Legislature(1993 - 1994)

04/26/1994 04:15 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 CRIMINAL ADMIN) before the committee as the next order of business.           
 REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN PORTER, prime sponsor of HJR 43, said the                
 resolution deals with victims rights.  It provides two sections:              
 one dealing with penal administration, which reorders the priority            
 of the considerations of penal administration, and the other                  
 relating to the rights of crime victims.  In the second section               
 dealing with victims' rights, it is taking statutory provisions               
 that exist currently and raising them to the level of the                     
 Number 260                                                                    
 SENATOR LITTLE asked what the advantage is in putting these rights            
 into the constitution when they are already in statute.                       
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER answered it is to give them equal billing               
 with the constitutional rights of criminal defendants.  Whenever a            
 victim's right, statutory as it is now, comes against a                       
 constitutional right of a criminal defendant, the constitutional              
 right has greater weight.                                                     
 Number 280                                                                    
 SENATOR LOREN LEMAN, Chairman of the Senate State Affairs                     
 Committee, was present to explain changes made in the State Affairs           
 SCS.  The substantive addition in that committee was in Section 1             
 where they added community condemnation, rights of victims of                 
 crimes, and restitution from the offender to the current list of              
 protecting the public and the principle of reformation.                       
 Number 326                                                                    
 SENATOR DONLEY said the most important question to him is the                 
 question of what kind of impact this would have on existing rights.           
 He also has concern that the language "the Legislature shall                  
 implement" is not a sufficient guideline to accord that the courts            
 would only go so far as the existing statutory language.  He said             
 he preferred the language that was in  SJR 2  (CRIME VICTIM                   
 RIGHTS;CRIM JUSTICE ADMIN) which made several caveats, such as                
 giving the Legislature the authority to define what a crime victim            
 is.  He suggested changing the language at the beginning of Section           
 24 to read "A victim of crime, as defined by law,"...                         
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER voiced concern that by putting more words in,           
 the more words there are to be interpreted, which increases the               
 chances of having varying opinions on what is trying to be said.              
 Number 460                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR said one of his concerns is what happens with the              
 people who perceive themselves to be a victim of a crime, but the             
 prosecutor has decided not to prosecute.  Although there used to be           
 a provision that a private citizen could prosecute his or her own             
 case, that was taken away approximately six years ago.  SENATOR               
 DONLEY pointed out that a private citizen still has the right to              
 make a presentation to a grand jury.                                          
 There was extensive discussion on the statutory definition of                 
 TAPE 94-42, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 120                                                                    
 SENATOR LITTLE moved the following conceptual amendment on page 1,            
 line 14:  After "Rights of Crime Victims" insert "A victim of                 
 crime, as defined by law, shall have the rights described in this             
 section as provided by law."  Hearing no objection, the amendment             
 was adopted.                                                                  
 SENATOR DONLEY had also suggested that in Section 12 changing the             
 words "penal administration" to "criminal justice," but SENATOR               
 TAYLOR said he wasn't prepared to move on that question because it            
 was a bigger shift than he was willing to take.                               
 Number 140                                                                    
 SENATOR LITTLE moved that on page 2, line 9, delete the sentence              
 "The legislature shall implement this section."  SENATOR TAYLOR               
 stated his objection of doing so at this point because he thinks it           
 is important to have in the constitution the authorization that the           
 legislature should, in fact, implement the section.  The roll was             
 taken with the following result:  Senators Donley and Little voted            
 "Yea" and Senator Taylor voted "Nay."  The Chairman stated the                
 amendment had failed.                                                         
 Number 181                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR said there was still the question of "penal" versus            
 "criminal," as well as the question of a proposed paragraph (b)               
 regarding assessments against convicted defendants, and he                    
 preferred to hold HJR 43 for a couple of days in order to work on             
 drafting acceptable language.                                                 

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