Legislature(2017 - 2018)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/03/2017 01:30 PM JUDICIARY

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01:33:44 PM Start
01:33:59 PM SB54
02:57:16 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 3, 2017                                                                                          
                           1:33 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator John Coghill, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Mia Costello                                                                                                            
Senator Kevin Meyer                                                                                                             
Senator Pete Kelly                                                                                                              
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Bill Wielechowski                                                                                                       
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 54                                                                                                              
"An  Act  relating   to  crime  and  criminal   law;  relating  to                                                              
violation of  condition of release;  relating to  sex trafficking;                                                              
relating  to sentencing;  relating to probation;  relating  to the                                                              
pretrial services program; and providing for an effective date."                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB  54                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CRIME AND SENTENCING                                                                                               
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) COGHILL                                                                                                  
02/10/17       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/10/17       (S)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
02/17/17       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
02/17/17       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/17/17       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/24/17       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
02/24/17       (S)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
03/01/17       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
03/01/17       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/01/17       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/03/17       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
WALT MONEGAN, Commissioner,                                                                                                     
Department of Public Safety                                                                                                     
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   During the hearing on SB  54, stated support                                                            
for  amendments that  take public  safety  into consideration  and                                                              
provide the  broadest discretion  for judges  to look at  cases on                                                              
an individual basis.                                                                                                            
RON FLINT, President and General Manager                                                                                        
NAO; and representing                                                                                                           
National Federation of Independent Business                                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 54.                                                                           
KARA NELSON, representing herself                                                                                               
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    During  the  hearing  on  SB  54,  related                                                            
personal  information that  demonstrated the  positive aspects  of                                                              
reinvestment and diversionary programs.                                                                                         
MIA BERZANSKE, representing herself                                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    During  the  hearing  on  SB  54,  related                                                            
personal  information that  demonstrated the  positive aspects  of                                                              
reinvestment and diversionary programs.                                                                                         
JORDAN ODAM, representing himself                                                                                               
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    During  the  hearing  on  SB  54,  related                                                            
personal  information that  demonstrated the  positive aspects  of                                                              
reinvestment and diversionary programs.                                                                                         
STEPHANIE STAVELAN, Director of Provider Care                                                                                   
Priceless Alaska                                                                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    During  the  hearing  on  SB  54,  thanked                                                            
Senator  Coghill  and  the  committee for  amending  the  part  of                                                              
Senate Bill 91 that created a loophole for sex traffickers.                                                                     
GRETCHEN  STAFT,   Board  of  Directors,  Alaska   Association  of                                                              
Criminal Defense Lawyers                                                                                                        
POSITION STATEMENT:   During the hearing on SB  54, testified that                                                            
it is too early to reform Senate Bill 91.                                                                                       
VICKI WALLER, representing herself                                                                                              
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified that  some of the  consequences in                                                            
SB 54 are not harsh enough.                                                                                                     
OLIVIA OLSEN, representing herself                                                                                              
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    During  the  hearing  on  SB  54,  related                                                            
personal  information that  demonstrated the  positive aspects  of                                                              
reinvestment and diversionary programs.                                                                                         
TARA RICH, Legal and Policy Director                                                                                            
ACLU of Alaska                                                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska,                                                                                                              
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Spoke  to three  aspects of  SB 54  that are                                                            
particularly problematic.                                                                                                       
CRYSTAL GODBY, representing                                                                                                     
Community United for Safety and Protection                                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Requested  the committee  remove Section  20                                                            
[sic] of SB 54.                                                                                                                 
BUTCH MOORE, representing himself                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    During   the  hearing  on  SB  54,  voiced                                                            
concerns with Senate Bill 91.                                                                                                   
TERRA BURNS, representing                                                                                                       
Community United for Safety and Protection                                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Asked the  committee to  remove Section  20                                                            
