Legislature(2019 - 2020)GRUENBERG 120

03/20/2019 01:30 PM JUDICIARY

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Audio Topic
02:18:00 PM Start
02:18:44 PM HB14
02:44:06 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Delayed to 2:15 pm --
+ HB 14 ASSAULT; SEX OFFENSES; SENT. AGGRAVATOR TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
Commission on Judicial Conduct
<Above Item Removed from Agenda>
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 20, 2019                                                                                         
                           2:18 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Matt Claman, Chair                                                                                               
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux, Vice Chair                                                                                     
Representative Chuck Kopp                                                                                                       
Representative Laddie Shaw                                                                                                      
Representative David Eastman                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Louise Stutes                                                                                                    
Representative Adam Wool                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 14                                                                                                               
"An Act relating to assault in  the first degree; relating to sex                                                               
offenses; relating  to the definition of  'dangerous instrument';                                                               
and  providing  for  an  aggravating  factor  at  sentencing  for                                                               
strangulation that results in unconsciousness."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB  14                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: ASSAULT; SEX OFFENSES; SENT. AGGRAVATOR                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) LINCOLN                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
02/20/19       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/7/19                                                                                
02/20/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/20/19       (H)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
02/28/19       (H)       STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
02/28/19       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/28/19       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/07/19       (H)       STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
03/07/19       (H)       Moved CSHB 14(STA) Out of Committee                                                                    
03/07/19       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/08/19       (H)       STA RPT CS(STA) 7DP                                                                                    
03/08/19       (H)       DP: VANCE, LEDOUX, WOOL, SHAW, STORY,                                                                  
                         KREISS-TOMKINS, FIELDS                                                                                 
03/20/19       (H)       JUD AT 1:30 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN LINCOLN                                                                                                     
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced HB 14 as prime sponsor.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
ROSE FOLEY, Staff                                                                                                               
Representative John Lincoln                                                                                                     
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented the sectional analysis of HB 14                                                                
on behalf of Representative Lincoln, prime sponsor.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
ISAAC WILLIAMS                                                                                                                  
No More Free Passes (NMFP)                                                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 14.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
JAENELL MANCHESTER                                                                                                              
49th Rising                                                                                                                     
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 14.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CARMEN LOWRY, Executive Director                                                                                                
Alaska Network of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (ANDVSA)                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 14.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MARILYN CASTEEL, Executive Director                                                                                             
Safe and Free Environment (SAFE)                                                                                                
Dillingham, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 14.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
KACI SCHROEDER                                                                                                                  
Assistant Attorney General                                                                                                      
Criminal Division                                                                                                               
Department of Law                                                                                                               
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions during the hearing on HB                                                              
14.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:18:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MATT  CLAMAN called the House  Judiciary Standing Committee                                                             
meeting to  order at  2:18 p.m.   Representatives  Eastman, Shaw,                                                               
LeDoux, Kopp, and Claman were present at the call to order.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
         HB  14-ASSAULT; SEX OFFENSES; SENT. AGGRAVATOR                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:18:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN announced  that the only order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL NO.  14  "An Act  relating to  assault  in the  first                                                               
degree; relating to  sex offenses; relating to  the definition of                                                               
'dangerous instrument';  and providing for an  aggravating factor                                                               
at    sentencing    for    strangulation    that    results    in                                                               
unconsciousness."  Before the  committee was CSHB14(STA), Version                                                               
31-LS0182\G.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:19:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   JOHN   LINCOLN,    Alaska   State   Legislature,                                                               
introduced HB  14 as  prime sponsor.   He  read from  his sponsor                                                               
statement [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     House   Bill  14   (HB  14)   classifies  the   act  of                                                                    
     ejaculating on a person without  their consent as a sex                                                                    
     crime   and   recognizes    the   serious   nature   of                                                                    
