Legislature(1993 - 1994)
02/07/1994 01:40 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE February 7, 1994 1:40 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Robin Taylor, Chairman Senator Rick Halford, Vice-Chairman Senator George Jacko Senator Dave Donley Senator Suzanne Little MEMBERS ABSENT NONE COMMITTEE CALENDAR SENATE BILL NO. 221 "An Act relating to arrest of a person for illegal possession, consumption, or control of alcohol; and providing for an effective date." SENATE BILL NO. 127 "An Act authorizing capital punishment, classifying murder in the first degree as a capital felony, and establishing sentencing procedures for capital felonies; authorizing an advisory vote on instituting capital punishment; and providing for an effective date." PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION SB 221 - See Health, Education & Social Services minutes dated 1/19/94 and 1/24/94. SB 127 - See Judiciary minutes dated 11/16/93. WITNESS REGISTER Cheri Davis Alaskans for a Drug Free Youth P.O. Box 5723 Ketchikan, Alaska 99901 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 221. Lynda Adams Alaskans for a Drug Free Youth P.O. Box 7171 Ketchikan, Alaska 99901 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 221. C. E. Mallot Ketchikan Police Department 361 Main Street Ketchikan, Alaska 99901 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 221. Margo Knuth, Asst. Attorney General Criminal Division Department of Law Court Building #717 Juneau, Alaska 99811 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 221. Scott Sterling 900 Susitna Drive Wasilla, Alaska 99654 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SB 127. Alaska Linck, an Elder 666 10th Avenue Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 127. Ron Scharns Box 432 Petersburg, Alaska 99833 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SB 127. Jerry Blank P.O. Box 710 Valdez, Alaska 99686 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 127. First Sgt. Crawford Division of Alaska State Troopers 5700 E. Tudor Road Anchorage, Alaska 99507 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on SB 127. Kevin McCoy 1113 N Street Anchorage, Alaska 99501 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SB 127. Mrs. Dorthy Westphal P.O. Box 288 Sterling, Alaska 99672 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 127. Marla Adkins P.O. Box 461 Cordova, Alaska 99574 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 127. Brant McGee, Director Office of Public Advocacy 900 W. 5th 3525 Anchorage, Alaska 99501-2090 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SB 127. Mike Walleri, Attorney Tanana Chiefs Conference 122 1st Ave. Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SB 127. Constance Griffith 2509 4th Avenue Ketchikan, Alaska 99901 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SB 127. Averil Lerman 308 G Street #218 Anchorage, Alaska 99501 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SB 127. Dick Bogard HC 1, Box 228 Sterling, Alaska 99672 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 127. Kim McGee Anchorage Friends - Quakers 2428 Tudor Anchorage, Alaska 99517 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SB 127. Dennis Halway Turnagain United Methodist Church 2372 Loussac Drive Anchorage, Alaska 99517 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SB 127. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 94-7, SIDE A Number 001 CHAIRMAN ROBIN TAYLOR called the Judiciary Committee meeting to order at 1:40 p.m. SENATOR TAYLOR introduced SB 221 (ARREST OF MINORS FOR CONSUMING ALCOHOL) and immediately turned to the Legislative Teleconference Network in Ketchikan, to hear CHERI DAVIS, representing Alaskans for a Drug Free Youth. MS. DAVIS expressed appreciation for SB 221, and she explained the problems encountered in Ketchikan without the provisions of the proposed legislation, but using local ordinances. She expressed concern for the safety of the young people in Ketchikan and urged the legislature to pass the bill as soon as possible. LYNDA ADAMS, Executive Director for Alaskans for a Drug Free Youth, explained, although the City of Ketchikan had an ordinance to help the problem with minors consuming within the city limits, the problem has still not been addressed outside the city. She thought the legislation would tighten up the whole island for minors, and she submitted additional support from the State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Advisory Board when it last met in Juneau. Number 053 LT. CHUCK MALLOT said the Ketchikan Police Department wishes to go on record in support of SB 221, and he described the consumption of alcohol by 20% of school age minors in Ketchikan. He quoted from case law that forbids the arrest of a minor, who appears under the influence of alcohol. The City of Ketchikan passed an emergency ordinance to assure the immediate safety of the young people who have been drinking, however; the ordinance only applies within the City of Ketchikan. MR. MALLOT urged the passage of SB 221 to extend this protection to the remainder of the First Judicial District. There being no others on the teleconference network to testify, SENATOR TAYLOR called on MARGO KNUTH, Asst. Attorney General, Criminal Division, Department of Law, to testify. Number 116 MS. KNUTH said the Department of Law very much supports the legislation, and she reviewed the arrest of minors consuming before the ruling by two judicial