Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

02/03/2005 08:30 AM JUDICIARY

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08:38:59 AM Start
08:42:13 AM Therapeutic Courts Overview
09:38:21 AM SB65
09:46:12 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                        February 3, 2005                                                                                        
                           8:38 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Ralph Seekins, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Charlie Huggins, Vice Chair                                                                                             
Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                         
Senator Hollis French                                                                                                           
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Gretchen Guess                                                                                                          
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
Overview: Therapeutic Justice in the Fight Against Addiction                                                                    
Based Crime                                                                                                                     
SENATE BILL NO. 65                                                                                                              
"An Act  relating to certain  weapons offenses  involving minors;                                                               
to  aggravating  factors  in   sentencing  for  certain  offenses                                                               
committed  against  a  school  employee;  and  providing  for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB  65                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: OFFENSES BY MINORS/AGAINST TEACHERS                                                                                
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
01/19/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/19/05       (S)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
01/26/05       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
01/26/05       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
01/26/05       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                          
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
Ms. Janet McCabe, Chair                                                                                                         
Partners for Progress Inc                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:  Overview Presentation                                                                                    
Judge Jim Wanamaker (Ret.), Director                                                                                            
Alaska Center for Therapeutic Justice                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Overview Presentation                                                                                    
Ms. Robyn Johnson                                                                                                               
Therapeutic Courts Program Coordinator                                                                                          
Alaska Court System                                                                                                             
303 K St.                                                                                                                       
Anchorage, AK  99501-2084                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:  Overview Presentation                                                                                    
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
CHAIR  RALPH   SEEKINS  called  the  Senate   Judiciary  Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting to  order at  8:38:59 AM   -  Present Senators                                                             
Gene Therriault,  Charlie Huggins, Hollis French  and Chair Ralph                                                               
Seekins. Senator Gretchen Guess was excused.                                                                                    
                  ^Therapeutic Courts Overview                                                                              
MS. JANET  MCCABE, chair, Partners  for Progress,  accompanied by                                                               
Judge Jim Wanamaker, retired, now  director for Alaska Center for                                                               
Therapeutic  Justice and  MS. ROBYN  JOHNSON, Therapeutic  Courts                                                               
Program   Coordinator,  Alaska   Court   System,  delivered   the                                                               
MS.  McCABE  distributed a  handout  and  provided the  following                                                               
Purpose of presentation:                                                                                                        
   · Provide a full understanding of why and how therapeutic                                                                    
     courts are effective                                                                                                       
   · Want members to appreciate that for strongly addicted                                                                      
     repeat offenders therapeutic courts are the smart and                                                                      
     realistic way to protect the public                                                                                        
   · Want to recommend how the administration and legislature                                                                   
     can strengthen Alaska's therapeutic courts                                                                                 
The  group plans  to talk  with the  administration and  ask that                                                               
proposed recommendation  be included  as part of  a comprehensive                                                               
strategy to address alcoholism  and addiction. The administration                                                               
needs to have strong involvement in the program.                                                                                
8:42:13 AM                                                                                                                    
In the 1980s the courts started  to get tough on addictive crime.                                                               
Increased  penalties  are  highly effective  for  reducing  crime                                                               
associated with  social drinkers  but do  not reach  the strongly                                                               
The first therapeutic court opened in Dade County, FL in 1989.                                                                  
Page 4 shows growth nationally.  Numbers of courts have increased                                                               
exponentially since  1989. There are currently  1,621 therapeutic                                                               
courts nationwide.                                                                                                              
8:43:54 AM                                                                                                                    
Most growth  is from the  ground up. Judge Wanamaker  started the                                                               
first wellness court in Alaska in Anchorage.                                                                                    
8:44:42 AM                                                                                                                    
Certain  populations  do  not respond  to  the  criminal  justice                                                               
system  and  the traditional  justice  model  doesn't work.  Some                                                               
offenders have  up to  31 prior  convictions with  multiple DUIs.                                                               
After  sentencing  the  rehabilitation programs  start  within  a                                                               
month  but 50  percent  of  them don't  show  up  and most  don't                                                               
complete the program.                                                                                                           
8:46:42 AM                                                                                                                    
Protecting the public  is primary. Repeat offenders  are a danger                                                               
to the public.                                                                                                                  
MADD supports therapeutic courts.                                                                                               
8:48:01 AM                                                                                                                    
JUDGE JIM WANAMAKER, retired district court judge, spoke.                                                                       
Development of misdemeanor level wellness court in Anchorage.                                                                   