     strangulation  to  the   point  of  unconsciousness  by                                                                    
     classifying  the  act  as   first  degree  assault  and                                                                    
     including  it in  the list  of aggravating  factors for                                                                    
     sentencing.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     In the fall  of 2018 a plea  deal agreement illuminated                                                                    
     the  fact that  ejaculating on  a person  without their                                                                    
     consent could  not be  prosecuted as  a sex  offense in                                                                    
     Alaska. This  bill enhances sexual assault  statutes by                                                                    
     adding   unwanted  contact   with   ejaculate  to   the                                                                    
     definitions of  sexual assault in the  third degree and                                                                    
     sexual abuse of a minor  in the third degree, depending                                                                    
     on the age of the victim.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     HB   14   also    acknowledges   the   seriousness   of                                                                    
     strangulation. Strangulation  is prevalent  in domestic                                                                    
     violence  incidences,  and  56% of  women  murdered  in                                                                    
     Alaska in  2017 were killed  by an intimate  partner. A                                                                    
     study published  by the  Journal of  Emergency Medicine                                                                    
     found that a prior  non-fatal strangulation increases a                                                                    
     woman's  likelihood of  becoming a  homicide victim  by                                                                    
     700%,  and  non-fatal  strangulation  preceded  43%  of                                                                    
     domestic  homicides. This  bill recognizes  the gravity                                                                    
     of  strangulation  as  a precursor  to  future  violent                                                                    
     crimes.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LINCOLN thanked  organizations  that helped  with                                                               
crafting  HB  14  including  49th Rising,  No  More  Free  Passes                                                               
(NMFP), the Alaska Network on  Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault                                                               
(ANDVSA),  the  Public Defender  Agency,  the  Department of  Law                                                               
(DOL), and several co-sponsors.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:21:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROSE  FOLEY, Staff,  Representative  John  Lincoln, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, paraphrased  the sectional analysis included  in the                                                               
committee packet, which read:                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Section   1:   Amends  AS   11.41.200(a),   classifying                                                                  
     strangulation  to  the   point  of  unconsciousness  as                                                                    
     assault in the first degree.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Section 2: Amends  AS 11.81.900(b)(15), clarifying that                                                                  
     "dangerous instrument"  with relation  to strangulation                                                                    
     includes hands or "other body parts".                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Section 3:  Amends AS  11.81.900(b)(60), to  include in                                                                  
     the  definition  of  sexual  contact  "the  defendant's                                                                    
     knowingly causing the victim  to come into contact with                                                                    
     ejaculate".                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Section    4:    Amends   AS    12.55.155(c),    adding                                                                  
     strangulation to  the point  of unconsciousness  to the                                                                    
     list  of  aggravating  factors   to  be  considered  at                                                                    
     sentencing.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Section   5:  Establishes   that  the   provisions  are                                                                  
     applicable  only to  crimes committed  on or  after the                                                                    
     effective date of the legislation.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:22:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN opened public testimony on HB 14.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:23:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ISAAC WILLIAMS, No More Free  Passes (NMFP), testified in support                                                               
of  HB 14,  which  he  said would  restore  public confidence  by                                                               
closing loopholes exposed in the  Justin Schneider case.  He said                                                               
NMFP is  pleased with  how the  bill addresses  strangulation; he                                                               
called it   one of  the most dangerous  and horrific  things that                                                               
can happen  to a victim.    He stated that NMFP  supports changes                                                               
made  to the  companion  bill  [ heard  in  the Senate  Judiciary                                                               
Standing  Committee.   These changes  include an  added provision                                                               
requiring a prosecutor  to make a reasonable effort  to contact a                                                               
victim about a potential plea  deal.  He described another change                                                               
that  would  address  strangulation   that  does  not  result  in                                                               
unconsciousness.     He  said  a  third   change  would  increase                                                               
penalties for  strangulation from 0 to  2 years to 1  to 3 years.                                                               
He asked  the committee to consider  incorporating those changes.                                                               
He  thanked the  committee for  hearing  HB 14  and stressed  its                                                               
importance.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:26:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JAENELL  MANCHESTER,  49th Rising,  described  49th  Rising as  a                                                               
nonpartisan organization  working "to make  Alaska as safe  as it                                                               
is beautiful."  She said Alaska  has the highest rate of reported                                                               
sexual  assault in  the country.    She relayed  a University  of                                                               
