Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205
01/24/2006 08:30 AM JUDICIARY
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* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 200-USE OF FORCE TO PROTECT SELF/HOME CHAIR RALPH SEEKINS announced SB 200 to be up for consideration and asked Senator Therriault to offer a summary. 9:43:29 AM SENATOR GENE THERRIAULT, sponsor, explained since the previous hearing the Department of Law (DOL) has asked whether the committee would consider a complete re-write of the particular section in statute. He forwarded the bill to the legislative legal drafters and asked for a review. He asked for a member of his staff, along with a representative from the DOL for an update on the changes. 9:45:53 AM MR. DAVE STANCLIFF, staff to Senator Therriault, and Mr. Dean Guaneli, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, Department of Law, introduced themselves for the record. MR. GUANELI explained the DOL is attempting to make the self- defense laws more understandable to the public. He referred to the draft document submitted to the committee and explained page 1 and 2 are a cleaned up version of the existing statutes. The rest of the document lists all of the necessary amendments in legislative format. The DOL has cleaned up the language so that it is more understandable. 9:51:39 AM For example, Section 11.81.335 is the provision for use of deadly force in defense of self or others. The DOL retained the existing requirement except as provided in subsection (b). A person is authorized to use deadly force if it is necessary to defend against death, physical injury, kidnapping, sexual assault in the first and second degree, sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree, or robbery in any degree. Deadly force is permissible unless the following four exceptions apply: · Acting to further a felony criminal objective · Involved in a felony drug transaction · Gang activity establishing control over a geographic area · Using an illegal firearm 9:58:07 AM MR. GUANELI continued deadly force could be used unless the person knows that, with complete personal safety and with complete safety of others they could avoid deadly force by leaving the area of the encounter unless it is an area that person owns or is residing. The DOL would propose to broaden that to add areas such as a hotel room or a scenario of being a guest of the owner. The word "premises" as defined in Alaska criminal law includes vehicles adapted for overnight accommodations. Exception 2 [under AS 11.81.335 (b)] says a person would not be required to leave if they were in the course of their employment and exception 3 would be when protecting a child or family member. The differences between the DOL draft and SB 200 is in the provision just explained. However, the DOL draft would ensure for a tighter, more meaningful self-defense law. 10:03:44 AM MR. GUANELI continued AS 11.81.340 is current law and is sometimes overlooked. It says if a third party is lawfully defending themselves, someone else would have the right to come to that person's aid. 10:04:38 AM The DOL draft would add some language to AS 11.81.350 by engrafting the car-jacking provision. Subsection (e) would clarify that persons acting under the provision do not have a duty to retreat. 10:08:07 AM SENATOR GRETCHEN GUESS asked Mr. Guaneli whether the DOL was making a recommendation on Section 1 of SB 200 regarding immunity. MR. GUANELI said the DOL had no problem with it. SENATOR GUESS referred to AS 11.81.335(a)(2) and noted that gangs move around. She asked whether the police are able to delineate gang turf in Alaska. MR. GUANELI admitted it was difficult to define a gang under law and difficult to identify turf. 10:11:37 AM SENATOR GUESS noted that Alaska has a statutory definition for "gang." MR. GUANELI added there is also a definition for "street gang", which is defined as a group of people that are identified by common clothing, or hand signals, or tattoos, and have engaged in a certain number of criminal offenses over the past three years. SENATOR GUESS referred to AS 11.81.350(e) of the DOL draft and asked whether a person would be justified in shooting someone stealing their car. MR. GUANELI said only to the extent it is reasonably necessary to terminate theft of the motor vehicle when another person other than the offender is inside the vehicle. 10:16:14 AM MR. STANCLIFF said another thing to consider is the definition of "motor vehicle." Some people believe that boats and airplanes should be included. SENATOR THERRIAULT wanted to ensure the neighborhood watch was exempt from any territorial issues, as that is something where citizens patrol. MR. GUANELI observed that neighborhood watches, while attempting to provide security are not trying to establish control over a neighborhood. SENATOR THERRIAULT asked whether a felon could use a gun that he knows is stored in the house in order to protect himself from a home break-in. MR. GUANELI said under state law, a non-violent felon may still possess a gun but under federal law, they cannot. That scenario would be a policy call. Technically under federal law the felon would be in violation. SENATOR THERRIAULT noted a felon who was a guest in a house should be allowed to render assistance to the family if they were being victims of a crime. 10:21:12 AM SENATOR FRENCH encouraged the sponsor to use careful wording on the drafting of the bill in relation to the car theft issue. He said it should be worded so that it could not become legal to kill car thieves simply for stealing a vehicle. 10:22:19 AM MR. GUANELI agreed there was ambiguity in the draft that should be cleared up. 10:23:06 AM CHAIR SEEKINS asked Senator Therriault to bring a committee substitute (CS) to the next hearing. 10:23:27 AM SENATOR THERRIAULT replied that was his intention. 10:23:50 AM CHAIR SEEKINS held SB 200 in committee.