Legislature(1997 - 1998)

05/08/1997 08:30 AM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                             
                            May 8, 1997                                        
                             8:30 a.m.                                         
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
 Representative Joe Green, Chairman                                            
 Representative Con Bunde, Vice Chairman                                       
 Representative Brian Porter                                                   
 Representative Jeanne James                                                   
 Representative Norman Rokeberg                                                
 Representative Eric Croft                                                     
 Representative Ethan Berkowitz                                                
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                
 All members present                                                           
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
 SENATE BILL NO. 60                                                            
 "An Act providing for an advisory vote on the issue of capital                
      - MOVED HCS SB 60(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                  
 * HOUSE BILL NO. 252                                                          
 "An Act relating to criminal records; relating to notice about and            
 registration of sex offenders and child kidnappers; and amending              
 Rules 11(c) and 32(c), Alaska Rules of Criminal Procedure."                   
      - BILL HEARING CANCELLED                                                 
 (* First public hearing)                                                      
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
 BILL:  SB 60                                                                  
 SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) TAYLOR, Pearce                                         
 JRN-DATE       JRN-PG             ACTION                                      
 01/24/97       126    (S)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/24/97       126    (S)   JUDICIARY                                         
 03/10/97              (S)   JUD AT  1:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211                    
 03/10/97              (S)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 03/11/97       671    (S)   JUD RPT  4DP 1DNP                                 
 03/11/97       671    (S)   DP: TAYLOR, MILLER, PEARCE, PARNELL               
 03/11/97       671    (S)   DNP: ELLIS                                        
 03/11/97       671    (S)   FISCAL NOTES (GOV, CORR, LAW)                     
 03/11/97       671    (S)   FIN REFERRAL ADDED AFTER JUDICIARY                
 03/24/97       832    (S)   INDETERMINATE FNS (ADM-2)                         
 04/09/97              (S)   FIN AT  6:00 PM SENATE FINANCE 532                
 04/10/97      1075    (S)   FIN RPT  4DP 2NR 1DNP                             
 04/10/97      1075    (S)   DP: PEARCE, SHARP, PHILLIPS,                      
 04/10/97      1075    (S)   NR: PARNELL, DONLEY; DNP: ADAMS                   
 04/10/97      1075    (S)   PREVIOUS FN (GOV)                                 
 04/11/97              (S)   RLS AT 10:45 AM FAHRENKAMP RM 203                 
 04/11/97              (S)   MINUTE(RLS)                                       
 04/29/97              (S)   RLS AT 10:45 AM FAHRENKAMP RM 203                 
 04/29/97      1543    (S)   RULES TO CALENDAR & 1DNP    4/29/97               
 04/29/97      1546    (S)   READ THE SECOND TIME                              
 04/29/97      1546    (S)   AM NO  1     FAILED Y6 N11 E3                     
 04/29/97      1547    (S)   AM NO  2     FAILED Y5 N12 E3                     
 04/29/97      1548    (S)   AM NO  3     FAILED Y5 N12 E3                     
 04/29/97      1549    (S)   THIRD READING 4/30 CALENDAR                       
 04/30/97      1583    (S)   READ THE THIRD TIME  SB 60                        
 04/30/97      1583    (S)   PASSED Y13 N6 E1                                  
 04/30/97      1583    (S)   ADAMS  NOTICE OF RECONSIDERATION                  
 05/01/97      1626    (S)   RECON TAKEN UP - IN THIRD READING                 
 05/01/97      1626    (S)   PASSED ON RECONSIDERATION Y13 N6 E1               
 05/01/97      1627    (S)   TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                
 05/02/97      1463    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 05/02/97      1463    (H)   JUDICIARY                                         
 05/05/97      1530    (H)   FIN REFERRAL ADDED                                
 05/07/97              (H)   JUD AT  1:30 PM SENATE FINANCE 532                
 05/07/97              (H)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 05/08/97              (H)   JUD AT  8:30 AM CAPITOL 120                       
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
 Senator Robin Taylor                                                          
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 Capitol Building, Room 30                                                     
 Juneau, Alaska 99811                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 465-4906                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Prime Sponsor SB 60                                      
 JOSH FINK, Intern                                                             
 Alaskans Against the Death Penalty                                            
 P.O. Box 202296                                                               
 Anchorage, Alaska 99520                                                       
 Telephone:  (907) 258-2296                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to SB 60                         
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
 TAPE 97-81, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN JOE GREEN called the House Judiciary Standing Committee to           
 order at 8:30 a.m.  Members present at the call to order were                 
 Representatives Bunde, Porter, James and Green.                               
 CHAIRMAN JOE GREEN announced that because of a conflict, the House            
 Judiciary Committee would recess to the call of the chair.  The               
 meeting was recessed at 8:32 a.m.  Chairman Green called the House            
 Judiciary Committee back to order at 9:50 a.m.  Members present at            
 the call to order were Representatives Con Bunde, Brian Porter,               
 Jeannette James, Eric Croft, Ethan Berkowitz and Chairman Joe                 
 Green.  Representative Norman Rokeberg arrived at 10:15 a.m.                  
 SB 60 - ADVISORY VOTE ON CAPITAL PUNISHMENT                                   
 Number 033                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN GREEN advised members that the bill before them was SB 60,           
 "An Act providing for an advisory vote on the issue of capital                
 punishment."  He noted that Representative Croft had prepared an              
 amendment for the committee's consideration.                                  
 REPRESENTATIVE ERIC CROFT moved to amend SB 1, page 1, line 8,                
 delete [Shall], and insert, If the Alaska State Legislature enacts            
 a law providing for capital punishment for murder, the following              
 annual fiscal costs to the following state agencies are estimated             
 to result:                                                                    
                       (INSERT FISCAL COSTS)                                   
 These estimates assume 10 capital punishment cases annually.                  