Alaska Anchorage  Justice Center  study that  found one  in every                                                               
three  Alaska  women  has  experienced  sexual  violence  in  her                                                               
lifetime.   She characterized those numbers  as  underestimates.                                                                
She  said 49th  Rising supports  HB 14  because it  would address                                                               
statutory deficiencies  regarding strangulation.  She  noted that                                                               
strangulation  leaves  a devastating  impact  on  victims and  is                                                               
often  associated  with  sexual   and  domestic  violence.    She                                                               
mentioned a study  that found that women who  have been strangled                                                               
are seven times more likely  to be victims of attempted homicide.                                                               
She  described  the  internal  injuries   that  can  result  from                                                               
strangulation.     She  added   that  the   psychological  trauma                                                               
associated  with  strangulation can  cause  a  victim to  attempt                                                               
suicide.   She  remarked that  HB 14  would also  close statutory                                                               
loopholes  relating  to   nonconsensual  contact  with  ejaculate                                                               
matter.   She  referenced the  Schneider case  and described  the                                                               
traumatizing effect of unpunished nonconsensual contact.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:28:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CARMEN  LOWRY, Executive  Director,  Alaska  Network of  Domestic                                                               
Violence  and   Sexual  Assault   (ANDVSA),  said  ANDVSA   is  a                                                               
membership-based  organization  comprised of  24  community-based                                                               
organizations  providing  life-saving  services  to  victims  and                                                               
survivors  of domestic  violence and  sexual assault.   She  said                                                               
ANDVSA supports  HB 14.   She thanked Representative  Lincoln for                                                               
introducing the bill and the committee  for hearing it.  She said                                                               
frequent  discussion  of sexual  violence  will  help dispel  the                                                               
culture of silence that makes it a difficult topic to broach.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  LOWRY said  she  is mindful  that  legislation dealing  with                                                               
these issues is  brought to the forefront  "because of victims...                                                               
[and] survivors."   She cited the  Schneider case as well  as the                                                               
murder   of  Ashley   Johnson-Barr.     Ms.  Lowry   discussed  a                                                               
conversation with Ashley  Johnson-Barr's father.  She  said it is                                                               
good to  see strangulation recognized in  HB 14.  She  noted that                                                               
it requires  only 10 seconds  for a strangulation victim  to lose                                                               
consciousness.     She  added  that   she  feels   the  provision                                                               
addressing  nonconsensual  contact  with  ejaculate  is  critical                                                               
because of  the fear  and intimidation that  results from  such a                                                               
situation.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:32:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARILYN CASTEEL,  Executive Director,  Safe and  Free Environment                                                               
(SAFE), identified  herself as  Alaska Native  and a  survivor of                                                               
domestic   assault.     She  said,   according   to  the   Alaska                                                               
Victimization Survey  for the Bristol  Bay region, she is  one of                                                               
50  percent of  adult women  in  the region  to have  experienced                                                               
intimate partner  violence, sexual violence,  or both.   She said                                                               
SAFE is  a member  of ANDVSA  and that, in  fiscal year  2018, it                                                               
provided sex abuse services to 193  adults and 36 children in the                                                               
Bristol Bay region.  She affirmed  SAFE's support of HB 14, which                                                               
she said  recognizes the lethality  and impact  of strangulation,                                                               
specifically in  sex cases.  She  said HB 14 also  recognizes the                                                               
danger  that "other  body parts"  pose as  dangerous instruments.                                                               
She said  she supports making  it a  sex offense to  ejaculate on                                                               
someone without consent.   She added that a  person convicted for                                                               
that  crime should  be required  to register  as a  sex offender.                                                               
She said it  is good to know  that she is a  strong Alaska Native                                                               
woman who is  able to speak on behalf of  all victims of violence                                                               
who cannot and  do not have a voice.   She reaffirmed her support                                                               
for the bill.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:35:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN, after  ascertaining  that no  one  else wished  to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony on HB 14.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:36:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN asked  how  contact"  will be  defined as                                                               
used in section 3.  He asked if  it has to be direct or if it can                                                               
be indirect.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KACI  SCHROEDER, Assistant  Attorney General,  Criminal Division,                                                               
Department of  Law, said "contact" would  be defined as it  is in                                                               
Webster's  Dictionary   and  that   it  would   essentially  mean                                                             
"touching."  She  noted that, in the context  of the legislation,                                                               
it  is "touching  with the  substance that  is named  ... in  the                                                               
bill."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:37:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  referred to  section 2, which  relates to                                                               
AS   11.81.900(b)(15)   and    the   definition   of   "dangerous                                                               
