Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/15/1996 01:45 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                              
                         April 15, 1996                                        
                           1:45 p.m.                                           
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
 Representative Brian Porter, Chairman                                         
 Representative Joe Green, Vice Chairman                                       
 Representative Con Bunde                                                      
 Representative Bettye Davis                                                   
 Representative Al Vezey                                                       
 Representative Cynthia Toohey                                                 
 Representative David Finkelstein                                              
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                
 All members present                                                           
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
 "An Act providing for an advisory vote on the issue of capital                
      - HEARD AND HELD                                                         
 HOUSE BILL 481                                                                
 "An Act authorizing capital punishment, classifying murder in the             
 first degree as a capital felony, and allowing the imposition of              
 the death penalty when certain of those murders are committed                 
 against children; establishing sentencing procedures for capital              
 felonies; and amending Rules 32, 32.1, and 32.3, Alaska Rules of              
 Criminal Procedure, and Rules 204, 209, 210, and 212,                         
 Alaska Rules of Appellate Procedure."                                         
      - HEARD AND HELD                                                         
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
 BILL:  SB  52                                                               
 BILL VERSION: CSSSSB 52(JUD)                                                  
 SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) TAYLOR,Pearce; REPRESENTATIVE(S) Rokeberg              
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG             ACTION                                        
 01/25/95        83    (S)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/25/95        83    (S)   JUD, FIN                                          
 02/09/95       222    (S)   SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE INTRODUCED-REFERRALS           
 02/09/95       222    (S)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/09/95       222    (S)   JUD, FIN                                          
 02/07/96              (S)   JUD AT  1:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211                    
 02/07/96              (S)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 03/06/96              (S)   JUD AT  1:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211                    
 03/06/96              (S)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 03/12/96      2706    (S)   JUD RPT  CS  3DP 1DNP     NEW TITLE               
 03/12/96      2707    (S)   FISCAL NOTE TO SB & CS (GOV)                      
 03/26/96              (S)   FIN AT  9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                
 03/28/96      2939    (S)   FIN RPT  4DP 2NR  (JUD) CS                        
 03/28/96      2939    (S)   ZERO FNS (DPS, COURT)                             
 03/28/96      2939    (S)   PREVIOUS FN (GOV)                                 
 03/29/96              (S)   RLS AT 12:05 PM FAHRENKAMP RM 203                 
 04/09/96      3092    (S)   RULES RPT  3CAL 2NR   4/9/96                      
 04/09/96      3093    (S)   READ THE SECOND TIME                              
 04/09/96      3093    (S)   JUD  CS ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT                      
 04/09/96      3093    (S)   ADVANCE TO THIRD READING FLD Y11 N5 E4            
 04/09/96      3094    (S)   THIRD READING 4/10 CALENDAR                       
 04/10/96      3123    (S)   READ THE THIRD TIME  CSSSSB 52(JUD)               
 04/10/96      3124    (S)   MOTION TO RETURN TO 2ND RDG FOR AM 1              
 04/10/96      3124    (S)   RETURN TO SECOND FOR AM 1  Y14 N6                 
 04/10/96      3124    (S)   AM NO  1     FAILED  Y9 N11                       
 04/10/96      3125    (S)   AUTOMATICALLY IN THIRD READING                    
 04/10/96      3126    (S)   PASSED Y12 N8                                     
 04/10/96      3126    (S)   DUNCAN  NOTICE OF RECONSIDERATION                 
 04/11/96      3175    (S)   TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                
 04/12/96      3689    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 04/12/96      3689    (H)   JUDICIARY, FINANCE                                
 04/15/96              (H)   JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                        
 04/15/96      3784    (H)   CROSS SPONSOR(S): ROKEBERG                        
 BILL:  HB 481                                                               
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MASEK,Kohring,Ogan                              
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG             ACTION                                        
 02/09/96      2686    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/09/96      2686    (H)   STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY                          
 02/29/96      2972    (H)   STA REFERRAL WAIVED                               
 02/29/96      2972    (H)   REFERRED TO JUDICIARY                             
 04/15/96              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
 RACHEL KING, Director                                                         
 Alaskans Against the Death Penalty                                            
 1014 West 16th Ave., Number 1                                                 
 Anchorage, Alaska  99501                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 276-3489                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified against SB 52 and HB 481                       
 SENATOR ROBIN TAYLOR                                                          
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 Capitol Building, Room 30                                                     
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3873                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as sponsor to SB 52                            
 REPRESENTATIVE BEVERLY MASEK                                                  
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 Capitol Building, Room 418                                                    
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-2679                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as sponsor to HB 481                           
 LISA RIEGER, Faculty                                                          
 Justice Program                                                               
 University of Alaska                                                          
 2350 Captain Cook Drive                                                       
 Anchorage, Alaska 99517                                                       
 Telephone:  (907) 248-5472                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified against SB 52 and HB 481                       
 APRIL FERGUSON                                                                
 Self-government Instructor                                                    
 Kawerak, Inc.                                                                 
 P.O. Box 948                                                                  
 Nome, Alaska  99762                                                           
 Telephone:  (907) 443-4340                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified against SB 52 and HB 481                       
 AMY COFFMAN                                                                   
 Amnesty International                                                         
 P.O. Box 80280                                                                
 College, Alaska  99708                                                        
 Telephone:  (907) 457-4426                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified against SB 52 and HB 481                       
 STEVE WILLIAMS                                                                
 P.O. Box 6379                                                                 
 Ketchikan, Alaska  99901                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 225-1573                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified against SB 52                                  
 JEFF GRAHAM                                                                   
 P.O. Box 1725                                                                 
 Soldotna, Alaska  99669                                                       
 Telephone:  (907) 283-3793                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified against SB 52 and HB 481                       
 ANNE CARPENETI, Assistant Attorney General                                    
 Criminal Division                                                             
 Department of Law                                                             
 P.O. Box 110300                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99811-0300                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-4043                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified against SB 52 and HB 481                       
 JOE AUSTIN, Retired Police Officer                                            
 Anchorage Police Department                                                   
 5201 Secluded Circle                                                          
 Anchorage, Alaska  99516                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 345-3806                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified against SB 52                                  
 MARGARET THOMAS                                                               
 P.O. Box 865                                                                  
 Nome, Alaska  99762                                                           
 Telephone:  (907) 43-2951                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 52                                       
 CHRIS HAIGH                                                                   
 280 East Birch Hill Road                                                      
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99712                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 457-7834                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 52                                       
 CHARLES CAMPBELL                                                              
 Former Director of Corrections                                                
 3020 Douglas Highway                                                          
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 586-5793                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 52                                       
 AVERIL LERMAN                                                                 
 14020 Venus Way                                                               
 Anchorage, Alaska  99515                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 345-8586                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 52                                       
 SYBIL SKELTON                                                                 
 15 Eleanor Street                                                             
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99701                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 479-9837                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 52                                       
 JIM SYKES                                                                     
 P.O. Box 1                                                                    
 Anchorage, Alaska  99524                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 278-7436                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 52                                       
 BRANT MCGEE                                                                   
 Office of Public Advocacy                                                     
 900 West 5th                                                                  
 Anchorage, Alaska  99501                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 274-1684                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 52 & HB 481                              
 SUZI GREGG FOWLER                                                             
 603 West 12th Street                                                          
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 586-3279                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 52 & HB 481                              
 MARY GEDDES                                                                   
 2610 West 27th Avenue                                                         
 Anchorage, Alaska  99517                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 248-3610                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 52 & HB 481                              
 CHARLES ROHRBACHER, Member                                                    
 Amnesty International                                                         
 Troy Avenue                                                                   
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 586-9774                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 52                                       
 MICHEAL LEMAY                                                                 
 5800 Glenn Highway, Number 110                                                
 Anchorage, Alaska  99504                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 338-4109                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 52 & HB 481                              
 GEORGE PARTLOW                                                                
 P.O. Box 240557                                                               
 Douglas, Alaska  99824                                                        
 Telephone:  (907) 364-3309                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 52 and HB 481                            
 SUSAN ORLANSKY                                                                
 2708 West 64 Avenue                                                           
 Anchorage, Alaska  99502                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 248-1141                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 52 and HB 481                            
 AMY PAIGE                                                                     
 592 Seatter Street                                                            
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 586-4409                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 52 and HB 481                            
 ANNE WILKAS, Assistant Public Defender                                        
 900 West 5th Avenue, Number 200                                               
 Anchorage, Alaska  99501                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 264-4400                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 52 and HB 481                            
 ROBERT WOLFE                                                                  
 201 Behrends Avenue                                                           
 Juneau, Alaska   99801                                                        
 Telephone:  (907) 586-2864                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 52 and HB 481                            
 LYNN SIMLER, Executive Director                                               
 P.O. Box 102844                                                               
 Anchorage, Alaska  99520                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 258-0044                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 52                                       
 DOUG MERTZ                                                                    
 319 Seward Street                                                             
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 586-4004                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 52                                       
 CAROL GRAY                                                                    
 Address and telephone number not provided                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 52 and HB 481                            
 BARBARA BRINK, Deputy Director                                                
 Alaska Public Defender Agency                                                 
 900 West 5th Avenue                                                           
 Anchorage, Alaska 99501                                                       
 Telephone:  (907) 264-4400                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 52 and HB 481                            
 JERRY SHRINER, Deputy Commissioner                                            
 Department of Corrections                                                     
 240 Main Street, Suite 700                                                    
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 465-4640                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 52 and HB 481                            
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
 TAPE 96-52, SIDE A                                                            
 CHAIRMAN BRIAN PORTER called the House Judiciary committee meeting            
 to order at 1:45 p.m.  Members present at the call to order were              
 Representatives Green, Bunde, Toohey and Vezey.  Representatives              
 Davis and Finkelstein arrived at their respective times; 1:50 p.m.            