      It is also estimated that the total fiscal cost for the trial            
 and subsequent legal proceedings, incarceration pending execution,            
 and execution for one capital punishment case would be:                       
                       (INSERT FISCAL COST)                                    
 For the purpose of comparison, the estimated total fiscal cost of             
 the trial and subsequent legal proceedings and incarceration of a             
 person sentenced to a mandatory 99-year term of imprisonment                  
 without parole as provided under current law is:                              
                       (INSERT FISCAL COST)                                    
 Considering this shall; and page 1, following line 12, insert a new           
 bill section to read:                                                         
      "*Sec. 2. Each department that expects to be affected by the             
 enactment of a law providing for capital punishment for murder in             
 the first degree shall estimate, in consultation with the                     
 Legislative Budget and Audit Committee, and submit that fiscal                
 impact to the lieutenant governor not less than 180 days before the           
 time the question in sec. 1 of this Act will appear on the ballot.            
 The lieutenant governor shall insert those estimates into the                 
 question at the appropriate places shown in sec 1 of this Act.                
 REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES objected.                                      
 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT explained that Amendment 1, SB 60, was,                  
 basically, identical to the amendment the committee adopted on the            
 House version of the bill, and would place on the ballot, the                 
 fiscal costs expected to be realized by the affected state                    
 agencies.  This amendment; however, was different than the action             
 taken on the House Bill in two different areas.                               
 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT advised members that the first difference                
 would place on the ballot a comparison of the expected costs of a             
 death penalty sentence versus a sentence of life in prison.  He               
 explained that the Department of Corrections had provided                     
 additional information which reflected that the average prisoner              
 was approximately 30 years old and would live to be approximately             
 75 years old, which would equate to an average of 40 to 45 years in           
 prison.  With that calculation, it would cost the state an average            
 of $1.7 million to incarcerate an individual for life.                        
 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT explained that the second change involved                
 adding the phrase, in consultation with the Legislative Budget and            
 Audit Committee, which would give the legislature some consultive             
 role in the "making of the numbers" process.  He noted that it                
 still read, "each department shall submit", but the added language            
 provided legislative input to some extent.                                    
 Number 227                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN PORTER asked if the committee actually had the           
 numbers that they would get from the Knowles Administration.                  
 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT explained that what the committee was                    
 currently in possession of were the fiscal notes that were provided           
 by affected departments on SB 60.  He pointed out that what was               
 remarkable to him, as he further studied the issue, was how                   
 consistent the raw dollar numbers were.  Representative Croft                 
 advised members that there was a fairly consistent number of $5               
 million more costs for the death penalty from studies done in                 
 California and New York.  The sheet that he distributed to members            
 entitled Death Penalty Cost Analysis - First Four Years, compared             
 the numbers compiled by the Hickel Administration, which was pro              
 death penalty, to the numbers calculated by the Knowles                       
 Administration, which opposed the death penalty.  Representative              
 Croft noted that Mr. McNally and former Attorney General Charlie              
 Cole, explained that both the governor and the attorney general had           
 made the death penalty a top priority, which was reflected in a               
 Joint House and Senate Judiciary Committee meeting in 1994.                   
 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT expressed that the numbers calculated by the             
 Hickel Administration were remarkably similar to the Knowles                  
 Administration's expected costs to reinstate the death penalty, and           
 also indicated a fair amount of agreement to what was shown                   
 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT explained that because the Hickel                        
 Administration planned for a 60 bed death row facility, and the               
 Hickel Administration planned for a 30 bed death row facility, that           
 he  removed the capital costs indicated by the Department of                  
 Corrections.  He stated that to include the Public Defender's                 
 Office, the Office of Public Advocacy, the Department of Law and              
 the Court System and the operating costs of the Department of                 
 Corrections, the numbers by both administrations amounted to                  
 approximately $4 million cost per case.  Representative Croft                 
 further stated that each administration estimated a different                 
 number of death penalty cases, which was because the prior bill was           
 slightly different and took in a more limited number of cases.                
 However, when calculating the cost per case from each                         
 administration, you arrive at, basically, the same numbers; whether           
 pro death penalty administration, or anti death penalty                       
 administration, as well as a lot of similarity in the numbers from            
 state to state.                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT advised members that he knew there was another           
 alternative considered that they provide some multiple.  He felt              
 that it would say to the people, "this could cost you three to five           
 times", versus the cost of a sentence to life in prison.                      
 Representative Croft stated that by keeping the raw numbers, a)               
 because they seemed to be consistent and defensible, and b)                   
 whatever is placed on the ballot would be attacked in some respect,           
 that he felt what he was proposing would have more support than               
 what they could get from a multiple.  Representative Croft stated             
 that on the raw level, he wanted to know what the cost would be.              
 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT reminded members that when discussing the                
 House version, they considered the analogy of purchasing a car, or            
 constructing a skating rink in Anchorage.  He noted that no one               
 says, "buy this new car and it will cost you three to five times              
 less than you are paying now."  Representative Croft stated that he           
 wanted to know how much the car cost.                                         
 Number 446                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER stated that he felt there was room for                  
 criticism in either "camp"; however, what he liked about                      
 Representative Croft's proposed amendment was that it was bolstered           
 by the right hand column and could be validated, as opposed to what           
 everyone thought of the cost estimate of moving the capital.  He              
 emphasized that what was presented were two administrations with              
 two totally different philosophies on the issue, whose agencies had           
 arrived at, virtually, the same numbers.  Representative Porter               
 advised members that that was pretty defensible evidence.                     
 CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if what was reflected involved a four year               
 cost to the state.                                                            
 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT responded that it was.  The numbers presented            
 on the comparison sheet were the numbers arrived at by both                   
 administrations for a four year period.  He pointed out that the              
 two comparisons differed in their totals, $40 million versus $25              
 million; however, that was because the Hickel Administration                  
 estimated 6 death penalty cases per year, versus 10 death penalty             
 cases per year which was estimated by the Knowles Administration.             