officers in the First Judicial District, which prohibits a warrantless arrest for a minor consuming, unless the alcohol is consumed in the presence of the officer. She said the legislation would return the law in the First Judicial District to protect the young people - instead of walking away from them. Both SENATOR JACKO and SENATOR LITTLE asked why there was a zero fiscal note. MS. KNUTH explained it was happening every where else in the State, except for the First Judicial District, where it was done until the last eight or nine months. She suggested that no arrest of minors consuming during that period might have saved money. SENATOR JACKO asked if a fiscal note reflected the cost of the activity. Number 158 MS. KNUTH said the fiscal note reflected the costs associated with the legislation, and SENATOR TAYLOR agreed. SENATOR LITTLE clarified the juvenile arrested for consuming would be turned over to their parents. MS. KNUTH explained the legislation does not address what happens to the minor after the warrantless arrest. SENATOR TAYLOR didn't think the parents intended, or society would support, an officer finding an obviously intoxicated young person on the street at night, the officer would issue a ticket, and walk away. He said this was happening in the First Judicial District. MS. KNUTH expressed her appreciation to the people of Ketchikan and Alaskans for a Drug Free Youth for their involvement in the alcohol problem, instead of just concentrating on the hard drugs. SENATOR TAYLOR added his appreciation, also. SENATOR JACKO moved to pass SENATE BILL NO. 221 from committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal note. Without objections, so ordered. SENATOR TAYLOR returned SB 127 (CAPITAL PUNISHMENT FOR MURDER) to committee and indicated there were several sites, Anchorage, Fairbanks, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Valdez, Cordova, and one OFFNET site, signed up to testify on the Legislative Teleconference Network. Number 196 SENATOR TAYLOR said it was his intention to present a committee substitute to the committee, that may reflect a compromise position between the existing legislation and concerns that have been expressed in a previous meeting. He explained everything had been deleted except for the advisory vote in the committee substitute. SENATOR TAYLOR clarified the committee substitute for SENATOR LITTLE and explained he was presenting the bill in this way, because he thought there was concern among the people of Alaska as to whether they truly wanted capital punishment. He asked for a sense of the committee before the bill was put forward. SENATOR JACKO explained he didn't support the legislation, because it represented a racial bias to his constituents. He also expressed concern for the high cost of capital punishment. SENATOR TAYLOR defended the bill saying it would just allowing a vote. SENATOR HALFORD moved to adopt the new committee substitute for SENATE BILL NO. 127(JUD). SENATOR DONLEY objected for purposes of questioning the bill. SENATOR LITTLE expressed her concern for both the changes in both the title and the body of the bill, and she clarified it was allowable to make such a substantial change in the legislation. Number 250 SENATOR DONLEY explained it was allowable to be entirely changed back in another committee or during floor action, too. He said he supported a more narrowly tailored death penalty for first degree murder, and he noted he had written the provision for 99 years without parole for three specific types of heinous crimes. SENATOR DONLEY said he was willing to go to the death penalty for those three categories of murder, but he felt the Judiciary Committee should be the committee to address the substantive issue other than just the advisory vote in the committee. He thought the committee should be considering the constitutional ramifications, because previous testimony had raised serious constitutional questions. He continued to explain his reasons for considering some of these questions in the Judiciary Committee, where there should be research and debate in a committee format. SENATOR TAYLOR agreed in some respects with SENATOR DONLEY'S reasons. SENATOR JACKO posed another objection, that by not dealing with the specifics of the death penalty included in the legislation brought through the legislative process, he felt the position of his constituents would not be represented in a statewide vote. He thought the side with the most money to present their side of the argument would carry the death penalty in a state wide vote. SENATOR TAYLOR asked if there were further objections to the adoption of the committee substitute, or whether the members preferred to discuss the bill and talk about the death penalty in general. SENATOR DONLEY suggested the function of the Judiciary Committee was to educate about the State constitutional questions presented by a death penalty. He explained the Alaska Supreme Court had addressed the issue indicia a few years ago, and he wanted to know if there was any legal scholar review or any comparable state constitutional provisions. SENATOR DONLEY said he hated to see the legislature go through the exercise of passing a death penalty law if it is subsequently going to be struck down by the court. He thought it might also be very expensive. Number 300 SENATOR TAYLOR agreed, but explained his reasons for trying to get an agreement on the bill in committee. SENATOR HALFORD expressed support for the original bill, but