 and 1:46 p.m.  Representative Green left the meeting at 2:00 and              
 never returned.                                                               
 SB  52 - ADVISORY VOTE ON CAPITAL PUNISHMENT                                 
 HB 481 - CAPITAL PUNISHMENT FOR CHILD MURDER                                  
 CHAIRMAN PORTER suggested that the pending testimony be taken in              
 combination to the legislation scheduled for hearing since the                
 subject matters are interconnected.                                           
 Number 312                                                                    
 RACHEL KING, Director, Alaskans Against the Death Penalty,                    
 testified on SB 52 and HB 481.  Ms. King offered that the committee           
 was probably already aware of the problems in the other states with           
 the death penalty provisions, such as racial bias, the additional             
 costs, the lack of deterrent value, and the fact that innocent                
 people are being executed.  She stated that she wouldn't                      
 concentrate on HB 481, but on SB 52.                                          
 MS. KING  stated that there have been polls conducted in Alaska and           
 she would concede that if this question was posed to the voters               
 next November, the majority of Alaskans would in fact support                 
 capital punishment.  She believes this is because Alaska has not              
 heard any informed debate about this issue.  Alaska has not a death           
 penalty in this state for almost 40 years.  There is no reason why            
 Alaskans would be familiar with problems of the death penalty.  In            
 fact, many Alaskans are unfamiliar with the criminal justice system           
 in general.                                                                   
 MS. KING referred to a nationwide, bi-partisan poll conducted about           
 three years ago which showed that most Americans support the death            
 penalty for two reasons, fear and cost.  They believe that most               
 people convicted of murder serve less than seven years in jail and            
 they believe that the death penalty will save them money.  This is            
 why they support the death penalty.  Based on this poll, Alaskans             
 against the Death Penalty commissioned a poll of their own, the               
 results of which she referred to on poster board for the                      
 committee's review.                                                           
 MS. KING said that as part of this poll they asked participants the           
 question that if a person is convicted in Alaska for first degree             
 murder and sentenced to life, how long did they think that the                
 convicted person would serve in jail before paroled and released              
 back into society.  37 percent said between 1 and 9 years, 23                 
 percent said between 10 and 14, 18 percent said between 15 and 20             
 and on down the line.  Only 1 percent of Alaskans knew the correct            
 answer which was 51 years or more.  The fact is, the average                  
 sentence for all first degree murders in Alaska is between 80 and             
 90 years.  In the type of case which would be a death eligible                
 case, the typical sentence is 99 years without parole.  If it is a            
 multiple homicide, then the sentence would be multiple 99 year                
 MS. KING continued that 78 percent of Alaskans believe that people            
 sentenced to murder in the first degree get less than 20 years in             
 jail.  In fact, this is a legal impossibility.  20 years is the               
 mandatory minimum.  Alaskans believe that people are serving                  
 lenient sentences and they believe they need a death penalty to               
 make them safe.                                                               
 MS. KING added that the second question asked was, which did they             
 believe cost more, the death penalty or life in prison without                
 parole.  Again, 74 percent said life in prison cost more, 21                  
 percent said the death penalty and 5 percent said they were unsure.           
 Every state that has studied this issue has found that they are               
 spending between two and six times more money on the death penalty            
 than on life in prison.  She gave the committee a copy of a report            
 entitled, "Millions Misspent," which substantiates all of the                 
 figures which she outlined.                                                   
 MS. KING stated that if they take this issue to the voters next               
 fall, the voters will think they will be saving money and that they           
 will be protecting themselves.  In fact, they are already protected           
 from dangerous criminals and they will be spending a lot more money           
 by voting for the death penalty.  This money could be spend towards           
 other crime prevention programs.  She asked the committee to vote             
 against SB 52 and to issue a press release explaining to the public           
 why the death penalty is a bad idea and why the advisory ballot is            
 a bad idea.                                                                   
 MS. KING summed up her comments by noting that there has been many            
 times in the history of the United States where laws were later               
 proved to be unjust, yet enjoyed a majority opinion such as,                  
 slavery, Jim Crow laws, no voting rights for women, etc.  These are           
 all examples of law that if a popular poll was taken at that time             
 the majority opinion would have been in support of these laws.                
 Over time, we learn that these laws are unfair and unjust.  She               
 submitted to the committee that this is what's happening with the             
 death penalty worldwide.  Countries are moving away from the death            
 penalty, even South Africa abolished the death penalty last year.             
 39 years ago Alaska had the foresight as a territory to abolish the           
 death penalty.                                                                
 MS. KING stated that she is staying with an individual named Burke            
 Riley who was one of the original territorial legislators who voted           
 for abolition of the death penalty back in 1957, and she asked him            
 why he voted against it.  His response was that it was inhumane and           
 unfair and we all realized that.  Alaska realized this 40 years ago           
 and she asked the committee not to repeat this same dark history              
 that Alaska has already visited.                                              
 Number 657                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE asked Ms. King about an ad campaign on               
 television against the death penalty and wondered if they would               
 continue with this campaign if this bill were to pass.                        
 MS. KING responded that this ad campaign was sponsored by Amnesty             
 International and she referred to a booklet provided to the                   
 committee which contains most of these ads.  This was National                
 Amnesty which gave a grant.  Ms. King's organization has a very               
 small budget, she stated that she's practically a volunteer                   
 although she is the Executive Director and they don't have a lot of           
 resources.  Yes, she said they would continue to run ads such as              
 this although she's not convinced they would have enough money to             
 thoroughly educate the public anyhow.                                         
 Number 743                                                                    
 SENATOR ROBIN TAYLOR came forward as sponsor to SB 52.  He noted              
 that this bill was a simple one and provided for an advisory ballot           
 question, yes or no, on whether or not to re-institute capital                
 punishment in the state of Alaska.  He believed that the question             
 is not so simplistic that people will be confused by or that they             
 will disregard or not take into consideration other options.  One             
 of the other options is that Alaska has very lengthy sentencing               
 available.  He noted that it's not uncommon to read about someone             
 in the press who has received a 99 year sentence.  "As a                      
 consequence, the argument is made that because of the emotionalism            
 or some desire of vengeance on the part of the public that that               
 would carry the day over and beyond the contemplation of what                 
 existing sentencing structures truly relate to as far as the amount           
 of time people actually are serving and I was concerned about that            
 argument when it was raised and with no prompting I might add from            
 my office, I didn't know he was doing it."  Mr. Dittman, of Dittman           
 Reach Corporation of Alaska ran a poll of 555 Alaskans where that             
 very question was asked and the results of the poll were that 62              
 percent of the public still favors the death penalty over the                 
 possibility of a sentence where a person would receive life without           
 the benefit of parole.  He noted that this was a death sentence no            
 matter what it's called.                                                      
 SENATOR TAYLOR stated that when asked, the people voted 2 to 1 in             
 favor of reinstituting the death penalty.  Thirty-three percent               
 favored life without parole and 62 percent favored the death                  
 penalty, 5 percent were unsure.  He cited that this was an                    
 interesting number.  Statistically whenever they take polls in                
 Alaska and there is a number as low as 5 percent in the unsure                
 category, this is a very small amount.  This is a low number and it           
 indicated to him that the public has thought about this quite a               
 bit, enough that they have made up their mind.                                