 CHAIRMAN GREEN asked for clarification on the cost for one death              
 penalty case.                                                                 
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER explained that the average death penalty                
 case, which resulted in an execution, would cost the state                    
 CHAIRMAN GREEN stated that the cost of a life sentence would  cost            
 the state approximately $1.7 million, as calculated by the affected           
 REPRESENTATIVE ETHAN BERKOWITZ pointed out that there was also a              
 distinction in those costs, whereby the $1.7 million cost for a               
 life sentence would be spread out over a period of time, so the               
 present value of that money would be significantly less than the $4           
 million which the state would have to pay, up front, right now.               
 Number 603                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN GREEN advised members he certainly concurred with that               
 statement having been in business; however, unfortunately,                    
 governments did not work in present worth, but he understood what             
 Representative Berkowitz said and felt it was a very good point.              
 CHAIRMAN GREEN stated that so there was no question in anyone's               
 mind, what members were discussing was a total cost estimate of               
 putting a person to death for the conviction of first degree                  
 murder, as opposed to the cost for life in prison.  He asked if               
 there was any documentation that supported the cost of $1.7 million           
 for life imprisonment.                                                        
 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT advised members that there had been                      
 conversations with the Department of Corrections who provided their           
 average life expectancy and average age coming in, which resulted             
 in the cost of $1.7 million present dollar value.  He noted that he           
 did not have that in writing.  Representative Croft explained that            
 the Department of Corrections would come in with the Legislative              
 Budget and Audit Committee and provide a number.  He stated that              
 the question had not been asked as to how much per case exactly,              
 although some of those over four years, "tried on day one, trial              
 goes over into year two, appeal is through year 3", that he was               
 dividing it by the number of cases they estimated in their own                
 fiscal note per year.                                                         
 CHAIRMAN GREEN agreed and pointed out that what was provided for              
 visual review was a good breakdown and probably as defensible as              
 one could get.  He wondered if they should not have something                 
 similar to the litany that went with a person being incarcerated              
 for 40 years, that it would cost "X" amount of dollars.  Chairman             
 Green expressed that he was concerned with providing a number that            
 did not have back up support, and suggested that they might include           
 language that would reflect that, "this number is supported by                
 results compiled by states who currently have the death penalty,              
 that those cases run two to five times higher than the cost for               
 life in prison."                                                              
 Number 745                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN GREEN recognized the presence of Senator Robin Taylor, the           
 prime sponsor of SB 60, and asked if he would like to join members            
 at the witness table.                                                         
 SENATOR ROBIN TAYLOR expressed that he thought the committee was              
 talking about fiscal notes of $2 to $4 million dollars, and did not           
 know what bill the committee was considering.                                 
 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE stated that on the dollar amounts                    
 provided, that it was his understanding there had been some                   
 changes, in various states, as to the number of appeals allowed               
 under a death penalty case, and the amount of time involved.  He              
 asked if the numbers presented reflected current conditions, or did           
 they recognize a reduced number of available appeals in a death               
 penalty case.                                                                 
 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT explained that the numbers reflected current             
 conditions and did not estimate some the restrictions on appeals.             
 He added that there was a limit to how far an appeal could be                 
 restricted if someone were going to be executed.  The process could           
 be streamlined somewhat, but a lot of it could not be eliminated.             
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE stated that the figures then would present the           
 worst case scenario if they did not take into consideration the               
 fact that the process had changed somewhat in other states with               
 respect to the appeal process.                                                
 CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if Representative Croft would concur with that           
 statement.  He stated that because some states had modified their             
 process, were members looking at a worst case scenario.  It was his           
 understanding that the numbers were based on the current process              
 and represented a factual reflection.                                         
 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT agreed with the Chairman's statement.                    
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER reminded members that the previous                      
 legislature streamlined the post conviction relief process about as           
 tight as it could be constitutional done.  He did not think that in           
 the foreseeable future there would be any more efficiency that                
 could be done to the state system to reduce appellate costs of a              
 criminal case.                                                                
 Number 907                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ stated that the costs, to his                        
 understanding, also reflected, or should reflect, the number of               
 cases that were charged as a capital case where the jury did not              
 return a capital verdict, because those cases would be more                   
 Number 935                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES advised members that she had always been in              
 support of capital punishment; however, she changed her mind this             
 past year purely and simply because she had little faith in the               
 judicial system.  She noted that there was a case where a person              
 was determined to be innocent who had been on death row a long                
 time; however, that did not mean that she did not support the                 
 concept of capital punishment in heinous crimes.  Representative              
 James advised members she could think of some and she did not see             
 any reason for that person to continue to live.  She stated that              
 she knew that people who were opposed to capital punishment had               
 different ideas as to why, or why not the state should have capital           
 punishment.  Representative James advised members that the                    
 question, as posed in SB 60, did not define what kind of a capital            
 punishment bill would result from a positive vote of the people.              
 She noted that it could very well be that it would only pertain to            
 those who kill a police officer, or people who had killed numerous            
 times, or killed young children.  Because of that, she believed the           
 four or 10 cases estimated to take place every year were totally              
 out of the whole concept of what was being considered.                        
 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES advised members that she did not have a                  
 problem with saying that in states that had implemented capital               
 punishment there had been, by experience, a percentage of                     
 difference in the cost of the capital punishment cases.  What she             
 had a problem with was setting a large dollar amount that purely              
 and simply would cause and create people to vote "no" on something            
 that they really wanted to vote "yes" on.                                     
 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES stated that the fact, that at the ballot box             
 she might vote "no", she still believed strong enough in the public           
 process that she did not want to oppose putting out for people to             
 vote on because she felt they were entitled to that vote.  Based on           
 everything she had just said, Representative James reiterated that            
 she did not like throwing big numbers out to the public because               
 there was not a clue as to what type of bill would result out of a            
 positive vote of the people.                                                  
 Number 1078                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER advised members what was interesting to him             
 was the bottom number, and if the amendment were amended to reflect           
 the same information per case, as opposed to an estimate of cases             
 because members did not know what type of bill would result, if               
 that would alleviate some of Representative James' concerns.                  
 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES advised members they would still be subject to           
 who provided the numbers and how they were calculated.  She agreed            
 that the numbers members were presently reviewing were pretty                 
 close, and felt they were valid numbers.  But, quite frankly, to              
 Representative James, if she was voting on a capital punishment               
 bill and she knew that it was only for those terrible, terrible               
 cases, which was not posed on the ballot question, with 15 or 16              
 young children dismantled and killed by someone finally caught,               
 that $4 million per case would not budge her at all, she would                
 still be in favor of capital punishment.                                      
 Number 1168                                                                   
 CHAIRMAN GREEN noted that Representative James provided a good                
 point; however, he thought the point had been made that the person            
 on the street who would be voting would have their own different              
 views on the issue.  He pointed out that Joe Public 1 might feel it           
 should only be for the heinous crime of killing uniformed police              
 officers, whereas Joe Public 2 might feel it should be anyone who             
 commits murder and Joe Public 3 might feel that the death penalty             
 should not be implemented under any circumstance.  Chairman Green             
 felt that what was before them was a cost approximation that was              
 fairly close, and calculated by two different administrations who             
 had opposite views on the subject of capital punishment.                      
 CHAIRMAN GREEN advised members that his only concern was that the             
 figures were based on estimates, although he felt they were very              
 good estimates, and because of the caveat that they would be                  
 confirmed by the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee, the fact             
 that they fell within the range that members had seen historically            
 from outside, was that the death penalty cost two to five times               
 more than life in prison.  Chairman Green pointed out that if the             
 public voted with the knowledge that it would be more expensive to            
 impose the death penalty, that was one thing; however, if the                 
 people voted thinking that the death penalty was cheap, which many            
 people did, placing a "yes" or "no" question before them would not            
 provide all the facts.                                                        
 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES advised members that through her conversations           
 with people around the state, particularly those in her district,             
 she did not believe that was the case.  She believed they were                
 either in support of capital punishment or they were not, and the             
 money was not relevant to them.  Representative James stated that             
 she did believe that what the legislature should do when asking the           
 people a question was to pose a question they could answer, and she           
 thought that placing a cost on the ballot assumed the kind of a               
 bill that would result in what she believed was unfair, because she           
 felt the legislature could enact a capital punishment bill that               
 would not reflect the costs presented on the document under review.           
 Number 1300                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ pointed out that SB 60 stated, "capital              
 punishment for murder in the first degree."  He explained that                
 murder in the first degree describe a number of different types of            
 homicides and felt it was fairly clear that within that universe of           
 homicides there would be 10 cases every year that would qualify for           
 consideration of the death penalty, or somewhere within that                  
 vicinity.  He believed what was presented was a pretty accurate               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN explained to Senator Taylor that the committee had             
 been deliberating on his bill and a proposed amendment to the bill.           
 He asked the Senator if he had seen a copy of the proposed                    
 amendment and if he would like to address the committee.                      
 SENATOR TAYLOR advised members he did have a copy of the proposed             
 amendment before him and stated that he felt it was interesting and           
 asked what bill it was attached to.  Senator Taylor questioned what           
 bill any of the reflected state agencies had before them to base a            
 fiscal note on, adding that it was gross speculation by a group of            
 advocates opposing the very question.                                         
 SENATOR TAYLOR advised members that there was a significant savings           
 within a death penalty state that the advocates against the death             
 penalty did not want to talk about.  The best example Senator                 
 Taylor could provide was the case of the three German tourists who            
 had been shot to death in their car when they pulled up to an                 
 intersection in Florida.  Senator Taylor relayed that that                    
 intersection was approximately three quarters of a mile from his              
 wife's parents home, and one which he drove through every time he             
 visited.  Senator Taylor advised members that the people who                  
 committed that heinous offense were caught, and Florida, as members           
 were aware, had had the death penalty for quite some time.  He                
 reminded members that Ted Bundy was executed in the state of                  
 Florida, who after being incarcerated in Colorado, escaped and went           
 on to kill another eight or nine people because no one had killed             
 SENATOR TAYLOR went on to say that the three individuals that                 
 literally pulled up and executed a group of total strangers in a              
 rental car in Florida, did so in order that they could steal their            
 money.  Those individuals, after being apprehended plead out.                 
 Senator Taylor advised members that was a felony murder in that               
 state; a gun was used, a crime was committed and death occurred               
 during the commission of a felony, which carried the death penalty            
 in that state.  Senator Taylor asked if it was not funny that the             
 state did not spend a dime on anyone of those trial because all               
 three plead out to the charges.  The least that any of those                  
 offenders got was an 18 year old who plead out so he could get 40             
 years to serve.  Senator Taylor asked how many millions of dollars            
 were saved, in that state, in those three cases.  He felt members             
 would have to ask themselves why anyone would plead guilty in order           
 to get 40 years to serve.  Senator Taylor advised members that                
 because two or three years before that, the state of Florida                  
 executed Ted Bundy and the statute those offenders were charged               
 with would have resulted in their execution too.  They knew that              
 their choice was that they would either "fry", or they would get a            
 chance, so they plead out to a lesser type sentence.                          
 SENATOR TAYLOR pointed out that no one would provide those numbers,           
 and added that the Attorney General's office or the district                  
 attorneys office would not bring those numbers because those were             
 the people that blew how many millions of dollars attempting to               
 convict Mr. Peel.                                                             
 SENATOR TAYLOR thought it might be necessary to sit and listen more           
 carefully when Senator Jerry Ward tells about the young Native box            
 boy working at the Carr's Supermarket where he worked, his buddy,             
 who when he left work one night a fellow named Ed Meech [Ph] was              
 waiting for him outside and beat him to death in the parking lot.             
 Ed Meech went to jail, the state incarcerated him and then turned             
 him loose about 20 years later so he could shot-gun to death four             
 Anchorage youths in Russian Jack Park.                                        
 SENATOR TAYLOR emphasized that if someone in the room had a bill              
 that had anything to do with the fiscal notes, he would like to               
 discuss that bill, and discuss how the state would end up trying              
 more capital cases in Alaska than California did in a year.  He               
 pointed out that that was what the "note" was based on.                       
