Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/15/2003 08:45 AM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
        SB 170-CRIMINAL LAW/SENTENCING/ PROBATION/PAROLE                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  announced  SB  170,  version  A,  to  be  up  for                                                               
consideration. He said there were several proposed amendments.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DEAN GUANELI,  Chief Assistant  Attorney  General, said  the                                                               
amendments they have brought forward  are a result of discussions                                                               
they had  with both the Senate  and the House and  offer a number                                                               
of improvements.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS said  that for  them to  take any  action at  this                                                               
time,  they would  have to  delete sections  1, 2,  3, 4,  and 5,                                                               
which are  the most controversial parts  of the bill that  need a                                                               
lot of work.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH concurred saying that  any change they make in the                                                               
law of self-defense has to be  made very carefully. Some parts of                                                               
the bill are able to move forward this year.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN moved a conceptual  amendment to delete sections 1 -                                                               
5, ending on  page 3, line 6.  There was no objection  and it was                                                               
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS said  he  reviewed  section 6  and  asked about  a                                                               
person being made aware of their rights at the point of booking.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN  said he thought it  was a little bit  of a bullying                                                               
tactic on  the part of law  enforcement to not allow  an attorney                                                               
to  represent  a  person,  especially  if  they  are  under  age,                                                               
inexperienced or mentally incapacitated in some way.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked Mr. Guaneli  how the system  would work                                                               
for  a minor  or a  person  with diminished  mental capacity  and                                                               
whether there are additional protections.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GUANELI  explained  that  parents   of  minors  have  to  be                                                               
contacted.  In   the  case  of  a   mentally  diminished  person,                                                               
especially if  it is a  serious crime, the judge  decides whether                                                               
to admit any confession. Our  laws don't give law enforcement the                                                               
obligation of  deciding at  the outset  whether they  have mental                                                               
problems.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  THERRIAULT said  they  are talking  about  the issue  of                                                               
whether the person has the right  to say they want an attorney or                                                               
that a person outside of the room  has the right to say they want                                                               
their son represented by an attorney.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. GUANELI  said they believe  it ought to  be the right  of the                                                               
person,  and  some third  party  should  not  have the  right  to                                                               
interject him or herself into that situation.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  said under  current law, if  a parent  has an                                                               
attorney show  up when his  son or daughter is  being questioned,                                                               
he has to be shown into the room.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. GUANELI agreed saying it is  the right of the attorney to see                                                               
the prisoner.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS asked  if anything  in section  6 eliminated  that                                                               
right.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. GUANELI replied that section 6  makes all of those rights the                                                               
right of the prisoner to exercise.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS asked if that came under AS 12.25.150(b).                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GUANELI said  that is  correct.  The right  to telephone  or                                                               
otherwise communicate with  an attorney is a  right under current                                                               
law  (page  3, line  8);  the  right  to telephone  or  otherwise                                                               
communicate  with a  relative or  friend is  also a  right. "What                                                               
changes is,  under number 3,  the bill says  you have a  right to                                                               
visit with  an attorney  if you request  it. The  current statute                                                               
says it's the right of the attorney."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 03-49, SIDE A                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN  said he still  has trouble with denying  anyone the                                                               
right to  talk to an  attorney, especially because of  a previous                                                               
remark made  by Mr. Guaneli about  anyone who commits a  crime is                                                               
mentally ill.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS said  they were running out of time  and would hold                                                               
the bill  for further hearings.  There being no  further business                                                               
to come before  the committee, he adjourned the  meeting at 10:35                                                               
a.m.                                                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects