Legislature(1995 - 1996)
02/19/1996 01:05 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 484 - ENFORCE RESTITUTION ORDER AGAINST MINOR CHAIRMAN PORTER then introduced HB 484 as the next order of business and invited Representative Gene Therriault to testify. Number 1851 REPRESENTATIVE GENE THERRIAULT read the sponsor statement regarding HB 484 into the record. "HB 484 would allow the courts to convert a restitution order in a juvenile criminal case into a civil judgment. The bill is in response to a recent Alaska Court of Appeals case, R.I. v. State, which held that a Superior Court judge lacks statutory authority to treat a restitution order as if it were a civil judgment in a juvenile case. AS 12.55.051(d) grants the state such authority in adult cases. A civil judgment is especially helpful when the offender fails or refuses to make restitution payments. A civil judgment would allow the victim in such cases to execute against the offender's assets, including his or her permanent fund dividend, in order to enforce the restitution order without going to civil court and obtaining a civil judgment for the damages. Currently, if a juvenile does not pay a restitution order by his or her 19th birthday, the court has no more jurisdiction over the juvenile and the restitution order is basically moot. A victim must go to civil court, prove again that the juvenile was liable for the damages and obtain a civil judgment against the juvenile offender. This seems like an unnecessary and costly burden for the victim, who has already been hurt once." Number 1915 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT pointed out that there is a statute in place which will convert an adult's restitution order into a civil judgment and this legislation attempts to do the same for juveniles. Number 1949 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked if there were cases in particular that Representative Therriault could cite where a juvenile actually got out from under a restitution order in the manner outlined. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT noted the case mentioned in the sponsor statement, R.I. v. State, where the individual did not make the restitution payments. The court, under the impression that they had the authority to convert this restitution, did so, but on appeal this effort was overturned. Number 2020 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked about a situation where a person who had a judgment against them at 17 is required to pay restitution and he then turns 19 years old, does this same order of restitution follow an individual. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT responded by saying that a representative from the Department of Law could answer this, but it was his understanding that an individual who has been making restitution payments, but has a balance owing, the victim could move to convert the remainder into a civil judgment once the juvenile turns 19. He imagined the court would carry forward a payment schedule. In addition, if a juvenile has made restitution and there's still an amount owing, the victim does not have to request that this conversion be made if they think they've been made whole. Number 2108 ANNE CARPENETI, Department of Law, Criminal Division, testified that the department supports this bill. In the past, courts have been converting orders of restitution against minors into civil judgments, but lately one of these cases had been taken up on appeal. The Court of Appeals said that there needed to be a specific statute to authorize the courts to do this conversion in juvenile cases. The statute to do this in adult cases cannot be applied to juvenile cases. This case's opinion cried out for help beyond what the court's powers are at this time. She noted that this was why the department supports this bill. Number 2150 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked if a judge could provide a restitution order for a parent to help pay the cost of this restitution under a statute which he referenced from last session. MS. CARPENETI said that she would like to look at the statute and said that the reason why this last session legislation passed was to allow increased parental responsibility, but she reserved the chance to look at it first. Number 2190 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT stated that his recollection about this section of the statute, in holding the parents liable for a certain dollar amount made this automatic for a certain amount of the damages. He thought the restitution order would be against the person who caused the damage and wouldn't apply to the parents automatically by the provisions of the bill passed last year. By statute, they stated that the parents can be liable up to a maximum of $10,000. It was his opinion that restitution would be for a monetary value that the victim has not yet recouped. If the judgment against the parent already covered the damages, he didn't know that there would be room there for restitution. CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that the judgment or restitution order is only as good as the ability to recoup the money. It seems as though if there was an indication of an inability to pay on the part of the minor it would be of assistance to the victims to allow the judge to use the authority of this statute to order the parents to pay, if the juvenile can't. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT thought that Chairman Porter was right. If the dollar amount is such that the juvenile can't pay, the court could enter an order of restitution. If restitution is not paid, then the victim would have the right then to exercise the other portion of the statute which allows for the parent to pay up to $10,000 depending on the circumstance. Number 2276 MS. CARPENETI stated she would get back to Chairman Porter after she looked at the statute to see whether or not another lawsuit would need to be initiated for restitution. CHAIRMAN PORTER felt that this shouldn't hold up the passage of the bill out of committee, but as the bill progresses, if it's found that the statute doesn't already allow for the parents to assume some responsibility for restitution, then he recommended the expansion of this use to this particular legislation. Number 2312 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN made a motion to move HB 484, version (C) with a zero fiscal note and individual recommendations from the House Judiciary Committee. Hearing no objections, it was so moved.