 SENATOR TAYLOR advised members that, "if in fact we want to talk              
 about the bill I brought to your committee, it's got a fiscal note            
 on it; it tells you exactly what it's going to cost to put it on              
 the ballot.  Now, if you want to be an advocacy group and go out              
 and advocate against it, that's you're right, God bless you, I wish           
 you luck.  That's what this is, this is merely advocacy;                      
 speculation on how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, and            
 I can't even get a chance to see the pin that these people are                
 estimating this on.  Are they taking the average death penalty                
 statute among 27 different states that have it?  That'd be an                 
 interesting bill, wouldn't it, Mr. Chairman, I mean, how do we do             
 that?  Every single one of these states have little, subtle nuances           
 and differences, both within their laws and within their statutes.            
 Some of the death penalty states have very, very narrow statutes              
 that would only involve heinous offenses and killing police                   
 officers.  Some of the other states have very broad statutes that             
 allow it on any felony death, felony murder rule.  Two kids hold up           
 a Seven Eleven and one of them goes running out of the place and              
 drops his gun and it kills some innocent bystander; it's a felony             
 murder.  In some states that could get you the death penalty.  I              
 don't know that I'd be willing to go that far in drafting a death             
 penalty bill.   I don't know how many of you would.  I don't know             
 how many of us would want to have one that was just limited to                
 really heinous offenses or just limited to police officers, or                
 officers in our corrections facilities.  I don't have any idea how            
 that might -- might move around here.                                         
 "But you see, if I don't have any idea about that, where did all              
 these ideas come from, and what bill are they based on?  And if               
 they're not based on my bill, it's a great discussion; it's                   
 something that -- part of the public debate that needs to take                
 place on this bill as it moves towards a decision by the public.              
 And I can guarantee the members of this committee, the advocacy               
 groups that are available to debate this subject are ready, willing           
 and able to do it.  And I'm sure we're going to see a very                    
 extensive debate of the issue, but we have to get to the issue                
 first.  I would really appreciate the committee moving the bill as            
 is, and if, in fact, there is a different fiscal note that needs to           
 be placed, or financial consideration that needs to be placed on              
 it, I think that's why we have a Finance Committee."                          
 Number 1670                                                                   
 CHAIRMAN GREEN expressed to Senator Taylor that he thought they               
 were mixing apples and oranges; one, talking about a fiscal note              
 that would put the question on the ballot, versus educating the               
 people as to what reinstatement of the death penalty might cost, of           
 which there was a significant difference.                                     
 SENATOR TAYLOR responded that if they were going to educate the               
 people as to what it might cost, it would be necessary to know what           
 the people were being educated on.  He asked if it was the                    
 California death penalty, the Florida death penalty, or the Georgia           
 death penalty.  Senator Taylor pointed out that he could not tell             
 because there was no way to debate the numbers with the committee             
 because he did not know what they were based on.  He advised                  
 members that if he knew what the numbers were based on he could               
 call up that state and get information from them on how many cases            
 get charged as a capital murder, and how many plead out to first or           
 second degree murder that did not carry a capital punishment.                 
 Senator Taylor reiterated that he did not know the answer to that,            
 and if he did, he could say, "Look at the savings involved here,              
 cause see, our prosecutors are limited to only one charge.  We do             
 not have capital offenses, and as a consequence, anytime you get              
 into a situation where there is a multiple murder, you know that              
 you're looking at somebody that's probably going get the                      
 opportunity to serve two 90 plus year sentences."  Senator Taylor             
 expressed that to a defense attorney, that was a death sentence               
 because the state would put that person in a "cage" for the rest of           
 their life, and they would only come out of that "cage" in a body             
 bag.  How could that be called anything else but a death sentence.            
 SENATOR TAYLOR advised members that it was kind of like buying life           
 insurance; people like to call it life insurance.  He advised                 
 members if someone was handed down a sentence of life in prison,              
 that person would not be coming out of prison, they would die in              
 prison.  "We don't say, death in prison sentence.  It's like the              
 life insurance salesman, he doesn't say I'm selling you death                 
 insurance because you collect when you die, I'm selling you life              
 insurance ...."                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN made note that the conversation had digressed from             
 the question.                                                                 
 Number 1751                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT advised Senator Taylor the committee was                 
 discussing his bill, SB 60, and his amendment to the Senator's bill           
 which would allow people to know the cost of the death penalty.  He           
 noted that Senator Taylor made a persuasive argument for having the           
 death penalty, and felt the Senator would continue to do so.                  
 Representative Croft explained that the amendment was attempting to           
 put on the ballot, as they would with any other item that costs the           
 people of Alaska money, what the committee felt implementation of             
 the death penalty would cost the state.                                       
 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT pointed out that he was not in the habit of              
 defending the Hickel Administration; however, he would have to say            
 that they were not an advocacy group against the death penalty, but           
 the opposite.  What the committee looked back to was what that                
 administration had estimated the cost of the death penalty to be;             
 an administration that wanted the death penalty.                              
 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT advised members that he did not know                     
 California, Georgia or Florida's statute either, nor which one the            
 state of Alaska would end up adopting.  What did appear to be                 
 consistent were the costs involved.  He noted that the Senator                
 could make his arguments as to why the death penalty did not cost,            
 but that had not been the experience of the states with the death             
 penalty, nor had it been an estimation of either a pro or anti                
 death penalty administration that it would not cost.                          
 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT explained that, through his amendment, he                
 wanted to place some reasonable estimate of the cost before the               
 people when the legislature asks them to make the decision.  He               
 noted that the amendment provided for involvement by the                      
 Legislative Budget and Audit Committee, the numbers on the document           
 were not necessarily the final numbers.  It provides that the                 
 departments bring those numbers back after consultation with the              
 Legislative Budget and Audit Committee.  Representative Croft did             
 not believe there was anything unfair in the discussion about                 
 providing a good faith estimate of the price tag involved in having           
 capital punishment in the state of Alaska.                                    