[sic] of SB 54.                                                                                                                 
DON HABEGER, Community Coordinator                                                                                              
Juneau Reentry Coalition                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   During the hearing on SB  54, voiced support                                                            
for making policy decisions based on evidence-based research.                                                                 
DONNA THOMPSON, representing                                                                                                    
Priceless Alaska                                                                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Testified  in support  of SB  54 as  a start                                                            
toward keeping the  children, youth, and citizenry  of Alaska safe                                                              
from becoming the next victim of modern day slavery.                                                                            
LEVY SMITH, representing himself                                                                                                
Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION  STATEMENT:    During  the  hearing  on  SB  54,  related                                                            
personal  information that  demonstrated the  positive aspects  of                                                              
reinvestment and diversionary programs.                                                                                         
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
1:33:44 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   JOHN  COGHILL   called  the   Senate  Judiciary   Standing                                                            
Committee meeting  to order  at 1:33 p.m.  Present at the  call to                                                              
order were Senators Costello, Meyer, Kelly, and Chair Coghill.                                                                  
                  SB  54-CRIME AND SENTENCING                                                                               
1:33:59 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL announced  the consideration of SB 54.  [This is the                                                              
third hearing and  the committee substitute, version  O, is before                                                              
the  committee.]  He  said Commissioner  Monegan  was  invited  to                                                              
testify during  the previous hearing,  but time ran out,  so he is                                                              
first on the schedule today.                                                                                                    
1:34:52 PM                                                                                                                    
WALT MONEGAN,  Commissioner, Department  of Public Safety,  stated                                                              
support for amendments  to Senate Bill 91 that  take public safety                                                              
into  consideration  and  provide   the  broadest  discretion  for                                                              
judges to look at cases on an individual basis.                                                                                 
CHAIR  COGHILL said  that was part  of the  discussion during  the                                                              
previous hearing.                                                                                                               
1:36:46 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL opened public testimony on SB 54.                                                                                 
1:37:40 PM                                                                                                                    
RON FLINT,  President and General  Manager, NAO,  and representing                                                              
the   National   Federation  of   Independent   Business   (NFIB),                                                              
testified  in support  of SB  54.  He has  had a  retail store  in                                                              
Juneau for over  30 years and has seen that business  decline over                                                              
the last year. It's  a concern that the rate of  the decline seems                                                              
to be getting steeper,  he said. Last year he began  hearing about                                                              
Senate Bill  91 and NFIB's efforts  to keep the felony  limit from                                                              
going to $2,000.  He felt just slightly better when  it settled at                                                              
$1,000 but  he still hates to  think about someone  stealing $800-                                                              
$900   worth  of   merchandise  and   only  being   guilty  of   a                                                              
misdemeanor. What  he didn't realize  immediately was  that Senate                                                              
Bill 91  relaxed penalties for small  thefts or that  these crimes                                                              
could  be committed  repeatedly  without  consequence.  Small-time                                                              
criminals did  pick up on  that and his  store had the  first grab                                                              
and run  last summer. Similar  incidents followed. It's  also been                                                              
a new  experience to  find destroyed  sensor  tags that have  been                                                              
forcibly  removed from merchandise.  The  thief then conceals  the                                                              
merchandise before exiting the store.                                                                                           
He said  looking  at the total  shrinkage  for the  year is  a gut                                                              
check, but  last year  it was  a gut punch  because the  shrinkage                                                              
jumped  40 percent.  The local  police have  been responsive  when                                                              
he's asked  for help, but they need  tools to get their  job done.                                                              
He can  only imagine the  frustration law enforcement  experiences                                                              
when they  watch the  revolving  door. In addition  to the  fiscal                                                              
plan,  the fixes  embodied  in SB  54 are  crucial  this year,  he                                                              
CHAIR  COGHILL thanked  Mr. Flint  and  committed to  work on  the                                                              
structural changes.                                                                                                             
SENATOR  MEYER   advised  that   police  officers  need   to  keep                                                              
arresting low-level  because they  will be held accountable  after                                                              
the third arrest.                                                                                                               
1:43:16 PM                                                                                                                    
KARA NELSON, representing  herself, testified in  opposition to SB
54.  She related  that  she is  in  long-term  recovery, has  been                                                              
through  the criminal  justice  system  for 20  plus  years, is  a                                                              
mother,  and a  community leader  who is  continuing to  emphasize                                                              
the  importance of  data-driven  decision making.  Senate Bill  91                                                              
has  had little  time  to work  and the  public  is condemning  it                                                              
without  recognizing   the  part  that  the  opioid   epidemic  is                                                              
playing.   Rolling  back   the  smart   justice  provisions   will                                                              
drastically  affect many  of the  people  that are  caught in  the                                                              