Treatment is  the only  answer for  the multiple  DUI population.                                                               
Many reach middle age before they realize alcohol is a problem.                                                                 
8:51:05 AM                                                                                                                    
National  Drug  Court  Professionals -  national  organization  -                                                               
nationwide movement to  build these courts - funded  by DOJ funds                                                               
-   method   receiving   push  from   National   Highway   Safety                                                               
8:52:27 AM                                                                                                                    
Don Smith  at DOTPF  runs highway safety  program -  feds already                                                               
invested $800,000 in courts.                                                                                                    
US Supreme Court has endorsed  - judges trained - hired full-time                                                               
administrator (Robyn Johnson) to promote this type of court.                                                                    
8:54:10 AM                                                                                                                    
One  point Partners  in Progress  wanted to  raise -  full policy                                                               
force  -  want  person  in   Governor's  Office  who  gives  sole                                                               
attention  to therapeutic  courts -  jolted to  action by  felony                                                               
situation in  Bethel - no  new cases in  9 months. Acted  as case                                                               
Need quick  response from Administration  to make work  - problem                                                               
is not lack of money, it's right  idea - No. 1 point on Partners'                                                               
agenda  is to  get  full-time person  in  state administration  -                                                               
similar to Robyn Johnson's job.                                                                                                 
8:57:40 AM                                                                                                                    
Need to  get someone  in Administration with  ear of  Governor to                                                               
make system work.                                                                                                               
Method   vastly  superior   to   jail  -   needs   help  to   get                                                               
Administration involved.                                                                                                        
9:01:35 AM                                                                                                                    
Pending courts in  Fairbanks, Juneau, Ketchikan -  makes sense to                                                               
extend  the model  and draw  from both  populations -  felony and                                                               
misdemeanor levels.                                                                                                             
SENATOR THERRIAULT  referred to graph.  Number of people  in opt-                                                               
out  category  who violated  conditions  of  release -  asked  if                                                               
statistics refer only to people who completed the program.                                                                      
JUDGE WANAMAKER: Yes.                                                                                                           
SENATOR THERRIAULT asked if a  number of people begin program but                                                               
drop out along the line.                                                                                                        
JUDGE WANAMAKER: Yes.  Even dropouts measured and  found they did                                                               
much  better  [than no  participation].  Big  benefit comes  from                                                               
graduates. Introduced Robyn Johnson.                                                                                            
ROBYN  JOHNSON, Therapeutic  Court program  coordinator, employee                                                               
of ACS.                                                                                                                         
9:03:28 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. JOHNSON works with courts statewide.                                                                                        
First court in Dade County Florida.                                                                                             
9:04:21 AM                                                                                                                    
Summary of Existing Therapeutic Courts.                                                                                         
Mental Health Court - started in  '98 by Judge Rhodes, trainer at                                                               
National   Judicial   College.   Second  court   established   in                                                               
9:06:04 AM                                                                                                                    
Funding from 4 sources:                                                                                                         
   · Legislature funded through HB 172                                                                                          
   · The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority                                                                                   
   · Partners for Progress                                                                                                      
   · National Highway Traffic Safety Funds                                                                                      
9:07:58 AM                                                                                                                    
Trust  gave funding  to  train  judges for  the  last two  years,                                                               
therapeutic  courts  and mental  illness.  Not  feasible to  have                                                               
courts  in all  communities -  need to  bring same  principles to                                                               
9:08:54 AM                                                                                                                    
First court in Palmer - Palmer Coordinated Resources Project.                                                                   
Fairbanks, Ketchikan, Juneau will be based on Anchorage model.                                                                  
Invited committee  members to visit  courts. She  sees remarkable                                                               
transformations and positive long-term impacts.                                                                                 
Quoted George Bush.                                                                                                             
9:11:08 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS: Is Anchorage Veterans court subset?                                                                            
MS. JOHNSON:  Veterans court target veterans.  Therapeutic courts                                                               
target people with underlying addiction.                                                                                        
9:11:59 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS:  Generally the same  - 10 percent  population in                                                               
designated category, same concept?                                                                                              
MS.  JOHNSON:   Yes.  Also  cross-reference  because   some  vets                                                               
eligible for other courts too.                                                                                                  
SENATOR  HUGGINS:  Do you  recommend  the  vets court  should  be                                                               
mainstreamed into therapeutic courts?                                                                                           
MS. JOHNSON:  Vets court started in  July of last year  - will be                                                               
evaluated - court will decide on how to proceed.                                                                                
9:13:02 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH:  One request to  extend to wellness  court method                                                               
to  felony DUI  cases? Summary  lists felony  DUI court  by Judge                                                               