 Number 949                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY said she is a strong believer in the            
 death penalty, but what she's not a strong believer in the $5 to $7           
 million per appeal these people are allowed.  She understood that             
 there was some legislation being considered in Congress to limit              
 this appeal process.  She asked how close they were to this and she           
 thought that this issue would sway the committee to vote for or               
 against this legislation.                                                     
 SENATOR TAYLOR felt as though there was legislation on the federal            
 front and he thought that whatever state legislation to come out of           
 this proposed initiative would begin the debate of what they could            
 do as a state procedurally.  Once they get to this point there are            
 several things which they can do on a state level which would not             
 violate the constitutional rights which can limit the number and              
 types of appeals.  He knew the federal government was working very            
 hard on this.  He noted that they've already limited habeas corpus            
 appeals and pleas significantly, not that he would want to see                
 anyone's opportunity for a fair hearing cut off, but implied with             
 Representative Toohey's question is a fact of life everyone has               
 become very frustrated with the fact that it takes 8 to 12 years              
 before these people are sentenced even before the appeal process              
 has been concluded.  He thought that this was an inordinately long            
 period.  Justice delayed is justice denied and it's a very                    
 expensive process.                                                            
 SENATOR TAYLOR added that the cost of the death penalty case may be           
 high, but no one ever takes into consideration the number of cases            
 which plead out because their only other option is to go through a            
 trial where they might risk a death penalty sentence.  In fact, the           
 young people who killed the German tourists in Florida, one of them           
 plead out to get a 44 year sentence without benefit of parole,                
 because he plead guilty to felony murder.  Had he not done so, this           
 trial would probably have cost a million dollars since he could               
 have been sentenced to death.                                                 
 Number 1116                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVID FINKELSTEIN asked what was the reason behind             
 not making a decision on this issue in the legislature.                       
 SENATOR TAYLOR responded that to be perfectly candid, he felt as              
 though there was enough resistance in the legislature right now and           
 there existed narrow enough philosophical groups that it would be             
 difficult to pass it.  "The main reason I believe that we need to             
 probably turn to the public one more time is to see if we can bring           
 back to these halls people more representative of the public's                
 philosophy on that question or at least people who will come down             
 here and say yes, 75 percent of my constituents said they want                
 this, I'm personally opposed to it, but I will make my own choice,            
 as we all have to.  At this point they can say 'well I don't think            
 that many people support it,' or they'll say, 'it's a bad                     
 question,' the question isn't being phrased right or whatever."               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN offered that they might say, "it's not             
 a good idea."                                                                 
 SENATOR TAYLOR said certainly and that he didn't denigrate these              
 reasons.  He thought some of them were good reasons to oppose it.             
 He stated that it made him feel good when these executions occur              
 and there are a groups of people standing in the cold and the rain.           
 It made him feel good that there is some human compassion and                 
 concern about these individuals.                                              
 Number 949                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE referred to other referendums initiated by the           
 legislature and wondered if this initiative went one way or the               
 other, would it be binding on the legislature as to whether or not            
 they choose to act.                                                           
 SENATOR TAYLOR responded that this was absolutely correct.  "I                
 think that there does come a time when it becomes more difficult or           
 maybe you become a bit more accountable to the public regarding               
 their desires on various issues."  He noted that the state of                 
 California, through their Supreme Court threw out their death                 
 penalty and then offered that the state of California at the next             
 election threw out their Supreme Court.  These things can have                
 Number 1271                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BEVERLY MASEK testified as sponsor to HB 481.  She             
 introduced HB 481 to save the lives of children.  Under the current           
 system of justice when a sexual predator strikes they have no                 
 incentive to preserve their young victim's life.  This legislation            
 is to serve as notice to any predator who would consider murdering            
 their victim for any reason and an indicator that they may be                 
 forfeiting their own life in the process.  She wanted to keep this            
 bill narrow and aimed at saving children's lives.  By giving the              
 death penalty as an option, she pointed out that it was not an                
 mandatory measure.  The jury has the option to impose the death               
 penalty.  This would require a majority vote from a jury.  If one             
 person opposes the death penalty, the capital punishment provision            
 would not be imposed.                                                         
 REPRESENTATIVE MASEK continued by stating that she hoped this bill            
 would save some lives which otherwise might be lost by sexual                 
 predators.  She referred to a newspaper article disseminated to the           
 committee about a man who claimed he molested 200 children.  In               
 some of his letters to the victims parents he said he was doomed to           
 repeat his crimes and kill the victims in order that they wouldn't            
 be able to identify him.  HB 481 would send a message to these                
 predators that their behavior will not be tolerated.  She stated              
 that this was a sensitive issue, but when it came to saving                   
 children they must do all that they can.  Alaska has one of the               
 highest rates of child abuse and there is no reason why children              
 have to suffer from these serious offenses.                                   
 Number 1537                                                                   
 LISA RIEGER, Justice Program, University of Alaska testified by               
 teleconference from Anchorage on SB 52 and HB 481.  She stated that           
 she has two young children, one of them is almost three.  Ms.                 
 Rieger offered that she opposes both these bills.  In regard to the           
 advisory bill she responded to a few of Senator Taylor comments.              
 First, the cost factor, the expense of the appeals that are                   
 available to people convicted with the death penalty are not                  
 necessarily where the costs start to accrue.  She used the example            
 of the O.J. Simpson trial and the expense of it before any appeal             
 was filed.                                                                    
 MS. RIEGER stated that she used to practice law in California and             
 was involved with death penalty litigation.  One case she noted in            
 particular took seven months of court time.  There were two                   
 separate juries impaneled, each of which used 180 citizens in order           
 to obtain a jury pool.  This case went to trial four years after              
 the initial offense.  There were two attorneys on each side, all of           
 whom were paid by the state.  It consumed seven months of court               
 time with court personnel and juries.                                         
 MS. RIEGER also referred to a comment made by the Senator to use              
 the death penalty as a negotiating tool, which is a disingenuous              
 use of prosecution, to use the death penalty so people will plead             
 guilty in order to avoid trial.   The third point she wanted to               
 make when in California practicing law, the California Supreme                
 Court did not throw out the death penalty.  It carefully assessed             
 cases that came through of people who were convicted of the death             
 penalty, but there were many convictions which were upheld by the             
 court.  In regards to HB 481, the deterrent of death for                      
 perpetrators not to kill their victims has been demonstrated over             
 and over again to have absolutely no validity in dissuading people.           