epidemic.  She maintained  that  public safety  is increased  when                                                              
people  are   given  opportunities.  She  provided   examples  and                                                              
relayed  her  personal  experience.  She urged  the  committee  to                                                              
reevaluate  rolling back provisions  of the  original bill  and to                                                              
stick to smart on crime measures.                                                                                               
1:49:21 PM                                                                                                                    
MIA BERZANSKE, representing  herself, said she has  been an addict                                                              
for 10  years and  her first conviction  was a  class B  felony in                                                              
2014.  She  went  to jail  for  a  year  and has  three  years  of                                                              
probation.  When she relapsed,  her probation  was transferred  to                                                              
Juneau and  she was placed  in the PACE  program. She was  given a                                                              
couple of chances and is now a leader in the recovery community.                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL  asked her  to explain how  the PACE program  worked                                                              
when she relapsed.                                                                                                              
MS. BERZANSKE  credited the PACE  program with giving  her chances                                                              
when she relapsed instead of putting her in jail.                                                                               
CHAIR COGHILL asked if the treatment has been effective.                                                                        
MS.  BERZANSKE  replied  it  made  a  huge  difference.  When  she                                                              
relapsed  in  December,  she was  given  treatment  at  Rainforest                                                              
Recovery.  Now she lives  at Haven  House and  has found  the peer                                                              
support crucial in her recovery.                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL  thanked Ms. Berzanske  and commented that she  is a                                                              
good example of the value of accountability and services.                                                                       
1:53:26 PM                                                                                                                    
JORDAN  ODAM, representing  himself,  told  the committee  he  has                                                              
felony convictions  for robbery  and assault.  He said  that since                                                              
Senate Bill  91 passed he  has seen people  thrive when  there was                                                              
little  hope  before.  Previously,  young  people  who  had  light                                                              
probation  violations were  sent  to jail  for  up to  a year.  He                                                              
related that  he was in jail for  nine days after his  last parole                                                              
violation and  the day he  got out he  landed a construction  job.                                                              
He is  motivated and  feels that  he is doing  better than  he has                                                              
since he  first entered the  system at  age 18. He  voiced support                                                              
for  smart  on   crime  measures  because  they   give  people  an                                                              
opportunity  to spend less  time in  jail, a place  that is  not a                                                              
recovery situation.  He reiterated that people who  need treatment                                                              
are getting chances now.                                                                                                        
CHAIR COGHILL  said the committee  is looking for ways  people can                                                              
be held accountable and remain productive.                                                                                      
1:58:28 PM                                                                                                                    
STEPHANIE STAVELAN,  Director of Provider Care,  Priceless Alaska,                                                              
said  this nonprofit  works  with individuals  who  have been  sex                                                              
trafficked.  She has  been working  in  this area  since 2013  and                                                              
previously  served  as  a mental  health  clinician  working  with                                                              
victims of  sex trafficking. She  thanked Senator Coghill  and the                                                              
committee  for   amending  the  part   of  Senate  Bill   91  that                                                              
unintentionally  created  a  loophole  for  sex  traffickers.  She                                                              
emphasized  that sex  trafficking  and prostitution  are two  very                                                              
different  issues,  but passing  stricter  laws  for both  is  the                                                              
first step in the fight to end human trafficking in Alaska.                                                                     
2:00:42 PM                                                                                                                    
GRETCHEN  STAFT,   Board  of  Directors,  Alaska   Association  of                                                              
Criminal Defense  Lawyers, said she  just received the new  CS for                                                              
SB 54  so she hasn't  had time to  identify areas of  concern, but                                                              
she does believe  it is too early  to reform Senate Bill  91. That                                                              
bill was based on  a huge amount of data and  research and had the                                                              
goals of reducing  both state spending and recidivism.  It appears                                                              
that some of the  changes proposed in SB 54 seem  to undermine the                                                              
goals of  Senate Bill 91. She  opined that the  presumptive active                                                              
term  of  imprisonment  for  a   first  class  C  felony  will  be                                                              
counterproductive.  She pointed  out the  Alaska Criminal  Justice                                                              
Commission  ("Commission") said  that the  2017 recommendation  to                                                              
on  this issue  was  based on  reports  from  law enforcement  and                                                              
prosecutors.  There  was  no  data  to show  that  this  would  be                                                              
effective  in reducing  recidivism,  but it  was almost  certainly                                                              
guaranteed to increase  the prison population. She  disagreed with                                                              
a  prosecutor's claim  that active  jail  would incentivize  later                                                              
treatment. She  emphasized that  what would incentivize  treatment                                                              
is a  suspended term  of imprisonment,  and that  was provided  in                                                              
Senate Bill 91.                                                                                                                 
MS.  STAFT emphasized  that  treatment, employment,  housing,  and                                                              
ties  to the  family  are  very  important in  determining  future                                                              
success.  Sending a  person to jail,  particularly  if they  are a                                                              
youthful  offender, will  undermine  all the  foregoing. She  said                                                              