he would support the advisory vote if it would be the only one to get to the floor. SENATOR TAYLOR explained his reasons for wanting to expedite the bill, and SENATOR JACKO said it had a chilling effect on him. SENATOR DONLEY talked about the uncertainty of the bill as far as education on the constitutional issues before being faced with the decision of voting on the legislation. He thought the Judiciary Committee was an open forum for a productive session on the original legislation. SENATOR TAYLOR expressed his concern as chair after hearing the lack of consensus in the House, and suggested it didn't bode well for spending a great deal of time in the Senate, only to see it die in the House. He thought it better to focus on the central issue to let the people in Alaska tell the legislature what they wanted, and he reviewed the constitutional hurdles it would face. He explained no major changes would be made in the committee substitute, unless it was returned to the Judiciary Committee. SENATOR LITTLE said she would prefer to have more time to think about the changes and said she would be voting "no" just because she needed additional time. Number 350 SENATOR TAYLOR called for a vote on SENATOR HALFORD'S move to adopt the new committee substitute for SENATE BILL NO. 127(JUD). The roll was taken with the following results: SENATORS TAYLOR, HALFORD, and DONLEY voted "Yea," and SENATORS LITTLE and JACKO voted "Nay." SENATOR TAYLOR stated the motion carried. For the benefit of those on the teleconference network, SENATOR TAYLOR reviewed the committee substitute which would allow an advisory vote on capital punishment. He urged the people to testify on the substance of the bill. SENATOR DONLEY hoped people would be allowed to testify on either version, and SENATOR TAYLOR said there would be no limits. Since the room was filled with students, SENATOR LITTLE explained what had happened to the legislation to them. SENATOR DONLEY further explained the committee substitute was before the committee for discussion, but has not been passed from committee. SENATOR TAYLOR explained he would rotate through the sites to invite the witnesses to testify. SCOTT STERLING, Anchorage, said he was repeating the same testimony he gave to the House Judiciary Committee. He was testifying in opposition to the legislation because he thought it was (1) hypocritical to punish heinous crimes by means of a heinous crime, (2) research has not proven capital punishment as a deterrent, and (3) once inflicted, the death penalty is irreversible. Number 401 MR. STERLING'S fourth reason was the administration of capital punishment in law and practice is inconsistent with those who say it is based on a retribution theory. If the law would follow the retribution theory, it would mean punishment by death for all people convicted of premeditated murder, but would punish no other crime in that manner. He explained both the House and Senate bills had been justified on a theory of retribution, yet, it would permit a jury to distinguish between crimes and victim. Some people would get the death penalty and some wouldn't. MR. STERLING said the Eighth Amendment, Section 12 of the Alaska State Constitution forbids the retribution logic. His fifth reason dealt with research on who receives the death penalty which shows the penalty is not applied in proportion to the seriousness of the crime. He claimed death was imposed on a randomly selected sub-set of those convicted of capital offenses. Prosecutorial discretion in charging and plea bargaining virtually assures this randomness. MR. STERLING explained, before any death penalty bill is considered, the Department of Law should check the effects of racism, the appointment of inadequate defense counsel, and bias in the jury selection. He suggested legislators who represent Alaska Native constituencies should pay particular attention to these factors. For number six, MR. STERLING said, murders as a class, show a lower recidivism rate for their crimes, than do most classes of felons. He said there was no evidence that the death penalty, as opposed to long term imprisonment, is an effective deterrent. In summary, MR. STERLING suggested the legislators concentrate the limited resources of the state on attacking the root causes of crime in Alaska and avoid the quagmires the death penalty would create. SENATOR TAYLOR suggested that anyone testifying on the bill, who feels as MR. STERLING does, should not repeat the comments since there is limited time. He praised MR. STERLING for his well stated testimony. SENATOR TAYLOR asked participants to limit their testimony to three or four minutes and written comments be sent to Juneau, where they will be distributed to each member and become part of the official record. Number 451 SENATOR DONLEY questioned MR. STERLING on the constitutional clause dealing with reformation and asked for a copy of his information. He extended his request to all participants with constitutional information and back up to send it to him. SENATOR JACKO referred to MR. STERLING'S testimony on racial bias and asked for any specifics he might have. MR. STERLING said his reference was to a study conducted by the NAACP on sentencing patterns in the State of Georgia, analyzing all felony convictions, which showed conclusively there was both overt and insidious racial discrimination in sentencing patterns. He suggested there were similar studies under way now, and one should be done in Alaska. He urged caution