 Number 1713                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN noted their discussion earlier about               
 these lengthy procedures and he assumed that they were all                    
 constitutionally based.  If this is the case, he asked if there was           
 anything in Alaska's constitution somehow to reduce these                     
 procedures on due process, that's different than California's                 
 MR. RIEGER responded that she didn't think so.  Alaska's                      
 constitution is even stronger than California's in regards to                 
 (indisc. - coughing.)                                                         
 Number 1747                                                                   
 APRIL FERGUSON, Self-government Instructor, Kawerak, Inc. testified           
 by teleconference from Nome on SB 52 and HB 481.  Kawerak is a                
 consortium of 20 tribes in the Bering Straights region.  She was in           
 attendance to this meeting at the request of the president to read            
 a resolution in opposition to the reinstatement of the death                  
 penalty in Alaska into the record.                                            
 WHEREAS Kawarak, Inc. is concerned with the equitable treatment of            
 Alaska Natives within the criminal justice system; and                        
 WHEREAS Alaska Natives account for only 13.5 percent of the state's           
 prison-age population, yet 32 percent of the jail population is               
 comprised of Alaska Natives; and                                              
 WHEREAS there is significant evidence of racial bias toward                   
 economically disadvantaged members of ethnic minorities in                    
 administration of the death penalty in other jurisdictions; and               
 WHEREAS there is substantial concern among the Native community and           
 no evidence to the contrary that in all likelihood the Alaska                 
 system of criminal jurisprudence is not capable of avoiding racial            
 bias in the trial process; and                                                
 WHEREAS the majority of Alaska Natives and people residing in rural           
 areas of the state do not have the means to acquire adequate legal            
 defense counsel when charged with serious crimes; and                         
 WHEREAS establishing a death penalty law and implementing it will             
 cost millions of dollars and thereby deprive Alaska Natives and               
 their communities of critical resources for service programs that             
 focus on crime prevention; and                                                
 WHEREAS Alaska Native tribes and organizations have historically              
 opposed the death penalty as demonstrated by past actions to defeat           
 federal death penalty legislation;                                            
 NOW THEREFORE LET IT BE RESOLVED that Kawerak, Inc. is opposed to             
 the reinstatement of the death penalty in Alaska; and                         
 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Kawerak, Inc. urges rural and urban               
 legislators alike to oppose any effort to reinstate the death                 
 penalty in Alaska.                                                            
 MS. FERGUSON stated that on a personal note and on her own behalf             
 she suggested that if these bills do manage to be passed, she                 
 suggested that both of them should be amended to require a public             
 broadcast so that this mechanistic, impersonal, bureaucratic taking           
 of a human life does not become a dirty little business behind                
 closed doors.                                                                 
 Number 1853                                                                   
 AMY COFFMAN, Amnesty International testified on SB 52 and HB 481 by           
 teleconference from Fairbanks.  She stated that Amnesty                       
 International opposes the death penalty in all cases and referred             
 to the third amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  Ms. Coffman noted           
 the cost to kill a person far exceeds the cost of keeping a person            
 in prison for the remainder of their life.  The death penalty is              
 racist, sexist and classiest.  No state has seen a drop in crime,             
 while pretending to use the death penalty as a deterrent.  The                
 United States is the only westernized, industrialized nation to use           
 the death penalty, yet it maintains the highest crime rate.                   
 MS. COFFMAN stated that innocent people have and will be murdered             
 at the hands of the government.  She did not understand why after             
 all the facts have been presented and after numerous people have              
 testified against the death penalty, why it is the concept of the             
 death penalty tries to be implemented.  She illustrated that it was           
 a non-effective form of governmental murder, with reprimands                  
 violence with violence and murder with murder.  She questioned                
 putting this issue to the voters and how can the average voter be             
 qualified to decide when they have not been given all the facts               
 behind the death penalty.                                                     
 MS. COFFMAN noted that the U.S. government uses the death penalty             
 as a scapegoat for their crime rate.  She asked for them to give              
 the people programs, not body counts.  Furthermore, on the appeal             
 situation, back in the 1970's the death penalty was determined to             
 be unconstitutional since it didn't allow adequate time and                   
 appropriate appeal systems to appeal cases.                                   
 MS. COFFMAN referred to an individual who came to Alaska from                 
 Arizona to educate a group on the death penalty.  They conducted a            
 survey following this forum and over 75 percent of the people in              
 attendance had different thoughts from the time they walked in, who           
 were for the death penalty, to the time that they left.  Either               
 this talk prompted further thought or their idea of the death                 
 penalty was reversed.                                                         
 Number 1990                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE responded to the statement made about                    
 expecting the general public to make a decision on this issue and             
 he felt that it would be very much like a jury making a decision in           
 trial. It appeared to him that this witness just said that, "if               
 people are educated they will oppose the death penalty."  He                  
 wondered then how she could oppose Senate Bill 52.                            
 MS. COFFMAN stated that she opposed this bill under all                       
 circumstances because she would not want to see the death penalty             
 implemented in the state, but she found from the lecture which they           
 gave is that people don't know all the facts.  The rationale behind           
 declaring that the death penalty was the right way to go was based            
 on the innate idea that revenge is the answer to murder when it's             
 not.  It has not been proven to stop the number of murders which              
 take place and in the U.S. if they put to death every person who              
 committed a murder, they would murder 26,000 people a year.                   
 Number 2048                                                                   
 STEVE WILLIAMS, testified on SB 52 by teleconference from                     
 Ketchikan.  He spoke against SB 52 and said it was the wrong way to           
 create law.  He said that they should leave initiatives to loony              
 states like California.  Secondly, he noted that this issue is very           
 emotional and likened it to the logging issues in their area.  He             
 added that these types of issues need to be resolved through                  
 informed debate.  Thirdly, he offered that the sentence of death is           
 usually unfairly handed down.  A prime example was O.J. Simpson, a            
 rich black man.  The prosecution made the decision not to seek the            
 death penalty in this situation because Mr. Simpson was popular,              
 but Mr. Williams made the argument that if this murder had involved           
 a poor black man, this person would be sitting on death row right             
 MR. WILLIAMS referred to HB 481 and agreed with Representative                
 Masek that sick and perverted individuals are those who prey on               
 children, but the death penalty is not a deterrent.  No one goes              
 into these heinous crimes thinking that they're going to get                  
 Number 2163                                                                   
 JEFF GRAHAM testified against both SB 52 and HB 481 by                        
 teleconference from Kenai.  He stated that he supports democratic             
 processes, but he thought it was possible to misuse these processes           
 as well in regards to SB 52.  By offering a simple vote to the                
 public on a complex issue could be an example of this mis-use.  He            
 thought that when considering the enactment of this death penalty,            
 the alternatives and costs should be investigated first.                      
 Number 2208                                                                   
 ANNE CARPENETI, Criminal Division, Department of Law testified                
 against SB 52 and HB 481.  She stated that the Department of Law              
 opposes both these forms of legislation.  Ms. Carpeneti said that             
 she would list all the reasons against these bills, but not                   
 necessarily in the order of importance.                                       
 MS. CARPENETI initially stated that capital punishment is too                 
 expensive.  The Department of Law's fiscal note reflects this.  At            
 a time when their resources are shrinking it doesn't seem                     
 worthwhile to take this much money and focus on one group of                  
 individuals.  There is evidence to suggest that the death penalty             
 in other states costs from three to six times as much as it is to             
 house someone in prison for the rest of their lives with no                   
 possibility of parole.                                                        
 MS. CARPENETI stated that the second reason that they oppose this             
 legislation is that the death penalty will excuse case law, in                
 addition to the courts which have required them to recognize "super           
 due process," in death cases because they are different, it affects           
 the case law in another way.                                                  
 A lot of issues in a criminal jury trial or a court trial are left            
 to the sound discretion of the trial court judge.  In cases                   
 involving stakes so high as the death penalty, it's human nature,             
 and it's probably good that a trial court judge would bend over               
 backwards to make sure he or she was correct in their ruling which            
 may have an impact on the ultimate result of a case.  These cases             
 get decided and discussed on appeal in appellate decisions and then           
 they come back and are applied to all cases.  She noted that "they            
 have to do something with them" and it makes it harder for them to            
 get convictions in other cases because they have evidentiary                  
 rulings that were made in death penalty cases which probably may              
 not have been the right decision, but they are applied to all cases           
 just the same.                                                                
 MS. CARPENETI noted that thirdly, the criminal justice system is              
 not perfect.  We make mistakes, we have in the past, we will in the           
 future.  Innocent people have been executed and we can probably               
 expect that they will be in the future.  The problem with making a            
 mistake in a capital case cannot be fixed.  The department is also            
 concerned about the discriminatory application of the death                   
 penalty.  In Alaska's history more Native people and non-white                
 people were executed for the very same offenses which white people            
 committed.  Other states are struggling with this discriminatory              
 application of the death penalty.                                             
 MS. CARPENETI thought that the strongest reason to oppose the death           
 penalty, at least for her personally, it that it's wrong.  The                
 United States is a violent society.  Our leaders are trying to make           
 laws to criminalize and eliminate violence from our society.  To              
 have laws which require that a violent end for a violent act are              
 imposed, seems like the wrong message for our leaders to be sending           
 to the people of the state.  Finally, even if they are willing to             
 spend the money that is necessary to impose the death penalty, if             
 they are willing to jeopardize the case law in Alaska, if they are            
 willing to take the risk of discriminatory application of the death           
 penalty, and they are willing to send the message that for murder             
 they will end the life of another person, it comes down to the                
 point of applying capital punishment when it doesn't work.  There             
 is no evidence that capital punishment deters the killing of other            
 people.  In fact, the evidence indicates that at least during the             
 time of an execution, incidences of violence increase.  There is              
 absolutely no indication that it works.  It's for these reasons               
 that the Department of Law opposes the death penalty.                         