she  has represented  hundreds  of theft  defendants  and none  of                                                              
them  said they  weighed  the  criminal penalties  beforehand  and                                                              
decided to  commit the  crime because they  wouldn't face  much or                                                              
any  jail time  if they  got caught.  People commit  crimes for  a                                                              
variety  of reasons  including  desperation,  substance abuse,  or                                                              
mental illness.  She said  the reinvestment  provisions in  Senate                                                              
Bill 91  into recovery  programs will be  helpful in  reducing the                                                              
overall  crime  rate, but  the  bill  hasn't  been in  place  long                                                              
enough to  see the benefit  of those changes.  Until that  data is                                                              
available, it's too early to make changes.                                                                                      
CHAIR COGHILL  suggested she  submit her  comments in  writing. He                                                              
said  the accountability  measures  are primarily  what are  under                                                              
2:07:38 PM                                                                                                                    
VICKI WALLER,  representing  herself, testified  that some  of the                                                              
consequences in  SB 54 are not  harsh enough. She admitted  she is                                                              
struggling with  the Commission's  recommendations and  the public                                                              
perception of  what is happening.  She said  it's good to  have an                                                              
evidenced-based  tool  in  the  toolbox,  but it's  not  the  full                                                              
Monte.  She talked  about the diversity  in Alaska  that makes  it                                                              
difficult  to identify  what is  going  on. She  also pointed  out                                                              
that a  lot of people  charged with a  first -time class  C felony                                                              
have   had  several   previous   felonies   that   pled  down   to                                                              
misdemeanors. "By  the time they  get their first conviction  on a                                                              
felony, they've already  had several chances." She  noted that the                                                              
prosecutor's  office   said  that  33  percent  of   cases  aren't                                                              
accepted  due to lack  of resources,  and three  percent of  those                                                              
cases are felonies.                                                                                                             
She reported  that 55  percent of the  felonies in superior  court                                                              
last year  were crimes  that had  victims, and  39 percent  of the                                                              
misdemeanors  had victims. That  needs to  be considered  with the                                                              
penalties, she said.  She acknowledged that it was  clear early on                                                              
that the  penalty for shoplifting  wasn't going to work  because a                                                              
person  commits many  shoplifting  events  before they're  caught.                                                              
Some  thieves  hit  several  stores  in one  day.  She  said  loss                                                              
prevention  managers for  box stores disagree  with the  statement                                                              
from   corrections  that   shoplifters   are  generally   stealing                                                              
toiletries.  She  said  she isn't  against  treatment,  but  feels                                                              
strongly  that victims  need justice  when  they're robbed,  their                                                              
home is  burglarized, or  their car is  stolen. It doesn't  matter                                                              
why  somebody committed  the crime,  there must  be a  consequence                                                              
when a victim  has suffered a loss.  The lack of a  consequence is                                                              
what   is   making   people   so   angry.   She   also   expressed                                                              
dissatisfaction  with the  idea that  anyone who  is sentenced  to                                                              
less  than  four  years  in  jail will  spend  time  on  an  ankle                                                              
monitor.  She cited  the example  of someone  who committed  armed                                                              
robbery  and was  out  of jail  and  on an  ankle  monitor in  six                                                              
months.  She expressed  hope  that the  committee  would take  her                                                              
testimony into consideration.                                                                                                   
CHAIR  COGHILL thanked  Ms. Waller  and  asked her  to submit  her                                                              
testimony in  writing, because the  statistics she cited  would be                                                              
2:13:47 PM                                                                                                                    
OLIVIA  OLSEN, representing  herself, said  she is  the mother  of                                                              
four children  and has struggled  with addiction since she  was 14                                                              
years old.  She described Senate Bill  91 as being helpful  to her                                                              
personally. It gave  her an opportunity to be  accountable for her                                                              
crimes,  most  of  which  were theft.  She  shared  that  now  she                                                              
understands  how victims  feel, but  she was  stealing to  support                                                              
her habit and didn't think of the consequences.                                                                                 
In  2012  she pled  to  two  felonies and  six  misdemeanors.  She                                                              
served six  months and  received four months  good time.  When she                                                              
got out  she had  two violations  and  had to serve  14 months  in                                                              
jail  with no  opportunity for  treatment. She  said she  realized                                                              
what she'd  done was  wrong but  it's a  difficult cycle  to break                                                              
without  treatment or  some kind  of help. When  she relapsed  the                                                              
last  time, she  assumed  responsibility  and told  her  probation                                                              
officer. She reiterated  that Senate Bill 91 offers  offenders the                                                              
opportunity to be  accountable and move forward.  She is currently                                                              
receiving  treatment  and  working   to  pay  restitution  to  her                                                              
CHAIR  COGHILL  thanked  Ms.  Olsen  and told  her  that  she  has                                                              
demonstrated that some  of what the legislature has  done has made                                                              
a difference in  people's lives. He agreed that  accountability is                                                              
very important                                                                                                                  
2:19:32 PM                                                                                                                    
TARA RICH,  Legal and  Policy Director, ACLU  of Alaska,  said she                                                              