instrument."   He asked as to  the purpose of subparagraph  B and                                                               
why the items  mentioned therein are not  already incorporated in                                                               
subparagraph A.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. SCHROEDER  said subparagraph B  was added "a number  of years                                                               
ago" specifically to target strangulation.   She said that, while                                                               
it may appear upon initial  reading that subparagraph A may cover                                                               
that, there  was debate  about whether  that was  the case.   She                                                               
said, rather  than litigate the  issue, the decision was  made to                                                               
ask the  legislature to change the  law to make clear  that hands                                                               
could be identified as a dangerous instrument.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:39:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN asked  a question  regarding how  statute                                                               
distinguishes  between  unwanted  sexual contact  and  consensual                                                               
sexual   contact.     He  noted   that  some   jurisdictions  are                                                               
comprehensive  in detailing  the  expression of  consent for  any                                                               
type of sexual  event.  He asked how the  language proposed by HB                                                               
14 would be interpreted in this regard.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SCHROEDER  said  Alaska   sexual  assault  statutes  require                                                               
conduct to  be "without consent,"  which is  specifically defined                                                               
as "with or  without resisting, the victim is coerced  by the use                                                               
of force  against person  or property by  the express  or implied                                                               
threat of  death, imminent physical  injury, or kidnapping  to be                                                               
inflicted on  anyone, or  if the victim  is incapacitated  by the                                                               
actions of  the defendant."   She  said DOL  is required  to meet                                                               
that definition to charge sexual assault.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:41:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  asked  if  this  statute  would  cover  a                                                               
situation  in  which  an  offender  ejaculates  into  a  victim's                                                               
handbag.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SCHROEDER said  the statute  in question  relates to  sexual                                                               
assault, which requires "without  consent" which in turn requires                                                               
some  force.     She  said  she   does  not  see  any   force  in                                                               
Representative  LeDoux's hypothetical  so she  does not  think it                                                               
would qualify.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX asked "even if it's without consent?                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SCHROEDER said  "without consent"  has a  specific statutory                                                               
definition.    She  said  the  hypothetical  situation  does  not                                                               
include  the  necessary coercion  or  force  required for  it  to                                                               
qualify.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX responded,  "It would  just be  disgusting                                                               
without being necessarily illegal."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. SCHROEDER  said it might  fall under the  harassment statute,                                                               
which is "with the intent to harass or annoy."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:42:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN recounted  an  incident  that took  place                                                               
during a  prison tour during which  an inmate threw semen  on his                                                               
friend.  He asked how the law would treat that situation.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. SCHROEDER  said she does  not think that  situation qualifies                                                               
as  sexual assault.    She said  the situation  is  more akin  to                                                               
harassment  in the  first degree,  which was  enacted to  protect                                                               
correctional officers.   She said harassment in  the first degree                                                               
is  a class  A misdemeanor.    She added  that  it is  not a  sex                                                               
offense and does not require sex offender registration.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:43:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN announced  that HB  14  would be  held for  further                                                               
review.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:44:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Judiciary Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 2:44 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB014 ver G 3.20.19.pdf HJUD 3/20/2019 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 4/15/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/16/2019 5:15:00 PM
HB 14
HB014 Sponsor Statement 3.20.19.pdf HJUD 3/20/2019 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 4/15/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/16/2019 5:15:00 PM
HB 14
HB014 Sectional Analysis ver G 3.20.19.pdf HJUD 3/20/2019 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 4/15/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/16/2019 5:15:00 PM
HB 14
HB014 Summary of Changes ver K to ver G 3.20.19.pdf HJUD 3/20/2019 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 4/15/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/16/2019 5:15:00 PM
HB 14
HB014 Supporting Document-Letters 3.20.19.pdf HJUD 3/20/2019 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 4/15/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/16/2019 5:15:00 PM
HB 14
HB014 Fiscal Note DHSS-PS 3.20.19.pdf HJUD 3/20/2019 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 4/15/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/16/2019 5:15:00 PM
HB 14
HB014 Fiscal Note LAW-CRIM 3.20.19.pdf HJUD 3/20/2019 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 4/15/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/16/2019 5:15:00 PM
HB 14
HB014 Fiscal Note DPS-DET 3.20.19.pdf HJUD 3/20/2019 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 4/15/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/16/2019 5:15:00 PM
HB 14
HB014 Fiscal Note DOA-OPA 3.20.19.pdf HJUD 3/20/2019 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 4/15/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/16/2019 5:15:00 PM
HB 14
HB014 Fiscal Note DOA-PDA 3.20.19.pdf HJUD 3/20/2019 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 4/15/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/16/2019 5:15:00 PM
HB 14
HB014 Fiscal Note DOC-IDO 3.20.19.pdf HJUD 3/20/2019 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 4/15/2019 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/16/2019 5:15:00 PM
HB 14