Joannides - what became of that court?                                                                                          
MS. JOHNSON:  Last year DOC  advised they were  having difficulty                                                               
hiring probation  officers. Said  they would  continue commitment                                                               
to participants but can't take more.                                                                                            
SENATOR FRENCH: Idea in future ASEP will take over?                                                                             
9:15:16 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. JOHNSON: Yes and for felony and misdemeanor level too.                                                                      
9:15:32 AM                                                                                                                    
JUDGE   WANAMAKER:  Partners   in   Progress   is  a   non-profit                                                               
corporation, not a court system program.                                                                                        
MS. McCABE: Partners recommends  including felony and misdemeanor                                                               
categories  in wellness  court -  similar characteristics.  Court                                                               
system  is   looking  at  expanding  wellness   court  system  to                                                               
Fairbanks, Juneau and Ketchikan.                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH:  Felon and  misdemeanant would  be in  same court                                                               
room,  same time,  same judge  but  with a  mechanism that  gives                                                               
Superior  Court judge  authority to  designate to  District Court                                                               
JUDGE  WANAMAKER:  Yes.   Partners  working  with  Representative                                                               
SENATOR FRENCH: Good idea rather than balkanized system.                                                                        
79:18:03 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. McCABE: Fairbanks, Juneau, Ketchikan  - no capacity to handle                                                               
felons at  all because no  HB 172 versions in  those communities.                                                               
This would create a consolidated approach in start up courts.                                                                   
9:18:39 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS: Naltrexone.                                                                                                    
JUDGE  WANAMAKER:  Originally  designed for  people  addicted  to                                                               
opiates. Accidentally  discovered stops desire for  alcohol. Same                                                               
mechanism  blocks dopamine.  No  pleasure from  drinking -  takes                                                               
away craving.                                                                                                                   
9:20:04 AM                                                                                                                    
JUDGE  WANAMAKER:  Provides  opportunity   to  stop  -  works  on                                                               
children  who  cut  themselves   for  opiate  release  and  helps                                                               
SENATOR HUGGINS:  How does  victim of drug  user feel  about that                                                               
treatment for offender?                                                                                                         
9:21:39 AM                                                                                                                    
JUDGE  WANAMAKER: Third  case in  wellness court,  victim of  car                                                               
accident didn't want criminal  coddled. Victim supported wellness                                                               
court and said method worked and turns lives around.                                                                            
9:22:44 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  FRENCH:  Need to  elaborate  what  protects public  from                                                               
offender who  goes astray.  Asked the  conditions in  place while                                                               
undergoing treatment.                                                                                                           
9:24:08 AM                                                                                                                    
JUDGE  WANAMAKER: One  advantage is  offender starts  right after                                                               
committed crime.  Court starts  people on  electronic monitoring.                                                               
Intoximeter built into phone. Another  technology called SCRAM on                                                               
ankle 24/7 measures alcohol in sweat.                                                                                           
9:26:48 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. McCABE: If drop out, go back to regular sentencing.                                                                         
           SB 65-OFFENSES BY MINORS/AGAINST TEACHERS                                                                        
9:38:21 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR RALPH SEEKINS announced SB 65 to be up for consideration.                                                                 
SENATOR  THERRIAULT moved  to  adopt Version  \F  as the  working                                                               
document before the committee.                                                                                                  
CHAIR  SEEKINS  explained the  intent  is  to provide  safety  on                                                               
school grounds.                                                                                                                 
9:40:24 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEEKINS added  the intent  is to  protect school  grounds,                                                               
school  buses,   school  activities,  and  the   people  who  are                                                               
connected to the school.                                                                                                        
SENATOR HUGGINS noted it was the similar to military compounds.                                                                 
SENATOR FRENCH said AS 11.41 refers to assault crimes.                                                                          
9:41:56 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH voiced support.                                                                                                  
SENATOR  THERRIAULT read  the definition  of school  grounds from                                                               
the statutes.                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  SEEKINS  advised  there  was a  request  from  the  school                                                               
districts  that  protection  be extended  to  the  administrative                                                               
9:44:01 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEEKINS asked  for amendments  to the  bill. He  noted the                                                               
intent was to move the bill out today.                                                                                          
SENATOR THERRIAULT moved Amendment 1.                                                                                           
     Page 1 lines 8, 9 include the administrative offices of the                                                                
     school district.                                                                                                           
SENATOR FRENCH  objected. He said  he wanted to hear  from school                                                               
districts  that  have  administrative  buildings  off  of  school                                                               
grounds to find out whether it is an issue.                                                                                     
9:46:12 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEEKINS conceded  he could  carry the  bill over  to allow                                                               
testimony from the school districts.                                                                                            
SENATOR   FRENCH  asked   for  time   to  review   the  committee                                                               
CHAIR SEEKINS tabled Amendment 1 and held SB 65 in committee.                                                                   
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Seekins adjourned the meeting.                                                                                            

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