would  speak to  three  aspects  of SB  54 that  are  particularly                                                              
problematic:  1)  changing  violation  of  conditions  of  release                                                              
(VCOR)  from a violation  to a  class B  misdemeanor; 2)  changing                                                              
the  presumptive term  for  a first-time  class  C  felony from  a                                                              
suspended sentence  to 0-120 days  of active imprisonment;  3) and                                                              
the increased  penalty on a third  offense of theft in  the fourth                                                              
degree.  She urged  the  committee to  give  the reinvestment  and                                                              
diversionary programs  a chance to  work before making  changes to                                                              
the policy. She  pointed out that the 2017 recommendations  do not                                                              
reflect the  same sound goals  and processes that  the legislature                                                              
sought  when  it   created  the  Commission.  She   suggested  the                                                              
committee  look at  whether the  proposed changes  will solve  the                                                              
problem and what it will cost.                                                                                                  
She said  the issue  with violation  of conditions  of release  is                                                              
the perception  that  VCOR offenders  need to  appear in front  of                                                              
the  judge that  decided the  underlying criminal  case. They  are                                                              
the  most familiar  with  the case  and  will  make the  necessary                                                              
changes.  The fix  that SB  54 proposes  is  to incarcerate  these                                                              
individuals at  a cost of about  $150 per person per day.  This is                                                              
a very  expensive fix and it  removes the judge's  discretion. She                                                              
pointed out that  the fix that's already available,  and has begun                                                              
to work,  gives the judge in  the original case the  discretion to                                                              
write instructions  in the bail  order based on that  judge's view                                                              
of  that case.  She emphasized  that  it is  unnecessary and  very                                                              
expensive for  the legislature to step  in and make a  fix at this                                                              
Regarding increasing  the first-time  class C felony  penalty, she                                                              
said the  Commission  noted that  there is no  evidence that  this                                                              
fix  will achieve  the  goals of  public  safety, deterrence,  and                                                              
rehabilitation.  She noted  that  she provided  written  testimony                                                              
that there is  evidence that recidivism rates are  higher for low-                                                              
risk  class   C  felony  offenders   who  are  incarcerated.   She                                                              
questioned,  "Is presumptive  incarceration going  to provide  the                                                              
public safety fix  that we're looking for?" She  pointed out there                                                              
has  been  ample   testimony  that  maintaining   community  ties,                                                              
employment,  and  housing  is  crucial  in  keeping  someone  from                                                              
reentering the criminal justice system.                                                                                         
MS. RICH  spoke to the provision  that increases the penalty  on a                                                              
third  offense of  theft  in the  fourth  degree. She  highlighted                                                              
that  the Commission  received  no evidence  that  petty theft  is                                                              
related   to  prison   sentences.  She   concluded  her   comments                                                              
emphasizing the  importance of making  statutory changes  based on                                                              
evidence-based data. "Before  we reopen the ¼  prison pipeline, we                                                              
must  give  this  entire  program  a chance  to  work  as  it  was                                                              
designed. That  includes allowing the reinvestment  opportunities,                                                              
the diversionary programs to work."                                                                                             
CHAIR COGHILL  asked if  the written  testimony she submitted  was                                                              
directed to version O.                                                                                                          
MS. RICH said yes.                                                                                                              
2:26:12 PM                                                                                                                    
CRYSTAL  GODBY,  Community  United   for  Safety  and  Protection,                                                              
requested  the committee  remove Section  20 [sic]  of SB  54. She                                                              
related  that she  previously was  a  sex worker  for three  years                                                              
because she  was a drug addict  and homeless. She stated  that she                                                              
has been  sober for 13  months. She shared  that sex  workers know                                                              
they can't call  the police if things go wrong. They  have to look                                                              
out  for each  other.  This  includes  talking about  clients  and                                                              
sharing  good clients,  sharing  hotel  rooms, giving  each  other                                                              
rides  to calls, and  waiting outside  or hiring  someone  to wait                                                              
outside  as a  safety  net. However,  when  those safety  measures                                                              
become  felonies, sex  workers are  much less  likely to look  out                                                              
for one another.                                                                                                                
MS. GODBY concluded  her testimony urging the committee  to listen                                                              
to  the testimony  about  the  good Senate  Bill  91  has done  to                                                              
reduce recidivism.  Women she saw  cycling through the  system are                                                              
now home with their families and holding jobs.                                                                                  
CHAIR COGHILL  said he  believes the  bill addresses her  request,                                                              
but he is open to further discussion.                                                                                           
2:28:18 PM                                                                                                                    
BUTCH  MOORE,  representing  himself,  advised  that  he  is  Bree                                                              
Moore's father  and he has concerns  with Senate Bill 91.  He said                                                              
SB 54 does  not address class  B felonies. Senate Bill  91 changed                                                              
the penalty  for a  class B felony  to zero to  two years  in jail                                                              
with a  suspended imposition  of  sentence. He  said that  means a                                                              
judge  could   potentially  impose   a  suspended  imposition   of                                                              
