Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/15/1996 01:30 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
         HB  18 STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS:POLICE/CORONERS                        
 WILDA WHITAKER, staff to Representative Therriault, sponsor of HB             
 18, explained the bill is intended to bring the statute of                    
 limitations for civil actions brought against peace officers and              
 coroners into conformity with the statute of limitations for civil            
 actions brought against private persons.  It reduces from three               
 years to two the period in which civil actions can be brought                 
 against police officers and coroners.  Alaska statutes are based on           
 Oregon statutes which are based on New York statutes.  New York's             
 laws originally set the statute of limitations for civil suits                
 brought against a private person at six years, and against a peace            
 officer at three years.  The statute of limitations for peace                 
 officers was shorter because it was recognized that police officers           
 need to be free from excessive harassment to carry out their                  
 duties.  After adopting New York statutes, the State of Oregon                
 reduced the time for bringing civil suits against private persons             
 from six years to two, but failed to correspondingly reduce the               
 statute of limitations against peace officers, which remained at              
 three.  This is how the Oregon law stood when Congress enacted it             
 for Alaska.  What was intended to provide a shorter statute of                
 limitations for peace officers is now longer than that against the            
 general public.  HB 18 would bring an antiquated statute into                 
 conformity with more recent law.  HB 18 is one of the Alaska Peace            
 Officers Association's priority pieces of legislation.  The measure           
 passed the House Judiciary Committee with seven "Do Pass"                     
 recommendations and passed the full House 38 to 0.                            
 SENATOR ADAMS moved HB 18 out of committee with individual                    
 recommendations.  There being no objection, the motion carried.               

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