 MS. CARPENETI offered that they also oppose the submission of this            
 issue to the voters as well on the basis that capital punishment is           
 a very difficult issue, the underpinnings, the reasons for it, the            
 reasons against it are difficult.  This is where representatives              
 should make reasoned decisions based on the evidence presented in             
 light of this issue.  The voters aren't allowed to discuss or                 
 determine other possibilities.  There is the fear that a yes vote             
 could appear as a mandate to the legislature, when the voters                 
 haven't been given a chance to vote on all the alternatives                   
 available.  In Alaska, they get long sentences for people convicted           
 for murder in the first degree.  The department doesn't see a                 
 reason to impose the death penalty.                                           
 Number 2422                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY said she understood all of Ms. Carpeneti's              
 comments although she doesn't agree with all of them, but pointed             
 out that there was only one fiscal note from the Department of                
 Corrections.  She noted this fiscal note was not very much.  If               
 they are going to educate people about the expense of this                    
 legislation, she needs to have a rational that says no, "this is              
 going to cost $3 million or $5 million or $10 million per person              
 that is given the sentence of death."  She said she needed this               
 information and the public needed this information.  This is where            
 she would vote no on this issue, because she didn't believe they              
 have the money or the resources now or in the future to spend on              
 the appeals associated with this practice.  It was determined that            
 she did not have a Department of Law fiscal note in her packet.               
 TAPE 96-52, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
 MS. CARPENETI answered a question posed by Representative Bunde               
 which was inaudible.  She believed that in light of the 99 years              
 mandatory sentence for murder in the first degree, good time does             
 not apply.  She would double check on this issue and would let                
 Representative Bunde know if this was incorrect.                              
 Number 052                                                                    
 JOE AUSTIN, retired Police Officer, Anchorage Police Department,              
 testified against SB 52 and HB 481 by teleconference from                     
 Anchorage.  He worked homicide for approximately eight years.                 
 During this period he investigated all types of homicides from                
 contract murders, domestic violence murders, and serial murders.              
 He felt as though he was familiar with the psychological make-up of           
 these perpetrators.  He was not testifying to debate the moral                
 issues of this question, but to present testimony from a practical            
 MR. OSTEN stated that during the 80's he testified against the                
 death penalty issue then.  He brought forward the same issues then            
 as he does now.  In the early 80's he was the chief investigator on           
 a contract murder and after successfully convicting the                       
 perpetrators he talked to some of the jurors afterwards.  A                   
 substantial number of them would have voted not guilty if they had            
 been required to decide for the death penalty if it was in place at           
 that time.  Other than the costs associated with the death penalty,           
 it puts a higher burden of proof on the police and prosecution.               
 MR. OSTEN specifically noted the case where Herbie Anthony killed             
 his three year old niece, his nine year old niece and his aunt.               
 Had Mr. Osten been the husband of this family he would probably               
 have wanted to see Anthony murdered himself, but Mr. Anthony is               
 currently serving three 99 year sentences plus some time for sexual           
 assault and kidnapping.  Mr. Anthony will not be eligible for parol           
 until he serves approximately 119 years in prison.  He noted that             
 no one has to worry about Mr. Anthony.                                        
 MR. OSTEN said he'd rather see the money spent on the death penalty           
 used for research into the criminal minds of these murderers and              
 for ways to deter them.  The FBI Behavioral Science Unit does a               
 tremendous job of profiling sexual murderers and such.  Alaska                
 could apply this same technology to finding out what makes these              
 criminals tick.                                                               
 MR. OSTEN noted that he didn't want to take the chance that some of           
 these evil persons could go free under the expectation that they              
 should be put to death under a capital punishment provision.  If              
 someone like this does go free, there is no way to try them again.            
 Number 166                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE observed that Mr. Osten had an interesting               
 point of view.  As Mr. Osten pointed out in the Anthony case, this            
 person was sentenced to death.  He will die in jail.                          
 Representative Bunde asked Mr. Osten if he thought that juries                
 don't mind the death penalty as long as it's a prolonged death.               
 MR. OSTEN answered that he didn't think this was the issue as much            
 as it was the fact that the prosecution and the police will be held           
 to a higher burden of proof.  In the abstract we can say "yes, I'm            
 in favor of the death penalty," but take that same person and put             
 them on a jury where they have to determine whether or not to                 
 execute someone.  He said that if anyone has seen jurors after                
 deliberating on a serious case, it is an emotionally draining                 
 experience.  He didn't want to take a chance of an individual                 
 getting off because participants in a jury are concerned about                
 having to sentence someone to death.                                          
 Number 215                                                                    
 MARGARET THOMAS testified on SB 52 by teleconference from Nome.               
 What struck her initially about this issue was the irony that                 
 witnesses are presently participating in a democratic process by              
 testifying to this capital punishment issue and those of them who             
 oppose the death penalty are asking that this issue not be sent to            
 the vote of the people.  It's also interesting that Senator Taylor            
 stated the reason why the proponents of the death penalty are                 
 trying to get SB 52 through is because they have been unsuccessful            
 through legislative channels in previous years time and again when            
 reasoned debate has taken place, it has been voted down.  She said            
 to educate the voters is completely unrealistic in light of                   
 budgetary constraints, especially since the issue is so complex.              
 Number 320                                                                    
 CHRIS HAIGH testified on SB 52 by teleconference from Fairbanks.              
 Mr. Haigh stated that he's always been proud to be an Alaskan                 
 especially because they don't have the death penalty.  He noted               
 that the justice system is not perfect and they make mistakes, but            
 the death penalty is irrevocable.  He also made the argument that             
 the breadth of information available to the general public is                 
 limited as compared to the legislature.  They won't be able to make           
 informed decisions on this issue.                                             
 CHARLES CAMPBELL, Former Director of Corrections testified on                 
 SB 52.  He became director in 1979 and he's had a variety of other            
 jobs in corrections for the past 45 years.  In regards to SB 52 he            
 stated that the first test of a piece of legislation is whether it            
 serves a useful purpose.  The cost of putting an advisory vote on             
 the ballot is minimal, but he asked why spend five dollars on a               
 proposal which serves no purpose.  There are reliable polls which             
 indicate that 75 to 80 percent of Alaskans approve of the death               
 penalty when the question is put to them when offering no other               
 options.  He stated that they already knew what this vote would be.           
 He also mentioned rival surveys which inform them that the opinions           
 of most folks in Alaska about the death penalty are based on                  
 misinformation and therefore not only would an advisory vote serve            
 no purpose, but it would be unfair and cloud the issue.  In the               
 long run it would most certainly not be in the best interest of the           
 MR. CAMPBELL stated that the question which SB 52 proposes to put             
 to the voters is the kind of question the legislature should                  
 address in a careful, unprejudiced way.  This could be accomplished           
 through the legislative research staffs and unhurried hearings of             
 testimony from citizens, but also people of expertise who can offer           
 guidance as to what reinstitution would mean for Alaska.  What will           
 it costs?  How will the costs of the death penalty with prosecution           
 and execution compare with a sentence of life in prison?  Will they           
 ever be able to defeat the requirements of Greg v. Georgia which            
 provides for the super due process which runs up the costs of                 
 prosecution?  Do Alaska laws and sentencing practices result in               
 first degree murderers being released in just a few years or do               
 they serve much longer?  Would the death penalty result in fewer              
 first degree murders?  This is a crucial question.  Do the                    
 prosecutors in Alaska favor their idea of the death penalty being             
 back on the books?  What do the top law enforcement people feel               
 about the death penalty?  How is law enforcement impacted?                    
 MR. CAMPBELL stated that they knew how the Department of Law and              
 Corrections felt about this issue, but wondered how the past                  
 administration department heads felt about this issue.  He felt it            
 would be a good thing to research this.  What about other states              
 which use the death penalty?  Florida and Texas have executed a lot           
 of people.  Are they happy with the results?  Have the murder rates           
 in those states gone down?  What has the financial impact been?  Do           
 they see any hope in the cost going down or by appeals being                  
 limited?  Canada abolished the death penalty in 1976.  What has               
 happened to the murder rate there?  Alaska abolished the death                
 penalty in 1957.  Has Alaska seen a bad result from this?                     