sentence with  basically two  years of  probation for  someone who                                                              
pleads a  murder or  manslaughter charge  to criminally  negligent                                                              
homicide.  He maintained  the  charge would  be  removed from  the                                                              
offender's  record  if  he/she  didn't  violate  during  that  two                                                              
years. "So that  man could be dating your daughter,  and you go to                                                              
look him  up on CourtView  and he killed  someone, but  it doesn't                                                              
show up."  He cited examples of  other class B felonies  and urged                                                              
the committee  to look at those  crimes and impose a  minimum jail                                                              
MR. MOORE expressed  frustration with the law  regarding violating                                                              
conditions  of release  and  class C  felonies.  He described  the                                                              
following that  he blamed on Senate  Bill 91: A man (who  he later                                                              
identified  as Mr.  Santiago)  assaulted  his girlfriend  and  was                                                              
charged  with a  class C  felony. He  was released  on a  deferred                                                              
prosecution and given  conditions of release that  he violated. He                                                              
had contact  with Anchorage police  officers three more  times and                                                              
was always  released. He also  walked into  the FBI office  with a                                                              
handgun,  which he  was not supposed  to have,  and was  released.                                                              
After that  the man "got  on an airplane  and went to  Florida and                                                              
he killed five people and wounded eight."                                                                                       
MR. MOORE expressed  appreciation that Senator Coghill  brought SB
54  forward  to  make  desperately  needed  changes  to  violating                                                              
conditions  of release  and class  C felonies.  He then  described                                                              
accounts  of Trevon  Aldridge. He  was arrested  and charged  with                                                              
weapons  misconduct  and  criminal  mischief and  released  on  no                                                              
bail; in  August 2016 he  was in possession  of a firearm  when he                                                              
smashed  multiple vehicles,  including  two police  cars, but  was                                                              
let go;  and on November  15, 2016 he  was arrested  for allegedly                                                              
shooting William Schmaus  in the back of the head.  Mr. Moore said                                                              
he appreciates that  Senate Bill 91 has done good  things for some                                                              
of  the people  who testified  today, but  his appeal  is to  give                                                              
judges the flexibility  to impose more than five days  in jail for                                                              
VCOR when  the person  "is violent like  Santiago or  mentally ill                                                              
or unstable or has a restraining order".                                                                                        
CHAIR COGHILL  clarified that a  suspended imposition  of sentence                                                              
does stay on an  individual's record and class B  felonies do have                                                              
mandatory minimums, just not the first time.                                                                                    
2:35:33 PM                                                                                                                    
TERRA BURNS,  Community United  for Safety  and Protection,  asked                                                              
the committee  to remove  Section 20  [sic] of  SB 54.  She shared                                                              
that   she  became   interested   in  policies   related  to   sex                                                              
trafficking at age  16 when a Fairbanks district  attorney decided                                                              
against   charging   her   father   for   trafficking   her.   The                                                              
justification   given   was   that   juries   didn't   like   teen                                                              
prostitutes. After  working in the sex industry for  20 years, she                                                              
retired. As  part of her master's  degree from UAF  she researched                                                              
the  life experiences  and  policy  recommendations  of people  in                                                              
Alaska's  sex trade.  She  said that  research  was replicated  at                                                              
Brown University and  she now travels the world  talking about sex                                                              
policy and  research. Most  recently she  spoke at the  University                                                              
of Cambridge and  advised researchers with  Amnesty International.                                                              
She continued as follows:                                                                                                       
     Section 20 of  this bill proposes to  remove subsections                                                                   
     of  AS  11.66.130  and 135,  which  prevent  prosecutors                                                                   
     from charging  prostitutes with sex trafficking  if they                                                                   
     have not  induced anybody into  prostitution or  are not                                                                   
     in a location with a sex trafficking victim.                                                                               
     You've   heard  a   lot  of   things   about  what   sex                                                                   
     trafficking  is, but  I think  we should  be very  clear                                                                   
     that 11.66.130  and 135 only apply to having  a place of                                                                   
     prostitution,  which can include  the prostitute's  home                                                                   
     or   hotel  room,   and   to  aiding   or   facilitating                                                                   
     prostitution,  which  is  so   broad  that  a  woman  in                                                                   
     Fairbanks was  charged with sex trafficking  herself for                                                                   
     aiding and facilitating her own prostitution.                                                                              
     You heard  earlier that  sex trafficking involves  force                                                                   
     and coercion,  but we  don't even  have coercion  in our                                                                   
     Alaska statute.  We should. We should have  coercion, we                                                                   
     should  have threats,  we  should have  threats  against                                                                   
     victims'  families especially, but  we don't have  that.                                                                   
     Force  is defined  in [AS  11.]66.110, and  there is  no                                                                   
     exception in  110 or 120 for  people who are  engaged in                                                                   
     The legislative  and administrative intent was  clear in                                                                   
     creating  the  sex  trafficking statute  in  2012.  That                                                                   
     these  statutes  were  to be  used  against  people  who                                                                   