 Number 1830                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ stated that he thought Senator Taylor                
 raised an interesting point when he said that we did not know what            
 cases would qualify for the death penalty.  He stated with that               
 being the case, how could the voters know what the simple question            
 in front of them was.                                                         
 SENATOR TAYLOR felt the question posed by Representative Berkowitz            
 demeaned the public because he felt the people knew what they                 
 wanted when they elected their state representatives.  "How did               
 they know what the cost was going to be of electing a Berkowitz?              
 How did they know what the cost was going to be of electing a                 
 Taylor?  They didn't."                                                        
 SENATOR TAYLOR advised members they were asking about a concept,              
 and it was the concept that was the question.  He stated that it              
 was a very simple question and a very simple concept, not                     
 complicated at all.  Senator Taylor pointed out that they were                
 dealing with the youngest, most highly educated population in the             
 United States of America, and he had a great deal of faith that               
 they could figure out the question.  He did not believe the voting            
 population was naive to not realizing there would additional costs            
 to a death penalty system.  Senator Taylor thought the people were            
 very sophisticated about the entire question, in fact, he stated              
 that if members watched TV, read newspaper articles or read                   
 magazines over that past year, that he had seen more television               
 programs on the death penalty coming from one side or the other of            
 the issue than he had seen in his entire life.                                
 Number 1928                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ pointed out that Senator Taylor                      
 characterized in his sponsor statement the bill being akin to a               
 poll.  It seemed to Representative Berkowitz that without adequate            
 concern for the form of the question, it just winds up being a                
 "push poll."                                                                  
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked if Representative Berkowitz thought the                  
 question begged an answer, one way or another, and asked if he                
 thought the question was biased in one way.                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ believed it was biased because it was                
 inadequate in its totality; did not set predicate, did not explain            
 the conditions or the terms.                                                  
 SENATOR TAYLOR pointed out that the words were not his, the bill              
 had been through several different crafters.  To him it appeared to           
 be a very objective statement, that you either vote for or against            
 the issue being posed.  He noted that he realized there were a                
 number of ramifications to the issue on both sides, which he had no           
 quarrel with.  Senator Taylor did not know how it could be stated             
 anymore simply.  He stated that if it was reworded to state                   
 something like; "There's lots of evil, awful mean people running              
 around out there today, and lots of them kill little tiny children,           
 and rape and pillage, and so on; do you believe some of these                 
 people ought to be put to death?"  Senator Taylor thought, in that            
 case, they would be talking a pretty good push.  He stated that it            
 could be written the other way; the court system makes mistakes and           
 there were all sorts of problems out there, so should something be            
 done that would be final; which might be a bit of a push as well,             
 from the other side.                                                          
 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ noted that there was a Dittman Poll                  
 included in the bill packets in which the question provided an                
 alternative between life without parole and the death penalty;                
 which would you choose.  He believed the question formed in that              
 manner had less push.                                                         
 SENATOR TAYLOR felt that was really a jury question.  He advised              
 members that in many states it was the jury that sets the penalty             
 in a capital case, and they would have to make the decision of                
 death, or life without parole.  Senator Taylor pointed out that the           
 advocates for that question always try to twist it around and say;            
 "See, the public didn't really know they had this other choice."              
 Senator Taylor continued to state; "You can't be alive in Alaska,             
 read a newspaper and not know that you've got that choice.  We see            
 significant sentences reported in the press in Alaska, very often,            
 sentences that will go 200, 300 years.  Well, you know looking at             
 that, with one third good time he still isn't going to make it out            
 of there."  Senator Taylor did not believe the public was that                
 naive, nor did he believe it was a poorly drawn question, and added           
 that the bill drafters could not find a more objective way to draft           
 the language.                                                                 
 Number 2060                                                                   
 CHAIRMAN GREEN reiterated the analogy of a person who wanted to buy           
 a car; car "A", or car "B", and the first thing most people ask,              
 even though car "B" was a much nicer looking car, was how much does           
 it cost.  Chairman Green felt that was the thrust of the amendment;           
 to allow the people to have a reasonable idea that there were two             
 alternatives to keep a serious criminal off the streets and one was           
 a whole lot more expensive than the other.  That was what Chairman            
 Green felt the people ought to be aware of when considering such a            
 question placed on an advisory ballot.                                        
 SENATOR TAYLOR advised members if that were true he would not mind.           
 He asked who, 20 to 25 years in the state of Alaska, would have               
 believed the state would be spending the kind of money it was                 
 spending per prisoner today, and then figure out the cost of                  
 keeping the prisoner around for 50 years, or 20 years, to keep                
 him/her healthy, sitting in a cage with everyone sitting there                
 watching the prisoner waiting for him/her to die.  Senator Taylor             
 stated that death by natural causes in a case, was apparently                 
 satisfactory to the people today.  Senator Taylor suggested that              
 they compare that with what the cost of the trial would be, because           
 the only thing that could be charged out different was the cost of            
 the trial and the appellate process.  So, was there an increase?              
 Senator Taylor stated that there probably was if the state was                
 going keep an individual in jail for that length of time, but if              
 not, what would the state realize in savings.  Senator Taylor                 
 pointed out that the savings was not reflected in any of the fiscal           
 notes members had before them, and the single biggest savings he              
 was trying to explain to the committee, from real life experience             
 and he felt Representative Porter would agree, was what percentage            
 of cases, in general that get charged, actually result in trials.             
 Senator Taylor stated that the number of cases that actually went             
 to trial was minuscule; the majority of the cases charged were                
 plead out.  He expressed that if the state had to try every single            
 case, the judiciary would have to be twenty times larger that it              
 presently was.  Senator Taylor emphasized that the savings that               
 would be realized were huge when you add that additional tool.                
