Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/19/1996 01:05 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 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.                 
                                                                               

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