in securing the data on minority sentencing in Alaska. ALASKA LINCK introduced herself as an Elder, raised in Alaska and lived in Fairbanks for more than 68 years and has served in the Territorial Legislature. She described herself as being solidly behind the death penalty, saying she saw no value in supporting someone who committed a heinous crime for life at tax payers expense. She didn't think that such a person would ever be useful to society, and she didn't think it was cheaper to keep a person in prison for life rather than death. MS. LINCK explained why she thought it was cheaper to use lethal injection rather than the expense of hanging. She said Alaska was unique and shouldn't copy other states. She blamed the effects of children who were raised in the 1960's with no home training and suggested children should be raised by loving parents. Number 505 RON SCHARNS, a commercial fisherman from Petersburg with a degree in psychology, has worked with emotionally handicapped youth in special services. He explained the problems parents have in working and raising children, with the nuclear family eradicated in the name of profit. He said TV has become a surrogate parent teaching violence and consumerism, but denies them education and gainful employment necessary to become honest producers in our society. MR. SCHARNS listed what he considered a decaying and dysfunctional society for the increased number of young criminals, and he called capital punishment legalized killing, but not a deterrent. In Valdez, JERRY BLANK testified in support of both the House and Senate bills, but was more in favor of the House bill. Testifying OFFNET from Anchorage was First Sgt. Crawford who was in favor of SB 127, and offered to answer questions. Number 557 Back to Anchorage, KEVIN MCCOY explained he has been a practicing attorney for the past eighteen years, presently a criminal defense attorney and formerly an attorney general prosecuting consumer fraud. He felt his experience as a lawyer in Alaska has given him some insight into our criminal justice system, and he explained there was a great deal of misinformation about the death penalty in both the bill and the advisory vote in the committee substitute. MR. MCCOY wanted to correct the misunderstanding that the bill is necessary to protect the public either because the sentencing laws and judges are too lenient. He explained sentences for first degree murder in Alaska are some of the toughest in the nation. He claimed Alaskan judges do not hesitate to impose severe sentences on persons convicted of such crimes with a maximum term of 99 years and a minimum sentence of not less than 20 years. He continued to describe the harshness of sentences in Alaska and referred to SENATOR DONLEY'S remarks on mandatory sentences. MR. MCCOY said many people in Alaska feel persons convicted of first degree murder are released after serving as little as seven years, but he said it was absolutely not true, and he named well known cases of convicted murders who will die in prison because of very long sentences. TAPE 94-7, SIDE B Number 001 MR. MCCOY continued to list convicted murders who will die in prison before they are eligible for parole. He contended the Alaska judges have never hesitated to use their power to protect the public, and these sentences have never been reversed by the Court of Appeals or the Alaska Supreme Court. He said the death penalty would only waste money and make us just like the killers we despise. He strongly urged the committee to reject SB 127 and the committee substitute. SENATOR TAYLOR called on DORTHY WESTPHAL in the Kenai/Soldotna teleconference site. MRS. WESTPHAL explained she had lived in Alaska for 32 years. She referred to the prohibition days when there was kidnapping, with no penalty. She described the Lindberg kidnapping, and said they passed a law that kidnapping was a capital offense, punishable by execution. MRS. WESTPHAL said kidnapping almost came to a stop, and she suggested the committee do some research. She thought the courts allow too many appeals, and the lawyers in the legislature should stop the appeals for going on so long. MS. WESTPHAL thought an advisory vote would only prolong the delay in the executions, but she did object to hanging in preference to the lethal injection. She claimed capital punishment was a deterrent, and she thought it should be done. SENATOR DONLEY pointed out there were only three practicing attorneys of the 60 members of the legislature. Number 056 MARLA ADKINS from Cordova said she has been in Alaska since 1959 and has watched the crime rate in recent years escalate rapidly. She said the judicial system was over taxed, and their hands are tied, but she didn't think the issue of money was viable. She asked for the cost put on a human life taken by a heinous murderer, and she thought the death penalty should be a deterrent to those convicted of murder. MS. ADKINS thought the murderer should have the best counsel possible, and not a green attorney. She believed the biblical adage of "an eye for an eye, ..." fits the bill and felt lethal injection was the way to go. In response to a comment by MS. ADKINS, SENATOR TAYLOR said the fiscal notes coming out of the Division of Corrections would indicate, if we were to impose a capital punishment bill in this State, the probable savings on individuals executed could be as high as $50 million, over what is projected to be spent over the next 20 years. He said the cost of