 SENATOR TAYLOR pointed out that if the state's prosecutors only had           
 the death penalty available to them, and chose never to use it, it            
 would be a huge savings in that case.                                         
 Number 2166                                                                   
 CHAIRMAN GREEN wondered who would have thought 25 or 30 years ago             
 that court trials would cost nearly as much as they presently did,            
 or professional baseball player's salaries be what they were today.           
 CHAIRMAN GREEN noted that Anne Carpeneti with the Criminal Division           
 of the Department of Law was in the audience, and he asked if she             
 wanted to discuss the fiscal note submitted by the Department of              
 Law; Ms. Carpeneti said she was available to answer questions.                
 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES pointed out that the election booklets always            
 contain a statement on both sides of the issue being presented to             
 the public, and she felt that would be the best place to disclose             
 the information provided in Amendment 1, SB 60.  She believed that            
 people in favor of the death penalty could then vote against it if            
 they felt the cost would prohibit the reinstatement of the death              
 penalty.  Representative James added that she was not aware of the            
 ratio of people who actually read the election booklet.                       
 CHAIRMAN GREEN noted that several people had signed up to testify;            
 however, testimony had been closed on the House version of the bill           
 and he felt additional testimony would be a repeat of previous                
 testimony because the bills were identical.  Chairman Green did               
 recognize one individual in the audience who was not able to                  
 testify previously, and in an effort to keep the scales balanced on           
 the committee's decision, invited Josh Fink to provide comments to            
 the committee.                                                                
 JOSH FINK, Intern, Alaskans Against the Death Penalty, expressed              
 that he realized the House Judiciary Committee had spent a                    
 considerable amount of time on the issue of the death penalty.  Mr.           
 Fink advised members there was a lot of misinformation, among the             
 public regarding the death penalty, that would impact people's                
 decision on how to vote on the question posed in SB 60.  Mr. Fink             
 felt it was incumbent that the public be informed and be given                
 information to allow for a reasonable and deliberate decision.                
 MR. FINK pointed out that polls had consistently shown why a                  
 majority of Alaskans support the death penalty, because those                 
 people believe that first degree murderers were out on the streets            
 within 20 years.  He stated that that was simply not true, that it            
 was impossible in the state of Alaska, and in fact, the average               
 sentence for murder in the first degree was 76 years imprisonment,            
 and the average age of conviction was 29 years old.  Mr. Fink                 
 pointed out that the public believed those individuals were                   
 released within 20 years and that was what would drive the vote.              
 MR. FINK further stated that the public thought the death penalty             
 was cheaper than incarceration.  He noted that Senator Taylor had             
 suggested there was no evidence of that, and Mr. Fink agreed that             
 it was difficult to narrow the costs down precisely; however, he              
 believed that the amendment before the committee and the                      
 information that had been provided was fair, reasonable and fairly            
 accurate.  Mr. Fink advised members that he had never seen a study            
 that suggested the death penalty was cheaper than life in prison.             
 He pointed out that there had been numerous studies that had                  
 indicated increased costs.  California, according to "Sacramento              
 Bee", reflected $90 million a year to provide a death penalty and             
 they estimated $15 million per execution.                                     
 MR. FINK advised members that the Dallas Morning News estimated               
 $2.3 million per execution, three times the cost of life in prison,           
 and the Miami Herald estimated $3.2 million, or 6 times the cost of           
 life in prison without parole.  So there were groups and                      
 researchers that had indicated the death penalty would result in              
 increased costs, which Mr. Fink thought was based on fairly                   
 reasonable and substantiated grounds.                                         
 MR. FINK recommended that members adopt the proposed amendment, and           
 expressed his appreciation of the time and effort the House                   
 Judiciary Committee had put into a very difficult issue.  He felt             
 it was critical that if the question went forward that the public             
 be provided some information to make a deliberate and reasoned                
 choice.  Mr. Fink advised members that he was clearly convinced,              
 with the misconceptions among public, that there would need to be             
 a serious campaign effort, although he was not sure the resources             
 were available to educate the people of the state, and to the                 
 extent the House Judiciary Committee could ensure that some basic             
 information was provided in the question, he felt was extremely               
 Number 2327                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE reiterated the statement made by                         
 Representative James regarding both sides of the issue would be               
 presented in the election pamphlet, and with the amount of lobbying           
 the committee had received on the issue, he could not believe there           
 would not be an incredible amount of lobbying done, on both sides             
 of the issue, if it would come to a public vote.  He expressed that           
 he was not quite sure why there would be the concern that people              
 would not be informed on the issue.                                           
 MR. FINK noted that members, being involved themselves in                     
 campaigns, were aware that it was a costly process, it took a lot             
 of energy and effort to get a message to the public, and was                  
 generally harder to raise money for causes than it was for                    
 individual candidates.  He felt the resources might be out there              
 and there would be an effort; however, it would be difficult to               
 mount the kind of campaign to get the education out to the public             
 that would overcome the existing misinformation.  Mr. Fink stated             
 that he was not sure the resources were available to effectively              
 get the message out.  He pointed out that if the legislature was              
 going to move forward with the question, he did not understand why            
 there would be an objection to provide what were reasonable                   
 estimates from two different administrations; one opposed, one in             
 favor of the death penalty who, basically arrived at the same                 
 Number 2442                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE agreed that he did not object to provide                 
 information, which was to him a given, that it cost more to execute           
 a person than to keep them in prison for life.  He asked Mr. Fink             
 if the information was provided on the ballot, and if the public,             
 with the knowledge that the death penalty was more expensive than             
 life in prison but chose to support the death penalty, would the              
 organization Mr. Fink represented accept the death penalty, or                
 would they still be advocating against it.                                    
