Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

04/21/2005 08:30 AM JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved HB 131 Out of Committee
Moved SCS CSHB 132(JUD) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved HB 136 Out of Committee
              CSHB 132(JUD)-CRIMES AGAINST ELDERLY                                                                          
9:49:36 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS announced HB 132 to be up for consideration.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  BILL  STOLTZ introduced  HB  132  and advised  it                                                               
increases  fines for  offenses  against the  elderly. Elderly  is                                                               
defined  as 65  or  older.  It is  meant  for  people who  target                                                               
9:49:49 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  RANDY RUARO,  attorney, Department  of  Law (DOL)  expressed                                                               
support for HB 132.                                                                                                             
SENATOR GUESS  asked Mr.  Ruaro whether the  State of  Alaska has                                                               
similar enhanced penalties for the mentally disabled.                                                                           
MR. RUARO  advised there is  an aggravator in statute  for people                                                               
who are particularly vulnerable. He  is not sure how routinely it                                                               
is applied.                                                                                                                     
SENATOR  GUESS asked  the reason  HB 132  is looking  at enhanced                                                               
penalties versus aggravators.                                                                                                   
MR. RUARO admitted he found one  case where the court ignored the                                                               
aggravator and  fashioned the sentence  within the  normal range.                                                               
HB 132 elevates the attention of the court.                                                                                     
SENATOR  FRENCH  advised  the aggravator  for  the  "particularly                                                               
vulnerable"  singles  out  age and  infirmity  and  possibly  the                                                               
mentally  challenged. There  are prongs  in sex  assault statute,                                                               
which makes it a separate crime to rape a vulnerable victim.                                                                    
9:52:22 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  FRENCH asked  Mr. Ruaro  how  HB 132  ties into  Blakely                                                               
versus Washington.  He asked whether  the elements would  have to                                                               
be alleged in the complaint and proven to the jury.                                                                             
MR. RUARO said yes.                                                                                                             
SENATOR  FRENCH  noted the  jury  would  have  to find  that  the                                                               
defendant either  knew or should  have known that the  victim was                                                               
over 65.                                                                                                                        
MR. RUARO agreed.                                                                                                               
SENATOR FRENCH  asked whether he  paraphrased the  mental element                                                               
MR.  RUARO   clarified  the  element  was   actually  "recklessly                                                               
disregard."  He  did not  know  whether  that was  equivalent  to                                                               
"known or should have known."                                                                                                   
SENATOR  FRENCH asked  Mr. Ruaro  to tell  the committee  how the                                                               
court would define "recklessly disregard."                                                                                      
MR.  RUARO said  the definition  of reckless  conduct was  in the                                                               
statutes. The  jury would be  given an instruction and  told they                                                               
would have to  find beyond a reasonable doubt  that the defendant                                                               
acted with that mental state in committing the crime.                                                                           
9:54:16 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BEN   LOGAN,  staff  to   Representative  Stoltz   read  the                                                               
definition  for "recklessly  disregard"  under  AS 11.81.900  (a)                                                               
CHAIR SEEKINS  noted there was  no one slated to  testify against                                                               
HB 132. He closed public testimony.                                                                                             
SENATOR  GUESS suggested  the committee  look at  the intent  and                                                               
findings  section. She  noted Senator  Therriault would  normally                                                               
strike the intent and findings  section when not needed for legal                                                               
CHAIR SEEKINS agreed.                                                                                                           
MR. RUARO admitted the intent  and findings language in Section 1                                                               
was not a  critical part of HB 132. However  the courts in Alaska                                                               
do look  at intent and  findings. In  this case the  findings are                                                               
short and the  judge looking back would see  what legislature was                                                               
concerned with.                                                                                                                 
SENATOR FRENCH said the people  reviewing HB 132 would understand                                                               
the  Legislature's intent  is to  penalize more  severely because                                                               
elderly   victims  suffer   disproportionately   to  the   normal                                                               
SENATOR GUESS moved Amendment 1.                                                                                                
     Strike Section 1.                                                                                                          
Hearing no objections, the motion carried.                                                                                      
9:59:53 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGGINS  moved SCS  CSHB  132(JUD)  from committee  with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  attached  fiscal note(s).  There                                                               
being no objection, the motion carried.                                                                                         

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