keeping prisoners forever has gotten even higher than going through ten years or so of defense and legal fees. Number 100 SENATOR JACKO questioned whether the fiscal notes included prosecution or just the cost savings of killing these people vs keeping them in jail. SENATOR TAYLOR said it included the entire process, and he supported the concept. He said that because some are youthful offenders and people are living longer, incarceration has become more expensive. SENATOR JACKO noted any of the fiscal notes are a "guess," and SENATOR TAYLOR agreed. SENATOR TAYLOR returned to Anchorage to hear from BRANT MCGEE, Director for the Office of Public Advocacy. MR. MCGEE said he has been a student of cost for the last eight years, and has gathered information from studies on which his testimony is based. In none of his studies did MR. MCGEE find any indication it is cheaper to execute people, after the capital punishment process, than it is to maintain the offenders in prison for the remainder of their lives. MR. MCGEE reviewed a 1982 study in New York which revealed the costs of the death penalty in that state would amount to $1.8 million per case, through trial and through the first three levels of appeal. At that time in New York, incarceration for 40 years would cost $600 thousand. MR. MCGEE said in 1992 in Texas the capital punishment cases were found to cost $2.3 million per case as opposed to $750 thousand for 40 years of incarceration. In Florida it was estimated each capital punishment case cost $3.2 million, and most recently in Los Angeles County, California, cases cost $1.9 million. He explained the reason was because six times as many motions were filed in capital punishment cases, involving twice as many lawyers, and required one month in jury selection for such cases as opposed to 3.5 days for in non-capital first degree murders. Trial time in capital cases was 6.5 months as opposed to less than one month for a non-capital case. MR. MCGEE said, in 1988, it was estimated in California the death penalty costs were reaching $90 million per year. He explained California has had the death penalty for nine years, has over 300 people on death row, and has executed one person, after accumulated costs of over $1 billion. In our own State, MR. MCGEE explained, for prosecution and defense, the amount would be $18 million after four years. He also said this would be a misleading number, because the cases would accumulate, and according to the Department of Law there will be six capital cases litigated each year for a minimum of ten years. MR. MCGEE explained he used ten years, because between the time of conviction and the time of execution, in other jurisdictions nationally, the average is nine years eight months. He concluded the costs would rise exponentially with each passing year because of the accumulation of cases. In no cases, has either he or Legislative Affairs Agency been able to locate any study which indicated it was cheaper to execute people than it was to incarcerate them. Number 138 SENATOR TAYLOR questioned the percent of cases in Alaska in which the offender would plead out as opposed to going to trial if they were faced with the choice of whether they would have to go for a death penalty. He also challenged the amount MR. MCGEE projected for the cost of incarceration, and suggested there should be some credits developed in the process. MR. MCGEE thought all of the costs associated with both the death penalty and incarceration would be more than the figures he gave, just because it would be more expensive in Alaska. He said it now costs $41 thousand, on average, to incarcerate an Alaskan prisoner, and he projected those costs of incarceration before the death penalty would accumulate to over $400 thousand. He discussed the other accumulated cost of the death penalty, and projected a cost of $1.6 million per case in this State. MR. MCGEE quoted, with respect to the cost savings associated with plea bargaining death penalty cases, the Department of Law has said they would prosecute six carefully selected cases each year, those with one or more aggravating factors. He said the department is not talking about plea bargaining any of the cases, but if they did, it would raise questions regarding the ethics, the fairness, the legality, and the constitutionality of using the threat of death as a bargaining chip in criminal litigation. MR. MCGEE said they would be open to collateral attacks on the charging decisions, which would mean there would have to be a pre- trial examination of every first degree murder case and every capital case, calling into question all of the death penalty cases. MR. MCGEE reminded the legislators this would be an untested statute vs a statute that has withstood attacks over a long period of time, and he described the problems that would be involved during the first decade after the passage of the bill. SENATOR JACKO questioned the pleading out process, and SENATOR TAYLOR said the defendant would know in the charging process. SENATOR JACKO asked how it was determined and would it be set forth in the legislation. SENATOR TAYLOR said the defendant had to be notified of the charges, and he quoted MR. MCGEE on the plea bargaining. SENATOR TAYLOR thought there would be a significant savings, and he suggested a person with a death penalty over their head, was more interested in pleading out to something that is not going to take their life. He claimed it was common practice and explained how