 MR. FINK responded that he was not capable of speaking for the                
 organization on that question.  He advised members that personally,           
 he had no problem with the public voting on the question fully                
 informed, and added that he also had no doubt they would vote                 
 against it if they were fully informed.                                       
 Number 2442                                                                   
 CHAIRMAN GREEN noted that there were bond issues which held a                 
 significant amount of pro and con views, and pointed out that the             
 bond issues did not pose a straight forward question such as "Do we           
 need a bond issue for schools?"  Those do include numbers for the             
 public's information, so when they vote, they vote knowingly what             
 it was going to cost.                                                         
 TAPE 97-81, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN GREEN reiterated that the House Judiciary Committee had              
 taken significant testimony on the issue, as well as hearing the              
 pro and con views on the moral issue of the death penalty, which              
 was one of the reasons he would not take more public testimony on             
 the bill.  He noted that the bill also had another committee of               
 referral to the House Finance Committee which would allow for                 
 further testimony on the proposed legislation.                                
 CHAIRMAN GREEN advised members with respect to SJR 3 - PRISONER               
 RIGHTS LIMITED TO FEDERAL RIGHTS, that he felt the committee was              
 probably not sufficiently knowledgeable on the issue and it was his           
 decision not to consider the bill until they received a response              
 from the study committee.  With that, Amendment 1, SB 60 was before           
 the committee and Representative Croft would provide a final                  
 statement on the amendment.                                                   
 Number 068                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT advised members that the amendment was not               
 attempting to provide a full education in the ballot question, nor            
 present the voter pamphlet information in the question, but simply            
 an attempt to put the best estimate possible on the cost of the               
 death penalty on the question.  He pointed out that all the other             
 arguments, pro and con, could be thrashed out in public debate, in            
 the voter pamphlet and in whatever other forum that might take                
 Number 102                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if Representative Croft would consider a                 
 friendly conceptual amendment to proposed Amendment 1, somewhere              
 between lines 12 to 14, to include a statement that would reflect             
 that the cost estimate was borne out by reviews of other states who           
 had found their cost range of two to five times more than life in             
 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT advised members he would accept that as a                
 friendly amendment to Amendment 1.                                            
 CHAIRMAN GREEN pointed out that if it was found that those costs              
 were not there, it could be stricken.  His intent was to state that           
 it was not just a local estimate, but actually fell into the same             
 range of that of the states in the Lower 48.                                  
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG objected to the conceptual amendment to               
 Amendment 1, and asked that the Chairman explain his intent                   
 CHAIRMAN GREEN explained that, prior to Representative Rokeberg's             
 arrival, the committee had shown from two different                           
 administrations, one in favor of the death penalty and one opposed,           
 that the cost for carrying out the act would be something in the              
 nature of $4 million.  And the cost of incarceration for 45 years             
 amounted to a cost to the state of approximately $1.7 million.                
 Chairman Green advised Representative Rokeberg that that provided             
 a ratio of how much more it would cost the state to put someone to            
 death versus imposing a sentence of life in prison.  Sentencing a             
 prisoner to death would cost the state approximately two times more           
 than imposing a life sentence without parole.  Chairman Green                 
 explained that the point of his friendly amendment would provide              
 additional evidence that studies of states who had the death                  
 penalty in the Lower 48 reflected that the death penalty cost two             
 to five times more than life in prison without parole.                        
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG advised members that he would not attempt             
 to support anything like that unless the ballot also reflected the            
 costs of incarceration.                                                       
 CHAIRMAN GREEN stated that the ballot would reflect those cost                
 figures, as well, so the public would have the opportunity to                 
 compare the two respective costs to the state.                                
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG removed his objection.  There being no                
 objection, the conceptual amendment to Amendment 1 was adopted.               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN advised members Amendment 1, as amended was now                
 before the committee and asked if there were any objections to the            
 adoption of Amendment 1.                                                      
 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES objected to the adoption of Amendment 1, SB
 60, so a roll call vote was taken.  In favor:  Representatives                
 Porter, Croft, Berkowitz and Chairman Green.  Opposed:                        
 Representatives Bunde, Rokeberg and James.  Amendment 1, SB 60 was            
 adopted by a vote of 4 to 3.                                                  
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE moved to report HCS SB 60 (JUD) out of                   
 committee with individual recommendations.                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ objected for the purpose of making a                 
 statement.  He advised members that he was uncomfortable with the             
 idea of taking advisory votes.  Representative Berkowitz felt that            
 in a way it abdicated the responsibility of a state legislator to             
 do it simply as a way of polling the public on one particular issue           
 where extensive polls already existed.  He felt it was                        
 unnecessarily contentious, and he did not like being pressured that           
 somehow members were just weather vane figures who were going to go           
 with the direction of the political winds.  Representative                    
 Berkowitz advised members that he was opposed to the bill, and                
 noted that the legislature was not taking advisory votes on other             
 difficult issues, but were singling out this one particular issue             
 which seemed to him was politically motivated, and he did not care            
 to be a part of that.                                                         
 Number 370                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES stated not speaking for the issue at hand, but           
 no one would find her voting against putting something out for the            
 public to make a decision on.  She pointed out that she had faith             
 in the public, and believed that government was of the people and             
 she had no problem with conducting an advisory vote on any issue.             
 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ advised members that he had no problem               
 with the public weighing in on issues, or with the public providing           
 direction; however, the concept of an advisory vote seemed to him             
 not what the initiative process was all about.                                
 CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if the objection to moving HCS SB 60(JUD) out            
 of committee was maintained.  Representative Berkowitz maintained             
 his objection, so a roll call vote was taken.  In favor:                      
 Representatives Bunde, Porter, Rokeberg and James.  Chairman Green            
 reluctantly voted in favor.  Opposed:  Representatives Croft and              
 Berkowitz.  HCS SB 60(JUD) was reported out of the House Judiciary            
 Committee with a vote of 5 to 2.                                              
 CHAIRMAN GREEN reiterated that information relating to SJR 3 was              
 not yet available, so that bill would not be considered at the                
 present time.                                                                 
 Number 434                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN GREEN announced to members that this was the final meeting           
 of the House Judiciary Standing Committee, First Session of the               
 Twentieth Legislature.  With nothing further to come before the               
 committee, Chairman Green adjourned the meeting at 10:45 a.m.                 

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