 MR. CAMPBELL asked about the matter of racial bias and the                    
 incredible unfairness in representation.  He asked about innocent             
 people being executed.  What is really most fair and helpful in the           
 long term of families of murder victims?  Mr. Campbell stated that            
 he didn't understand the rational of putting a ballot question to             
 the voters of Alaska when first of all they know what the results             
 will be and secondly, the average voter doesn't have crucial                  
 information on the information which might well affect their answer           
 to the questions.  He asked again what the purpose of this bill               
 MR. CAMPBELL recommended that SB 52 and HB 481 be laid aside for              
 the time being at least.  He guessed that for an expenditure that             
 would not be greater than the cost of an advisory vote on the                 
 ballot this legislature could put together a comprehensive package            
 of objective, factual information about the death penalty which               
 would be extremely useful in helping the members of the body make             
 wise decisions about it.  Information in this form could be made              
 available to the public as well, through the news media and other             
 means.  After enough time for the information to be disseminated              
 and for the information to sink in, an advisory vote on the ballot            
 with the question crafted somewhat more helpfully would be fine               
 with him.                                                                     
 MR. CAMPBELL said he understood the emotional dimensions of this              
 issue because of the love people have for their children, because             
 of the justified, moral outrage that people feel.  Every year that            
 passes brings them more evidence as to how poorly the death penalty           
 serves the interests of the states where it is used or where there            
 are efforts to use it.  Once the people of this state fully                   
 understand all of the facts and implications of this matter, they             
 will not support the death penalty.                                           
 Number 694                                                                    
 AVERIL LERMAN testified on SB 52 by teleconference from Anchorage.            
 She stated that she had submitted written testimony on the advisory           
 vote.  She hoped they could look at it briefly.  She stated that              
 she is a mother of two children, a career person and somewhat of an           
 historian.  For the past two years she has been researching the               
 history of the territorial death penalty in Alaska from 1900 to               
 1957.  She did this largely in response to the continued efforts to           
 re-institute the death penalty in Alaska.  As Mr. Campbell noted,             
 the necessity of making an informed decision about this critical              
 subject is very important.  She thought that to research why Alaska           
 got rid of the death penalty in the first place would be a place to           
 start in light of the possible reinstatement of it.                           
 MS. LERMAN stated that her research was sponsored and funded in               
 part by the Alaska Humanities Forum, the National Endowment for the           
 Humanities and the Alaska Native Justice Center.  She spent a lot             
 of time in libraries researching archived documents and she also              
 interviewed more than 50 people who participated in the capital               
 punishment system which was in place in Alaska, including former              
 U.S. attorneys, the men who served as executioners in the old                 
 federal jail in Juneau, men who served as guards, children of some            
 of the last men executed, etc.                                                
 MS. LERMAN said that until recently she felt as though the death              
 penalty was a good idea.  Like most people she has never been                 
 exposed to a death penalty and she had no basis for an informed               
 opinion about it.  She said there was something about it which                
 seemed sort of fair, "an eye for an eye."  It was only after                  
 exposure to the information on race, poverty, powerlessness and the           
 potential for official corruption that her conception of the                  
 profound wrongness of this concept in terms of government and                 
 public policy became fixed.                                                   
 MS. LERMAN gave examples of the limited use of the death penalty              
 when it was in place in Alaska, although homicide continued to be             
 widespread.  She implored the committee to take seriously their               
 responsibility to the public.                                                 
 Number 895                                                                    
 SYBIL SKELTON testified on SB 52 by teleconference from Fairbanks.            
 When she found out that other states with the death penalty had the           
 same rate of violence as other states, she changed her mind because           
 she realized that capital punishment was not a deterrent.  Ms.                
 Skelton referred to a study she had recently read about violence              
 and young people.  The study pointed out that young people have no            
 money, they're destitute and they see murder all the time.  They              
 see things in society which they want to get.  They are left out.             
 Number 970                                                                    
 JIM SYKES, testified on SB 52.  He stated that legislation should             
 have a purpose.  What problem does this legislation address?  He              
 felt as though it can be documented, scientifically, factual and              
 otherwise that other states who have the death penalty have higher            
 rates of murder than states who do not.  It's either inconclusive             
 or it's better not to have a death penalty if looking at the                  
 statistics.  People have said that if someone makes a mistake with            
 handing down the death penalty, it's not reversible.  This is                 
 another good reason to not re-institute the death penalty.                    
 MR. SYKES pointed out that there were a few issues raised which he            
 wished to rebut.  As to the question of putting this advisory to              
 the people, to let them decide.  He would gladly hope that the                
 legislature as a body would be able to develop a process to jerk a            
 bill out of committee that needs to be dealt with by an anonymous             
 vote on the floor, to keep a committee chair from sitting on a                
 piece of legislation which needs to be dealt with.  This isn't the            
 case here.  These bills are widely heard in many committees and the           
 opposition to them is overwhelming.  To say that the process is not           
 working and as Senator Taylor suggested, they can't pass this issue           
 in the legislature because they don't have the votes.  He felt the            
 democratic process is working.  This is why he recommended that               
 putting this issue to a vote without education is not a wise idea.            
 The argument that they're denying the public their democratic right           
 to vote is not there.                                                         
 MR. SYKES also addressed the issue of complexity.  He noted that              
 during the last election the Alaskans Against the Death Penalty               
 shared a booth with their organization at the fair.  He asked some            
 people who came by, let's think about this for a minute.  You want            
 to deny people accused their appeals, if they're accused of murder,           
 you want them murdered very quickly.  What if each of you had a               
 close one who was accused of murder.  You don't know whether they             
 did it or not, but someone close to you who you care dearly about,            
 a wife, a brother.  Wouldn't you want the maximum amount of appeals           
 to be exhausted before a decision was made.  He felt that when                
 people are actually faced with having to make these personal                  
 decisions, it is a lot different than having to make an abstract              
 decision of "oh yeah, they committed murder.  Toast them."                    
 MR. SYKES stated that the issue of minorities in jail in this state           
 and others presently way outnumber their participation in the                 
 general population.  "What is there to believe that people won't be           
 unfairly convicted due to racial bias, or as our own history                  
 exemplifies people who are white are generally not going to be                
 convicted of murder," or at least executed for it.  This is our               
 history.  It's not a simplistic question.  It can't honestly be               
 said that the facts are out there to be decided upon.  The facts              
 should be laid on the table.  "Let's talk about the FBI statistics.           
 Let's talk about the expense.  Let's talk about the fact that                 
 mistakes have been made and will continue to be made in our kind of           
 society."  Capital punishment cannot be reversed once instituted.             
 MR. SYKES said that what sealed it for him was the question that              
 isn't life in prison the same as the death penalty.  No, it is not.           
 Personally he felt that if someone has murdered and they're not put           
 to death, they have to face the relatives of the victim and in some           
 cases murderers do feel remorse.  These people can be quite                   
 productive in convincing others not to murder.  There are                     
 productive things that even a murderer can do in prison.                      
 Number 1253                                                                   
 BRANT MCGEE, Head, Office of Public Advocacy testified by                     
 teleconference from Anchorage on SB 52 and HB 481.  He was asked to           
 estimate the cost of this program to this agency.  By the end of              
 four years the Office of Public Advocacy, Department of Law, and              
 the Public Defender Agency alone will spend $18 million in public             
 dollars to process capital punishment cases.  These cases will                
 continue to escalate dramatically in future years as these cases              
 accumulate.  By the end of ten years the state of Alaska will have            
 spend more than $50 million to process death penalty cases just               
 among these three agencies.  This does not include the cost of the            
 court system which will slow down other important criminal and                
 civil cases in order to take care of this load.  Nor does it count            
 the cost to corrections, or the Alaska State Troopers who will have           
 dozens of officers involved in long term cases.                               
 MR. MCGEE noted that from the experience of other states the cost             
 of enacting the death penalty are simply enormous.  In 1992 a Texas           
 study revealed that their death penalty cases cost an average of              
 $2.3 million, Florida in 1988 was $3.2 million dollars per case.              
 In 1982, New York did a projected cost of $1.8 million for the                
 first trial, in the first level of appeals.  In a more detailed Los           
 Angeles County capital punishment examination is that it cost $1.9            
 million for each case processed for the trial alone.                          