it was done. Number 210 SENATOR JACKO suggested it was heavy duty bribery, and SENATOR TAYLOR reiterated it gets the job done. He said it would reduce the credibility of testimony if plea bargaining was not addressed. SENATOR TAYLOR announced he would next hear testimony from MIKE WALLERI from Fairbanks before going to Ketchikan. MR. WALLERI, General Counsel for Tanana Chiefs Conference, said he had prepared comments on the original bill, but has not seen the committee substitute. He explained the general thrust of the position taken by the Tanana Chiefs was a profound concern over the racial discrimination the death penalty has had in other states, and the likelihood of a similar effect here in Alaska. MR. WALLERI gave the inmate population in Alaska as fluctuating between 32 and 38 percent Native, and a review of the death penalty in other states suggests a close correlation between the racial break down in rates of incarceration and the execution rates. He expressed concern that if the bill is passed there would be a similar discriminatory effect in Alaska, estimating that Native people will be executed approximately twice the rate of their general representation in the general population, between 32 and 38%. SENATOR TAYLOR asked if MR. WALLERI thought it was racial bias in his opinion or if the Natives were committing that many more offenses. MR. WALLERI quoted a study through the University of Alaska which suggests the higher rate of Native incarceration has to do with certain Native values respecting confession, and that Natives will confess to crimes at a much higher rate than Non-natives. Number 280 MR. WALLERI explained the Natives see this as more culturally appropriate and part of their acceptance of responsibility, which has a high value within the Native population. He explained these traits did not translate easily into the Alaska Criminal Justice System, where confession does not carry any mitigating aspects. MR. WALLERI addressed notice provision for the death penalty which does not appear in the original bill until after the conviction, and he contrasted the provision to the original House bill. He described the problems of Natives confessing to the crime before being presented with the possibility of facing the death penalty. He explained the use of alcohol in a jury trial is seen as a mitigating factor when non-natives are involved, but that is not true in cases involving Natives. MR. WALLERI said the more suggestive tests that are in the bill, the more subjective calls the jury is required to make, which increases the probability of racial discrimination. He explained the vote in the committee substitute was misleading, since he thought, although people might support the death penalty, they might not support a racially biased system. He suggested the committee commission a serious study on the racial impact of death sentencing. SENATOR TAYLOR described the committee substitute as being just Section 13 on page 10. In Ketchikan, CONSTANCE GRIFFITH, a 47.5 year resident of Alaska, testified in agreement with MR. STERLING, MR. SCHARNS, MR. MCCOY, and MR. WALLERI. She quoted a discussion with her child on the agreement the death penalty was retribution and didn't prevent murder. She pointed to comments from SENATOR JACKO that the death penalty would not prevent murder or suicide in the villages, because there are people in Alaska with the illness of alcohol. MS. GRIFFITH quoted a solution from her son that people should have a license to buy alcohol, and she described how it would work as a deterrent. She thought the efforts should be placed on alcohol programs that build family strength through education. She did not think the death penalty would deter murder, and she questioned the statistics of those who thought it would. Number 340 SENATOR TAYLOR quoted some of the remarks from MS. WESTPHAL from Sterling that it deterred kidnapping. MS. GRIFFITH did not think the death penalty should apply to alcohol related violence in Alaska, since some people under the influence of alcohol have no memory of the incident. She described a case which put a young man in A.P.I. for life, but he has no memory of his violence. She reiterated her support for a license to drink. SENATOR TAYLOR returned to Anchorage, to hear from AVERIL LERMAN. MS. LERMAN testified against the death penalty, which she backed up with the history of the death penalty in Alaska, which she has researched. She said the history strongly supports the position taken by MR. WALLERI, the General Counsel for the Tanana Chief's Conference and others regarding the government's role in racial discrimination. Number 385 MS. LERMAN explained that since 1900 there have been eight people known to have been hanged in Alaska. The first two of those, executed before 1903 were both white, but after 1903 and before 1957, every person who was executed in the State of Alaska was non- white. MS LERMAN quoted from the book, A DIFFERENT FRONTIER, which analyzed data from 1935 to 1955 and established that 75% of all the homicides during that time had been committed by white people. She said, during that time, not one white person was hanged, but three non-white persons were hanged. Number 385 MS. LERMAN explained the first three people to be executed were hanged in Fairbanks between 1911 and 1935, one was listed as a black fellow from Montenegro, and the other two were both Natives. The second group of three people were hanged in Juneau, one was a Native and two