Legislature(2013 - 2014)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/03/2014 01:30 PM JUDICIARY

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         SB 108-LIMIT PUBLIC ACCESS TO CRIMINAL RECORDS                                                                     
1:39:12 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL  announced that the  first order of  business would                                                               
be SB  108."An Act  relating to  the confidentiality  of certain                                                               
records of criminal cases; and providing for an effective date."                                                                
SENATOR DYSON related that he  had hoped the committee substitute                                                               
(CS)  would be  ready.  He  said Mr.  Kopp  would  report on  the                                                               
progress of the CS thus far.                                                                                                    
CHUCK KOPP, Staff, Senator Fred  Dyson, Alaska State Legislature,                                                               
Juneau, Alaska, presented the proposed changes to SB 108.                                                                       
   1. Consider language to treat as confidential the records of                                                                 
     criminal cases disposed of before  the effective date of the                                                               
     Act by acquittal  of all charges, dismissal  of all charges,                                                               
     or  a  combination  thereof,  and   applying  to  those  who                                                               
     appeared on CourtView.                                                                                                     
   2. Extend the time limit for a record to become confidential                                                                 
     from 90  days from  the date of  acquittal, dismissal,  or a                                                               
     combination thereof, to 120 days.  This is at the request of                                                               
     the Department  of Law (DOL)  in order to match  the 120-day                                                               
   3. Change the effective date of the Act from July 1, 2014 to                                                                 
     October 1, 2014 to give the court more time to comply.                                                                     
   4. Designate as confidential only those cases that were                                                                      
     dismissed by the prosecuting authority,  not by the court in                                                               
     the furtherance of  justice, or for other  reasons. He noted                                                               
     that  DOL  requested  this  change,   but  it's  yet  to  be                                                               
     resolved.  He requested  Ms. Meade  discuss  that issue  and                                                               
     whether or  not there  can be  a confidential  carve-out for                                                               
     state   agencies  on   the   database   that  is   otherwise                                                               
     confidential to the public.                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL announced the arrival of Senator McGuire.                                                                         
NANCY MEADE, General Counsel,  Administrative Staff, Alaska Court                                                               
System,  Anchorage,  Alaska,  noted  that  the  Court  System  is                                                               
neutral on the bill. She responded  to a request to address other                                                               
reasons for dismissal, aside from  dismissals by the prosecution.                                                               
She began by  describing reasons a court will  dismiss a criminal                                                               
case. She  said it is not  the case that the  court dismisses old                                                               
criminal  cases, except  if there  is a  violation in  the speedy                                                               
trial  rule. The  court does  dismiss some  criminal actions  for                                                               
reasons  that are  listed in  Rule of  Criminal Procedure  43, in                                                               
furtherance of  justice, mistaken identity, or  if probable cause                                                               
is  not found  under Criminal  Rule 5.1.  Those reasons  would be                                                               
discussed with the  prosecutor and be known by  the parties. When                                                               
cases  are  dismissed,  the  court   signs  an  order  making  it                                                               
official.  It  would  be  confusing if  cases  dismissed  by  the                                                               
prosecution were treated differently  than those dismissed by the                                                               
MS. MEADE  addressed whether  a state agency,  such as  DHSS, can                                                               
have access  to confidential files  on CourtView.  She understood                                                               
that the request is for public  safety reasons. She said there is                                                               
not currently a means for doing  so. There is a public version of                                                               
CourtView and an  internal court version. She did not  know if it                                                               
was possible  to allow  access to the  internal system.  It would                                                               
take a  vast change and would  have a cost. She  pointed out that                                                               
there is  a way that  prosecutors access confidential cases  - by                                                               
being  cleared  through  the  Alaska  Public  Safety  Information                                                               
Network (APSIN.)                                                                                                                
1:45:22 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL  advised that  those issues will  be dealt  with in                                                               
the next CS.                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked how hung  juries and moving violations                                                               
are treated in the bill.                                                                                                        
MS.  MEADE explained  that minor  traffic offenses  would not  be                                                               
covered   because  the   bill  addresses   criminal  cases.   She                                                               
understood that hung  juries have 120 days to be  retried, and if                                                               
the case is  retried and it is  again a hung jury,  the person is                                                               
not  found guilty.  That  situation would  be  covered under  the                                                               
CHAIR COGHILL  said it is a  balance between the right  of people                                                               
to know for  public safety reasons and the right  of people to be                                                               
protected from a bad reputation.                                                                                                
1:46:55 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MCGUIRE  asked how the  bill could be changed  to address                                                               
the  case   where  a   person  was   arrested  on   suspicion  of                                                               
SENATOR DYSON said that discussion would be held later.                                                                         
CHAIR COGHILL said SB 108 would be revisited on Wednesday.                                                                      
SENATOR MCGUIRE asked if it would be included in the new CS.                                                                    
SENATOR DYSON said he believes  that Ms. Meade addressed what was                                                               
contained in the CS so far.                                                                                                     
SENATOR  MCGUIRE  said she  understood  that  the topic  was  not                                                               
covered  in the  CS  for  SB 108,  which  allows  for arrest  and                                                               
charging documents, but  only if they have had a  dismissal or an                                                               
acquittal.  In the  case she  was  concerned with,  there was  no                                                               
charge but the arrest remains on record.                                                                                        
CHAIR COGHILL noted there was  a lengthy discussion on this topic                                                               
at the last committee meeting.                                                                                                  
MR. KOPP pointed out that  the court is addressing that situation                                                               
currently, so that  charges that are not filed  by the prosecutor                                                               
will be addressed. Therefore, it is not in the bill.                                                                            
CHAIR COGHILL held SB 108 in committee.                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Legislative Legal Opinion.pdf SJUD 3/3/2014 1:30:00 PM
SB 176
Sectional Analysis.pdf SJUD 3/3/2014 1:30:00 PM
SB 176
Written Testimony .zip SJUD 3/3/2014 1:30:00 PM
SB 176
Supporting Documents.zip SJUD 3/3/2014 1:30:00 PM
SB 176
Sponsor Statement.pdf SJUD 3/3/2014 1:30:00 PM
SB 176
SB 128 CS Version O Summary of Changes.pdf SJUD 3/3/2014 1:30:00 PM
SB 128