 MR. MCGEE poised the question, why does this cost this much?  They            
 discovered that there were four times as many pre-trial motions in            
 capital cases.  Jury selection took six times as long and the court           
 days devoted to capital cases were six and a half times what                  
 another first degree, non-capital cases involved.  In other words,            
 the anticipated costs for a capital punishment case is between                
 three to five times what it costs to incarcerate an individual for            
 the rest of their natural lives.                                              
 MR. MCGEE offered that the United States is now averaging nine                
 years and eight months from the time a person is convicted of a               
 capital crime to a time of their execution.  This time could be               
 significantly shortened if appeals were knocked off.                          
 Number 1470                                                                   
 SUZIE GREGG FOWLER testified on SB 52.  She stated that she had               
 served on a murder one jury about 14 years ago.  It was a painful,            
 gut-wrenching experience and she would never want to repeat it, but           
 she assumed that if she came to find the accused guilty she would             
 know that he wasn't like her.  Ms. Fowler noted that people are               
 able to say they would put people to death because they believe               
 they are not made of the same fabric.  In the trial she                       
 participated in she was with this suspect day after day, she                  
 watched his mother, his friends and she knew at the same time that            
 she voted to convict.  She stated that he was human, not a monster            
 and the experience was humbling and scary to see that they were               
 more alike than they were different, she and this suspect.                    
 MS. FOWLER stated, "did I want him off the streets?  You bet.                 
 Could I have said, 'kill him.'  No.  I couldn't."  Last week her              
 family was honored to host a representative from Amnesty                      
 International, Daniel Georges-Abeyie.  Mr. Georges-Abeyie speaks              
 for the death penalty abolition from his background as a professor            
 and consultant in the criminal justice field.  He speaks too as               
 someone who has lost three brothers to murder.  She listened to him           
 and Marietta Yegar who lost a daughter to murder, she is humbled in           
 another way by the humanity she shares with them.  "When I hear               
 Daniel speak about justice with mercy and Marietta speak about                
 forgiveness and reconciliation, a part of the fabric of humanity              
 that has been breached and ripped by all the hatred and terrorism             
 and murder in the world is mended, is made richer and stronger."              
 She asked the committee not to vote for legislation which moves the           
 state towards sanctioned violence.                                            
 Number 1645                                                                   
 MARY GEDDES testified by teleconference from Anchorage on HB 481              
 and SB 52.  She asked the committee to not support either of these            
 two bills.  Ms. Geddes urged the committee to investigate whether             
 or not the question as proposed in the SB 52 was the type likely to           
 promote reasoned, intelligent voting among the people of Alaska.              
 As to the cost of enactment at $2 to $8 million dollars, this                 
 referendum is completely silent.  She also questioned the fact that           
 other options are silent on this referendum as well.  Does it note            
 how effective capital punishment is?  She asked them most                     
 particularly as to whether or not this question will promote                  
 reasoned intelligent voting among the population and that it was              
 likely to punish in disproportionate numbers Alaskan Natives.                 
 Number 1830                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE noted that Ms. Geddes was concerned about                
 Alaska Natives who don't speak English as a first language, he                
 asked if she would allow these same Natives to vote on a                      
 subsistence resolution or "is it just on capital punishment that              
 you don't trust their judgment?"                                              
 MS. GEDDES noted that she was present to talk to the capital                  
 punishment legislation.  Under the various federal and state voting           
 rights acts there has to be special protections undertaken where              
 there are populations most likely to be affected by bills, hence              
 the question about whether or not they've taken into account the              
 non-English speaking population at the polls.  She suggested that             
 this type of question doesn't promote any type of intelligent                 
 discussions in their communities.  She asked the legislature to do            
 so and "let's ask you to do the job that we elected you to do which           
 is to consider whether or not that this is an appropriate and                 
 effective way of dealing with this matter."                                   
 Number 1955                                                                   
 CHARLES ROHRBACHER testified on SB 52 as a member of Amnesty                  
 International.  He pointed out that Amnesty International won the             
 Nobel Peace prize in 1977 and their mandate is based on the United            
 Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  There are                     
 fundamental human rights that limit what a state can do to any                
 individual.  The organization looks at violations of human rights,            
 including torture, murder that include not one or two victims, but            
 tens, hundreds, thousands and hundreds of thousands of people.                
 They support the current human rights trials going on at the Haigh,           
 and vigorous prosection of people who kill in the name of state               
 either legally or extra-judicially.  They are opposed among other             
 things to the imposition of the death penalty in all cases and                
 under all circumstances, for example, major human rights violators.           
 Even though they have worked for the prosecution of these human               
 rights violators, Amnesty goes to the U.N. and urges that the                 
 people being tried for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia for                
 example, be given the maximum sentence, but not be put to death.              
 MR. ROHRBACHER stated that Amnesty opposes any step towards the               
 advance of the death penalty, including this referendum.   They               
 don't see it as an issue of democratic majorities who are informed            
 or not.  The death penalty is morally wrong.  It is in violation of           
 the fundamental right that every human being has to their life and            
 the security of their life.                                                   
 MR. ROHRBACHER said that for himself, personally, the strongest               
 argument against the death penalty is the possibility of executing            
 innocent people.  He shared the story of a case he worked on in San           
 Francisco of an individual who was acquitted after being sentenced            
 to death.  He then touched lightly on the history of the death                
 penalty.  Thomas Jefferson argued that he would never support the             
 death penalty until it was possible to demonstrate the                        
 infallibility of human judgment.  The possibility of convicting an            
 innocent individual is too high a price to pay for the death                  
 Number 2275                                                                   
 MICHAEL LEMAY testified by teleconference from Anchorage on SB 52             
 and HB 481.  He stated he was a New Hampshireman by birth and proud           
 to be an Alaskan by choice.  Mr. Lemay said he was opposed to the             
 advisory ballot because it asks the wrong question.  An affirmative           
 vote from the Judicial Committee could result in fiscal insanity.             
 He referred to Mr. McGee's testimony.  Attorney General, Bruce                
 Botelho estimates the cost of capital punishment for an individual            
 could cost as much as $5 million dollars.  This far exceeds the               
 cost of permanent incarceration.  He also noted Alaska's 99 year              
 sentencing for some categories of murder.                                     
 MR. LEMAY noted that the Republican lead legislature's main goal is           
 to reduce the budget by $250 million dollars in cuts within the               
 next five years.  In addition, they propose to protect the                    
 permanent fund and dividend programs and to impose no income tax.             
 These are admirable goals.  When facing these financial choices,              
 Alaska cannot afford a death penalty statute.  Mr. Lemay proposed             
 that if the legislature insists on asking this advisory question,             
 that they add the following twelve words to the end of a particular           
 section, "with all intended costs to be paid for out of                       
 legislator's salaries."                                                       
 TAPE 96-53, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
 GEORGE PARTLOW testified on SB 52 and HB 481.  Mr. Partlow stated             
 that he was proud to be an Alaskan and noted that the constitution            
 of the United States constitution was hanging on the Judiciary                
 Committee room walls.  It's representative the there is a                     
 democratic republic in this country, in which decisions are not               
 ordinarily presented to an individual voter, but representatives              
 are elected to make decisions for the populace.  He expects that              
 these elected individuals will make informed decisions and not                
 expect the average citizen to do a great deal of homework when they           
 don't have a staff available to research an issue.                            
 MR. PARTLOW alluded to a comment made by Representative Bunde that            
 the voters could make a decision on this issue much the same way a            
 jury does.  Mr. Partlow argued that his service on a jury once was            
 not part-time, he was asked to sit in the court room and listen to            
 a great deal of evidence, not all of it earthshaking, much of it              
 boring, but he took the whole thing quite seriously.  He found it             
 difficult to compare this experience with the attitude of an                  
 average newspaper reader in Anchorage voting on this proposition.             
 MR. PARTLOW noted that he teaches a kindergarten church class.  He            
 added that these children see a lot of violence on television.  He            
 thought this issue added to the violence in society and did not               
 subtract from it.  He also referred to Senator Taylor's comments              
 about feeling good about seeing candle light vigils outside prisons           
 for death row inmates, but didn't mention at the same time the wild           
 beer blasts of people who are present to celebrate the "toasting"             
 of the victims.                                                               
 Number 353                                                                    
 SUSAN ORLANSKY testified by teleconference from Anchorage on SB 52            
 and HB 481.  She spoke against both bills.  She made an argument              
 more directly towards SB 52.  She asked herself how she would vote            
 on this referendum.  She made the argument that this is not how               
 important policy should be set and noted that was what the                    
 representatives are elected for.  Representatives have staff, they            
 take testimony and have time to collect data.  The average voter              
 does not have this advantage.  Most of them vote emotionally.  She            
 also mentioned the 99 year sentences which already exist in Alaska.           