were black people. MS. LERMAN thought she would find these were people who committed heinous murders, but this was not the case. The homicides, for which these men were hanged, were in general a murder undertaken in passion, frequently by a single inebriated individual on another inebriated person. It was written the murderer was repentant after the fact. MS. LERMAN described her research as reading old newspaper articles in a library and old court files in the National Archives, as well as reading histories of Alaska. The fact was established that of the men who were hanged, the Natives, without exception, received no appeal for their conviction, notwithstanding the fact they had very strong grounds in claiming their conviction had been unjust. In answer to a question earlier on the manifestation of the prejudice, MS. LERMAN explained executive clemency was not uncommon during this time, and, although white people were sentenced to die in Alaska, their sentences were commuted. These were people for whom there was some sympathy, and MS. LERMAN said her suspicion was that people from little villages, who lacked any kind of political or financial influence, were not given any sympathy from the governor or the president of the United States. Number 436 SENATOR TAYLOR asked how many Native people were hanged, how many black people were hanged, and how many white people were hanged. MS. LERMAN said there were two white people hanged, one in 1901 and one in 1902. Three Alaska Natives were hanged and three black people were hanged. SENATOR TAYLOR said the black people were way out of proportion as far as their racial makeup. MS. LERMAN said, at the time the hangings occurred, the black people were from Juneau, where the black population was less than 2%. She explained that both of the black men were hanged for one homicide which was committed by one of them, and she said the evidence indicates clearly that the last man hanged, EUGENE LAMOUR, was hanged for the murder as an accomplice. MS. LERMAN said we need to hold a mirror up to ourselves and ask if we have changed from the people we were. She suggested by looking at the rest of the United States and finding out what is happening nationally, we will see that who we were is still who we are. MS. LERMAN explained of all those executed from 1930 to the present time, 53% have been black, and at the present time, a third of the people in Alaskan prisons are Native. She suggested an advisory vote, when uninformed, is nothing but a political tool. She said, if the legislature was serious about an advisory vote, there should be a fiscal note on the bill for the purpose of educating the public on both sides of the question. Once the education has been completed, there could be a vote. SENATOR TAYLOR thanked MS. LERMAN for her research and asked if she had done research in other states on the same subject, the death penalty. She replied that she had been doing nothing but research since she learned of the bill. SENATOR TAYLOR asked if she would share her research with the committee, and he asked how California lost their death penalty, how they brought it back, and why. How did other states lose the penalty, and why has it been brought back in those other states. Number 481 MS. LERMAN said those were very good questions, and she thought the answer could be found closer at home. She explained Alaska had a death penalty and the Territorial Legislature voted it out with very little objection in 1957, prior to Statehood. She thought those were the same questions we could ask ourselves now. SENATOR TAYLOR wanted to know why any civilized society would want to bring back the death penalty, and MS. LERMAN said there has been many times when people take action without benefit of careful examination. Number 481 MS. LERMAN suggested a vote for the death penalty is in general supported by either political or emotion rational, and if a person thinks an emotional reason is a good one, a vote is well taken. She also suggested a rational person, who carefully evaluates everything that is known today, will have to conclude there are not good reasons for it - other than emotional or political. SENATOR TAYLOR thanked MS. LERMAN for her answer, before turning to the Kenai/Soldotna network to hear DICK BOGARD in Soldotna. MR. BOGARD said he has been in the Territory and State since 1939. He suggested some of those testifying were stretching the truth on the sentencing of long terms, and he referred to a case in Anchorage in which three elderly people were robbed and murdered. He said the sentence of two of the murderers were reduced to 42 and 47 years, and they will probably be up for parole shortly. MR. BOGARD explained his oldest daughter and her fiancee were brutally murdered four years ago. The person who admitted to the murder got a maximum of 20 years and can be paroled. He said this case was not in the State of Alaska. MR. BOGARD took up the problem of cost, and said, "Cost be dammed!" He felt those being paroled would come out of jail and kill again, and he deplored what he considered "a dollar and cents world we live in today." MR. BOGARD referred to the Westphal testimony on the Lindberg Law, and the Republican Convention about that time when the police were directed to shoot to kill at some rioters, and this prevented the riots. He blamed those with a vested interest in placating their pocket books and not prosecuting criminals. MR. BOGARD thought the bill was poorly worded, and he pointed