Legislature(1993 - 1994)

05/06/1994 08:00 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY opened SB 228 for discussion.                                 
  SENATOR JUDITH SALO, PRIME SPONSOR OF SB 228, gave a brief                   
  statement.  She stated SB 228 passed the Senate unanimously,                 
  and has HB 460 as a companion in the House.  She explained                   
  SB 228 adds to the list of crimes for which bail is denied                   
  in Alaska.  Currently, if a person is convicted of an                        
  unclassified or a class A felony, following conviction,                      
  pending sentencing or pending appeal, bail is not allowed.                   
  SB 228 would add  "stalking in the first degree, sexual                      
  assault in the second and third degree, and sexual abuse of                  
  a minor in both class B and class C" to the list of non-                     
  bailable after conviction offenses.  SB 228 does not deny                    
  bail prior to conviction.                                                    
  SENATOR SALO explained SB 228 stems from a case which                        
  happened this past fall in Anchorage.  A man who had a very                  
  long "rap sheet" in both California and Alaska, was tried                    
  and convicted of a felony count in Alaska and was sentenced.                 
  While pending appeal, he was released on $5,000 bail.  While                 
  released, he sexually assaulted one woman, and raped                         
  another.  She was contacted by constituents who felt it was                  
  not right that a criminal of his stature was out on the                      
  streets.  She emphasized SB 228 is legislation that citizens                 
  of Alaska are looking for; it provides protection.                           
  SENATOR SALO noted the statute citations on the second page                  
  of SB 228 referred to the stalking, sexual assault and                       
  sexual abuse she mentioned earlier.                                          
  Number 207                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY noted Department of Law, Alaska State                         
  Troopers, Office of Public Advocacy, the Public Defender                     
  Agency and the Department of Corrections all have zero                       
  fiscal notes.                                                                
  REPRESENTATIVE KOTT observed the fiscal notes also and                       
  stated SB 228 did not appear to be too offensive.  He                        
  believed he had seen the bill in the Judiciary Committee                     
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY commented he believed a judge does not have                   
  to grant bail if there is reason to think the person should                  
  be denied.  The system, however, is not perfect.  He                         
  questioned if the criminal justice system should really be                   
  changed in this manner.                                                      
  SENATOR SALO responded she agreed the mishap does not happen                 
  often, however, it should never happen.  For this reason,                    
  the legislature has chosen to statutorily deny bail for                      
  unclassified and class A felonies.  This is to prevent                       
  mishaps from soft-hearted judges or very good defense                        
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY clarified SB 228 does not deny bail to a                      
  person accused of a crime.  SB 228 denies bail after a                       
  person is convicted.                                                         
  SENATOR SALO affirmed CHAIRMAN VEZEY.  She clarified in                      
  unclassified and class A felonies there is limited bail,                     
  however, SB 228 totally denies it following conviction.  She                 
  did not know in what way bail was limited prior to                           
  conviction.  She emphasized, because of the predominance of                  
  sexual crimes in Alaska, they should be added to the list.                   
  She noted the lives of those woman stated in the impetus for                 
  SB 228 are changed forever.  She expressed a considerable                    
  amount of time had been spent with the Department of Law and                 
  judicial experts who agree that to ensure the mishap does                    
  not happen again, SB 228 is necessary.                                       
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY stated SB 228 is expanding existing statutes                  
  to include class B and class C felony convictions, only in                   
  the event that they have a prior class A or unclassified                     
  conviction.  He pointed out SB 228 does not include them if                  
  they have a previous class B conviction.                                     
  Number 281                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE KOTT agreed.  He commented there may be a                     
  case, dealing with due process, that will not allow the                      
  legislature to deny bail based on charges, prior to                          
  conviction.  He noted SB 228 is eliminating some of the                      
  judges discretion.                                                           
  (REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS returned at 10:12 a.m.)                              
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY agreed bail could be increased, but it could                  
  not be denied prior to being charged or prior to conviction.                 
  He mentioned the only fiscal impact would be if a person had                 
  to go to prison, while on appeal, and then the conviction                    
  was thrown out.  The state would then be out 1-2 years of                    
  incarceration money, when the person could have been out on                  
  SENATOR SALO directed the committee to the analysis included                 
  with the Department of Corrections zero fiscal note.  The                    
  analysis states most reversals result in a reduction of                      
  sentence, rather than absolutely eliminating it.  They                       
  overview the projected numbers of felonies that might be                     
  overturned.  She emphasized even if there was some time                      
  served, Department of Corrections implies "it would sort of                  
  be a wash."                                                                  
  REPRESENTATIVE KOTT moved to pass SB 228 from committee with                 
  individual recommendations and attached zero fiscal notes.                   
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY called for a roll call vote.                                  
  IN FAVOR:      REPRESENTATIVES VEZEY, KOTT, B. DAVIS, G.                     
                 DAVIS, SANDERS, OLBERG.                                       
  ABSENT:        REPRESENTATIVE ULMER.                                         
  The MOTION PASSED.                                                           
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY adjourned the meeting at 10:15 a.m.                           
  BILLS NOT HEARD                                                              

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