     exploited  and  harmed  sex  workers,  not  against  sex                                                                   
     workers themselves.  But every person the  Department of                                                                   
     Law  charged  under  these  statutes in  the  first  two                                                                   
     years  -  2012  and  2013,  was  an  alleged  prostitute                                                                   
     charged with  prostitution of  herself in the  very same                                                                   
     case that she was charged with trafficking herself.                                                                        
     Legislative intent  was clear last year in  creating the                                                                   
     subsections  that Section  20  would remove  - that  sex                                                                   
     workers who  have not  induced anyone into  prostitution                                                                   
     should not  be charged with  sex trafficking  when their                                                                   
     conduct  amounts  to prostitution.  Despite  this  clear                                                                   
     intent,  you  heard  Wednesday from  Mr.  Skidmore  that                                                                   
     this  was  an  accidental   loophole.  This  is  not  an                                                                   
     accidental loophole.                                                                                                       
     The Department  of Law  wrote in a  June 17 letter  that                                                                   
     no one  ever had  or could  be charged with  trafficking                                                                   
     themselves  under   these  statutes  even   though  they                                                                   
     clearly  were aware  that they had  filed these  charges                                                                   
     and discussed  it during  the last legislative  session.                                                                   
     In  their   recommendations  to  the   Criminal  Justice                                                                   
     Commission,  the  Department  of Law  wrote  that  these                                                                   
     sections   would    prevent   them   from    prosecuting                                                                   
     independent  sex workers  working in  the same  location                                                                   
     as a sex  trafficking enterprise. This is  untrue on two                                                                   
     levels. First,  a prostitution enterprise is  defined in                                                                   
     [AS]  ll.66.120  and  not affected  by  the  subsections                                                                   
     this  bill proposes  removing.  Second, the  subsections                                                                   
     clearly say  that if a  worker is  in a location  with a                                                                   
     person  who  has  been trafficked,  they  can  still  be                                                                   
     charged under [AS 11.66.130 and 135].                                                                                      
     More importantly,  if a  sex worker  found herself  in a                                                                   
     location with  a victim of genuine trafficking,  the sex                                                                   
     worker  should  be  encouraged   to  report  this  crime                                                                   
     rather  than  being  hunted  down as  a  sex  trafficker                                                                   
     herself.  Sex workers  and  clients of  sex workers  are                                                                   
     usually   the  first  responders   in  sex   trafficking                                                                   
     situations.  And your  responsibility  to public  safety                                                                   
     demands  that   these  people  not  fact   felonies  for                                                                   
     reporting these situations to law enforcement.                                                                             
     [AS]  11.66.130 and  135  are so  broad  that they  even                                                                   
     define   many    sex   trafficking   victims    as   sex                                                                   
     traffickers. I  can tell you of at least  one case where                                                                   
     the  subsections the  bill proposes  removing worked  as                                                                   
     intended  and a victim  of violent  sex trafficking  was                                                                   
     able to  make a  report after she  was assured  that she                                                                   
     and   other   victims   could  not   be   charged   with                                                                   
     trafficking  for driving each  other to calls  or taking                                                                   
     pictures of each  other for ads. But you  have not heard                                                                   
     of any  cases where  a perpetrator  was harming  someone                                                                   
     and  could  not be  charged  with  it because  of  these                                                                   
     Removing   these  subsections  is   not  based   on  any                                                                   
     evaluations of  how they have impacted public  safety or                                                                   
     cases that  weren't charged  or reported because  of it.                                                                   
     This  is  a strong  departure  from  the  evidence-based                                                                   
     nature of Senate  Bill 91 [and] should not  be permitted                                                                   
     to move forward.                                                                                                           
     Although  the trafficking  statute was  not in  existing                                                                   
     when I  was a trafficking victim  here in Alaska  - back                                                                   
     then  it was  part  of the  SAM laws.  If  it had  been,                                                                   
     these  subsections would  have allowed  sex workers  who                                                                   
     were  my coworkers  to report  my abuse  so I would  not                                                                   
     have  continued   being  trafficked  for   three  years.                                                                   
     Removing  these  sections   puts  sex  workers  and  sex                                                                   
     trafficking  victims at risk.  And when you  create laws                                                                   
     that put  us at risk, they  get played out. We  see them                                                                   
     used  against sex  workers and  sex trafficking  victims                                                                   
     who should  not be  the experiments  for how these  laws                                                                   
     will play out.                                                                                                             
     The  proposed definition  in  Section 5  would not  have                                                                   
     allowed  the woman  who  worked  with me  when  I was  a                                                                   
     victim  to report  without  being charged,  even if  the                                                                   
     definition  were not  so  unclear. However,  as  written                                                                   
     the definition  causes undue confusion and  will prevent                                                                   
     the reporting of actual violent crime.                                                                                     
