMMER responded that he did not                    
  think HB 69 would change the rate of plea bargaining.                        
                                                                               
  TAPE 93-12, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
                                                                               
  CINDY SMITH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE ALASKA NETWORK ON                     
  DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT, testified in support                   
  of HB 69.  She said that it was rare for those in her                        
  business to engage in pro-active responses to the problems                   
  that they faced.  She said the incidence of reported rape in                 
  Alaska had gone up 91 percent in the past two years.  She                    
  added that there had been similar increases in child sexual                  
  abuse as well.                                                               
                                                                               
  MS. SMITH said that about 50 sex offenders were released                     
  every year from Alaska's prisons.  In 1993, however, 100                     
  offenders would be released, she said.  She commented that                   
  most offenders were not treated in prison and many offenders                 
  would re-offend when released.                                               
                                                                               
  MS. SMITH commented that for the most part, communities were                 
  unaware of who offenders were.  She said HB 69 would provide                 
  access to that information for employers and concerned                       
  community members.  She added that HB 69 would provide for                   
  more centralized data.                                                       
                                                                               
  Number 071                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. SMITH noted her concern over the continued rise in                       
  sexual assault cases in Alaska.  She said that for every                     
  victim of a sex offense, the state paid over and over again                  
  in terms of treatment for the victim, violent crime                          
  compensation, prosecution, and jail time.  She said that sex                 
  offender treatment, in community models, encouraged the                      
  tracking of offenders, wherein an offender's employer,                       
  family, church members, et al, were informed of the                          
  offender's problem.  She noted that this monitoring                          
  increased an offender's chances of not offending again.                      
                                                                               
  Number 106                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN PORTER asked Ms. Smith if the increased rate of sex                 
  offenses was due in part to enhanced reporting, or if it was                 
  purely a higher number of offenses.                                          
                                                                               
  MS. SMITH replied that she did not believe that the rise was                 
  due to enhanced reporting.  She said that rates had been                     
  declining steadily until 1989, but then began to increase.                   
                                                                               
  Number 146                                                                   
                                                                               
  MARGOT KNUTH, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE DEPARTMENT                  
  OF LAW'S CRIMINAL DIVISION, commented that the required                      
  registration period began when probation ended.  Therefore,                  
  she said, for an unclassified, class A or class B felony sex                 
  offense, registration would be at least fifteen years.  She                  
  noted that in the past, bills which increased the period of                  
  probation that could be ordered for offenders had been                       
  before the legislature.                                                      
                                                                               
  MS. KNUTH commented that she felt there were legal issues                    
  surrounding lifetime registration requirements.  She said                    
  that she had not researched the issue, but knew that the                     
  Alaska Supreme Court sought to achieve a balance between the                 
  legitimate purpose of a statute versus the constitutionally                  
  required sentencing goal of rehabilitation of an offender.                   
                                                                               
  REP. NORDLUND asked if there might be sex offenders in the                   
  community who were not required to register because they                     
  were on probation.                                                           
                                                                               
  Number 201                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. KNUTH replied that registration requirements began upon                  
  an offender's release from prison.  However, she noted that                  
  the registration requirements set forth in HB 69 would not                   
  begin to run until probation had been completed.                             
                                                                               
  Number 215                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN PORTER announced that the bill would be held in                     
  committee while additional changes were made to the                          
  Judiciary committee substitute for HB 69.  He said the bill                  
  would come back before the committee when those changes had                  
  been made.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Number 227                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. KOTT commented that if HB 69 were to include lifetime                   
  registration requirements, he would like to see a fiscal                     
  note reflecting that change.                                                 
                                                                               
  Number 233                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN PORTER told committee members to contact Judiciary                  
  committee counsel, Gayle Horetski, if they had additional                    
  changes to recommend.                                                        
                                                                               
  ADJOURNMENT                                                                  
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN PORTER adjourned the meeting at 2:39 p.m.                           

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