to page 3, Section 6, and said the lives of the people listed were no more important than anyone else. He said he would make a written report on changes to the bill .... TAPE 94-8, SIDE A Number 001 MR. BOGARD reviewed the crime on the train in New York, and said there should a limit to appeals, which he said was a legislative problem - not a citizen's problem. SENATOR TAYLOR returned to Anchorage to hear from KIM MCGEE, who testified for the Anchorage Friends Meeting - Quakers. MS. MCGEE read a brief summary from the Central Alaska Friends Conference on the issue of capital punishment, in which they confirmed the value and dignity of human life, and opposed the death penalty for this reason. They consider it a step backwards in the administration of justice as an arbitrary, ineffective, and uneconomic form of law enforcement. MS. MCGEE asked the Judiciary Committee to reject the legislation for the following three reasons: taking life devalues life for all who share its gifts; once taken it cannot be restored; and taking a life does not right a wrong, no matter how grievous the incident. She said it was the duty of government, on behalf of the better nature of the citizens, to substitute reason for passion, and justice for revenge. Number 054 MS. MCGEE said we live in an imperfect society with an imperfect legal system, and when the legal system assumes the power to take life, it attempts to disguise the imperfections of human decisions and human frailties. MS. MCGEE quoted the Central Alaska Friends Conference as recognizing the difficult decisions which the committee, the legislature, and the State of Alaska face in dealing with the wrong doers, but they thought it minor compared to dealing with the execution of real individuals. She charged the law makers with preserving justice, and urged the committee to look at those factors which cause and promote violence. She felt the proper role of government was to alleviate the roots of violence and asked the legislation be tabled. SENATOR TAYLOR returned to Kenai for someone who was not present, but MR. BOGARD was there and asked to add to the testimony. He railed against what he considered short sentences in Alaska for murderers. Number 093 SENATOR TAYLOR suggested to MR. BOGARD that most people committing a homicide offense spend a lengthy stay in Alaska prisons, but he said the committee has not talked about those who are convicted of a second degree offense. MR. BOGARD agreed and talked about the statistics on murders who serve a short time, get out, and kill again. SENATOR TAYLOR said he would take one more witness from Anchorage, which was DENNIS HOLWAY, an ordained United Methodist Minister, lived in Alaska since 1977, and a pastor at the Turnagain United Methodist Church since 1990. PASTOR HOLWAY thought it was unfortunate this issue had not rallied the clergy around a common voice; however, within his denomination the general conference representing 8.5 million members has clearly spoken on the issue. PASTOR HOLWAY explained there was a divergence of opinion on the death penalty, so he chose to give his reasons for feeling capital punishment as an unwise and unjust alternative. He explained his decisions were made on what he believed JESUS would feel and say about capital punishment. PASTOR HOLWAY believed JESUS would be opposed to capital punishment, and he drew his conclusions from the following reasons: First, much of JESUS'S ministry is aimed at compassion, and concern for the poor and oppressed. JESUS would oppose capital punishment because of its bias toward the poor and uneducated, would see the inequity of the criminal system and oppose the disproportionate amount of capital punishment against people of color, especially African-Americans and Alaska Natives. Secondly, PASTOR HOLWAY said JESUS demonstrated his anger when he drove the money changers from the temple, and he explained the anger was triggered by people who were not only cheating their neighbors, but doing it in the midst of a sacred place. He thought JESUS would be incensed at those who murder another human being, but he didn't believe JESUS would advocate any irreversible retaliation such as capital punishment. He believed JESUS would use his healing words and touch to heal the victim's family as well as the convicted murderer and his/her family. Third, PASTOR HOLWAY thought JESUS would advocate for restitution rather than retribution, and would understand how the family of the murder victim would feel capital punishment in no way would compensate for their loss. He thought restitution could become one small way of restoring a sense of healing, dignity, and equilibrium to both the victim's family and to the perpetrator. PASTOR HOLWAY reiterated his opposition to capital punishment on theological, moral grounds, and financial reasons. He thought there were other options that were more humane and just. Number 158 SENATOR TAYLOR thanked all those who testified, and in conclusion he invited people to submit their comments. He said there would be time to do this, as the bill will not move from committee for awhile. He said there would be an additional hearing on the bill, and copies of the committee substitute would be distributed to all of the LIO'S. SENATOR TAYLOR also thanked committee members, SENATORS LITTLE, DONLEY, AND JACKO, for sitting through such a long meeting. There being no further business to come before the committee, the meeting was adjourned at 3:20 p.m. by SENATOR TAYLOR.