MS. BURNS  encouraged the committee  to listen to the  addicts and                                                              
felons who  testified because  there is  some overlap  between the                                                              
communities.  She  reiterated her  request  to remove  Section  20                                                              
from the bill.                                                                                                                  
CHAIR COGHILL asked her to let the committee know the places                                                                    
that the language doesn't work.                                                                                                 
MS. BURNS said she submitted concise information about that.                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL said his office would follow up with her.                                                                         
2:44:26 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COSTELLO asked if she would provide her testimony in                                                                    
MRS. BURNS agreed to do so.                                                                                                     
2:45:05 PM                                                                                                                    
DON  HABEGER,  Community Coordinator,  Juneau  Reentry  Coalition,                                                              
Juneau, Alaska,  explained that the  coalition started in  2013 as                                                              
a community  response  to high recidivism  rates.  It was  an all-                                                              
volunteer workforce  until late 2015 when they  partnered with the                                                              
Alaska Mental Health  Trust. In November 2015 he was  hired as the                                                              
coalition's sole staff member.                                                                                                  
He explained that  the coalition relies heavily  on evidence-based                                                              
data and  fidelity to research in  its work to  address recidivism                                                              
and  ensure public  safety. The  intent is  to cover  the back  of                                                              
somebody  who  wants  community  help.  This  is  done  using  the                                                              
concepts  of risk,  need,  and  responsivity that  the  Commission                                                              
looked at when it developed community case management.                                                                          
MR. HABEGER  said he is pointing  that out because Senate  Bill 91                                                              
is relatively  new  and a significant  piece  of it was  evidence-                                                              
based.  He urged  the committee  to be  mindful of  evidence-based                                                              
research as  it deliberates  on SB  54 and make  it the  center of                                                              
any new policies.                                                                                                               
2:48:00 PM                                                                                                                    
DONNA THOMPSON,  Priceless Alaska,  advised that Priceless  speaks                                                              
from  the firsthand  experience  of working  with law  enforcement                                                              
and numerous  victims. She  related that  their internal  data and                                                              
national trends indicate  that the crime of exploiting  others for                                                              
profit is the fastest  growing crime in the nation  and in Alaska.                                                              
This crime  has moved into the  world of internet  recruiting that                                                              
allows access  for grooming  and exploitation  of young  people by                                                              
total  strangers. Our  children are  becoming a  new commodity  in                                                              
what has  become a  $100 billion sex  industry. She  described the                                                              
current  laws as  woefully inadequate  to  deter traffickers  from                                                              
committing this crime in Alaska.                                                                                                
MS. THOMPSON  stated  that Priceless  Alaska supports  SB 54  as a                                                              
start  to toward  keeping the  children, youth,  and citizenry  of                                                              
Alaska safe from becoming the next victim of modern day slavery.                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL  relayed that Ms.  Burns and Ms. Thompson  both have                                                              
the  goal of  ending sex  trafficking,  although their  approaches                                                              
are different.                                                                                                                  
2:50:49 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KELLY  stated that  the earlier  testimony linking  Senate                                                              
Bill 91 and Mr. Santiago was seriously flawed. He continued:                                                                    
     I would  like, if possible,  for you [Mr. Chairman]  and                                                                   
     your office  to rebut that testimony because  I've heard                                                                   
     it on talk  shows. There was quite a bit of  it that was                                                                   
     just  plain  false and  inflammatory.  I would  like  it                                                                   
     read into  the record,  as many  other things have  been                                                                   
     read  into the  record, so  that we can  make sure  that                                                                   
     the truth prevails, at least through this process.                                                                         
CHAIR COGHILL agreed to respond.                                                                                                
2:52:47 PM                                                                                                                    
LEVY SMITH,  representing himself,  testified in opposition  to SB
54 He  said he isn't well  versed on either  Senate Bill 91  or SB
54, but  he was encouraged  to testify  because he has  a personal                                                              
connection. He  explained that he  was born with  Joubert syndrome                                                              
and has always had  anger issues. In 2015 he  was incarcerated for                                                              
assaulting his mother.  He spent three days in jail  before he was                                                              
placed on third  party release. He offered his  understanding that                                                              
Senate Bill  91 was enacted just  eight months ago  and encouraged                                                              
the committee  to wait until there  is evidence that the  new laws                                                              
aren't working. He concluded, "I don't agree with SB 54."                                                                       
CHAIR COGHILL thanked Mr. Smith for his concise testimony.                                                                      
He stated he  would keep public  testimony open and hold  SB 54 in                                                              
committee awaiting a fiscal note.                                                                                               
2:57:16 PM                                                                                                                    
There  being no  further business  to come  before the  committee,                                                              
Chair Coghill  adjourned the  Senate Judiciary Standing  Committee                                                              
meeting at 2:57 p.m.                                                                                                            

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