 She also mentioned that the death penalty is racially                         
 discriminatory, that it does not deter and that it cannot be                  
 infallibly administered because it's administered by people.                  
 People are not infallible.  The death penalty is fundamentally                
 Number 599                                                                    
 AMY PAIGE testified on SB 52 and HB 481.  She opposed both the                
 bills.  Ms. Paige felt it was unfair to offer the voters a                    
 seemingly simple solution to what is truly a complex social issue.            
 The legislature is not asking the voters for simple solutions to              
 the complex budgetary and other social policy issues, because they            
 know considerable debate by the people who work to become informed            
 about these matters would be more likely to arrive at decisions               
 which reflect reasoned and sound understanding based on facts.                
 She asked the representatives to go back to their constituents and            
 engage in a dialogue which opens people to the full meaning of the            
 judicial and correctional system and how they can best deal with              
 these types of crimes.  She also noted the protection of human and            
 civil rights of individuals.  A majority vote cannot be allowed to            
 deprive people of the full protection of these rights as provided             
 in the constitution.                                                          
 Number 700                                                                    
 ANNE WILKAS, Assistant Public Defender, testified by teleconference           
 from Anchorage on SB 52 and HB 481.  She said she currently defends           
 people who have been charged with murder in the first degree.  She            
 said she speaks from both her professional position and as a public           
 defender, as well as a citizen of community.  She coaches Junior              
 Nordic League in Anchorage.  One of her students asked her what the           
 worst thing that you ever represented somebody doing.  Ms. Wilkas             
 responded, "killing somebody."  This student wondered why somebody            
 would have to serve 99 years for this type of crime.  Ms. Wilkas              
 said she is in the same position.  She has posed the question of              
 why to both sponsors of this legislation.  She said she still                 
 hasn't heard a sound reason from Senator Taylor as to why they want           
 to send the issue of death penalty to the people.  Ms. Wilkas also            
 mentioned the heavy work load this would create on the existing               
 system.  She also made the argument that putting someone to death             
 is a immoral and said they shouldn't sanction this concept.                   
 Number 902                                                                    
 ROBERT WOLFE testified on SB 52 and HB 481.  He stated that he was            
 the father of four children and a Sunday school teacher of fifth              
 graders.  Yesterday, they raised these two bills in this class                
 then.  He wished the committee members could have been in this                
 class.  These are morally and complicated issues.  Mr. Wolf said he           
 was discouraged at first to see the initial reactions of his                  
 students, which was rather flip.  Children this age have a macabre,           
 grotesque fascination with death, but then they talked about the              
 issue.  They talked about what god would want, about sin,                     
 accountability for sin, how we earn what we reap; how brokenness is           
 healed and redemption, the potential for forgiveness and what can             
 be done to try to bring this about.  They talked about doing unto             
 others.  He felt the students were more informed after the talk and           
 he urged them to discuss this issue with their parents.                       
 Number 1073                                                                   
 LYNN SIMLER, Executive Director, ACLU, testified by teleconference            
 from Anchorage on SB 52.  She said that she and the ACLU oppose the           
 advisory ballot.  She questioned the public voting without being              
 completely informed, without the benefit of full disclosure,                  
 failure to include provisions for increased funding with an already           
 overtaxed public defenders, the lack of the super due process                 
 information and also to consider that innocent convictions come not           
 only because of racial bias, but because of the process of plea               
 bargaining.  Ms. Stimler noted that she was a first generation                
 American.  Her parents came to this country from Nazi Germany.                
 Their families were killed in the Nazi death camps.  If this type             
 of vote had been proposed in Germany in 1939 it would have been               
 supported by the majority, not just for Jews, but for many other              
 people who were killed there.                                                 
 MS. STIMLER reminded the jury what Justice Marshall said in                   
 conjunction with the 1972 case, Furman v. Georgia.  "Capital                
 punishment is imposed discriminatorily against certain identifiable           
 classes of people.  There is evidence that innocent people have               
 been executed before their innocence can be proved.  The death                
 penalty reeks havoc with our entire criminal justice system."                 
 Number 1221                                                                   
 DOUG MERTZ testified on SB 52.  He gathered that the idea of                  
 submitting reinstitution of the death penalty to the public for an            
 advisory vote is to derive a body of information which will tell              
 the legislature what the public actually thinks about this issue.             
 To do this, it has to be done right.  It has to be done in such a             
 way that the information that results is not saleable as somehow              
 being inaccurate or skewed because of the way it was submitted.               
 Not only do the people need to be told what the proposal is, but              
 also what the present law is, what the actual sentences are under             
 the present law, and what the financial implications of what both             
 the present law and the proposal are.  If this is not done, the               
 results will be open to attack and will be attacked as being                  
 skewed.  The truth is that they will end up with a result which is            
 not truly useful.                                                             
 Number 1330                                                                   
 CAROL GRAY testified by teleconference from Anchorage on SB 52 and            
 HB 481.  She spoke against both bills.  She noted the cost                    
 constraints related to this concept as well as, the opinions by               
 former Justices Blackman and Powell who concluded that after many             
 years capital punishment was imposed in a discriminatory and                  
 arbitrary manner.  It is impossible to implement fairly.  Capital             
 punishment has no deterrent effect.  In states that have the death            
 penalty, the murder rate is no lower than states without it.  In              
 states that have abolished the death penalty there has been no rise           
 in the murder rate.  She noted one study that linked a rise in                
 murder rates after an execution takes place.  She thought it was              
 interesting that the sponsor of HB 481 said this legislation was              
 proposed as a deterrent.                                                      
 Number 1420                                                                   
 BARBARA BRINK, Deputy Director, Alaska Public Defender Agency                 
 testified by teleconference from Anchorage on SB 52 and HB 481.               
 The Public Defender's office opposes both of these bills, in                  
 particular their concerned about the advisory ballot which does not           
 provide Alaskans with the information they need about the death               
 penalty to make a reasoned decision.  Representative Bunde likened            
 this process to a jury reaching a decision on an issue, except that           
 they wouldn't be making a decision based on all the evidence.  She            
 also noted the cost issue and gave some additional figures.  She              
 also noted the added time constraints added to death penalty                  
 trials.  Ms. Brink mentioned the chance of condemning an innocent             
 person and the super due process standard.                                    
 Number 1612                                                                   
 JERRY SHRINER, Special Assistant, Department of Corrections                   
 testified on SB 52 and HB 481.  The department is opposed to both             
 these bills.  The department is fundamentally opposed for matters             
 of policy and philosophy.  They simply do not believe that                    
 executing people for whatever the crime is defensible morally and             
 MR. SHRINER wanted to emphasis two points.  The first, is that                
 there is no evidence whatsoever that he is aware of that capital              
 punishment or the threat of it deters people from crime.  He also             
 noted all other forms of punishments don't work very well as a                
 deterrent either.  The other point he wanted to make is that he is            
 constantly amazed at the level of misinformation and ignorance with           
 regard to the types of sentences which currently exist.  There have           
 been focus groups run in this state in connection with the                    
 intermediate sanctions task force which operated a few years ago.             
 They found quite clearly that when a group of people drawn from the           
 community were given the sentences and the options for sentencing,            
 that people tended to chose other alternatives rather than long               
 prison terms.  If they were given a range of options of other                 
 things which might be done, these people all came up with                     
 alternative sanctions.  All he was saying by this, was that he                
 didn't believe people understood what is currently being done with            
 offenders, for example, 99 year sentences without parole for                  
 serious crimes.                                                               
 Number 1760                                                                   
 CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that what he was about to say was not an               
 indication of his preference on these two bills, but he felt as               
 though there was one thing that worked, absolute sanctions, coupled           
 with the perception of apprehension.  He felt as though this was a            
 deterrent.  He closed the public hearing and stated that they would           
 take these bills up first thing on Wednesday.                                 
 CHAIRMAN PORTER adjourned the meeting at 3:55 p.m.                            

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