Legislature(2019 - 2020)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

02/18/2019 01:30 PM JUDICIARY

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Audio Topic
01:32:37 PM Start
01:33:13 PM SB12|| SB35
03:13:46 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= SB 12 ASSAULT; SEX OFFENSES; SENTENCING CREDIT TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= SB 35 CRIMES;SEX CRIMES;SENTENCING; PAROLE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-Invited Testimony Followed by Public Testimony-
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                       February 18, 2019                                                                                        
                           1:32 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Shelley Hughes, Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Lora Reinbold, Vice Chair                                                                                               
Senator Peter Micciche                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Mike Shower                                                                                                             
Senator Jesse Kiehl                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR SENATE BILL NO. 12                                                                                       
"An Act  relating to  crime and  criminal procedure;  relating to                                                               
assault and  sexual assault; relating to  harassment; relating to                                                               
credit  toward a  sentence of  imprisonment for  time spent  in a                                                               
treatment program  or under electronic monitoring;  and providing                                                               
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 35                                                                                                              
"An Act  eliminating marriage as  a defense to certain  crimes of                                                               
sexual assault;  relating to enticement  of a minor;  relating to                                                               
harassment in  the first  degree; relating  to harassment  in the                                                               
second degree;  relating to indecent  viewing or production  of a                                                               
picture;  relating   to  the  definition  of   'sexual  contact';                                                               
relating   to  assault   in  the   second  degree;   relating  to                                                               
sentencing;  relating  to  prior  convictions;  relating  to  the                                                               
definition of  'most serious felony'; relating  to the definition                                                               
of 'sexual  felony'; relating to  the duty  of a sex  offender or                                                               
child  kidnapper   to  register;  relating  to   eligibility  for                                                               
discretionary parole; and providing for an effective date."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB  12                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: ASSAULT; SEX OFFENSES; SENTENCING CREDIT                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) MICCICHE                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
01/16/19       (S)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/7/19                                                                                
01/16/19       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/16/19       (S)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
02/13/19       (S)       SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE INTRODUCED-REFERRALS                                                                
02/13/19       (S)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
02/13/19       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
02/13/19       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/13/19       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/15/19       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
02/15/19       (S)       Scheduled but Not Heard                                                                                
02/18/19       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 35                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: CRIMES;SEX CRIMES;SENTENCING; PAROLE                                                                               
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
01/23/19       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/23/19       (S)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
02/13/19       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
02/13/19       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/13/19       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/15/19       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
02/15/19       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/15/19       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/18/19       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CARMEN LOWRY, Ph.D., Executive Director                                                                                         
Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault                                                                          
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified during the discussion of SB 12 and                                                              
SB 35.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ELIZABETH WILLIAMS, Cofounder                                                                                                   
No More Free Passes                                                                                                             
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 12 and SB 35.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
KEELEY OLSON, Executive Director                                                                                                
Standing Together Against Rape (STAR)                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 12 and SB 35.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
VICTORIA SHANKLIN, Executive Director                                                                                           
Victims for Justice                                                                                                             
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 12 and SB 35.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
KATIE BOTZ, representing herself                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DIANE SCHENKER, representing herself                                                                                            
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 12 and 35.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MICHELE VASQUEZ, representing herself                                                                                           
Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 12 and suggested                                                               
an amendment for SB 35.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MIKE COONS, representing self                                                                                                   
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 35.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
TANIA SILVA-JOHNSON, representing herself                                                                                       
Kodiak, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 12 and SB 35.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
JOHN SKIDMORE, Director                                                                                                         
Criminal Division                                                                                                               
Department of Law                                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented a sectional analysis for SB 35.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:32:37 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHELLEY HUGHES called the Senate Judiciary Standing                                                                     
Committee meeting to order at 1:32 p.m. Present at the call to                                                                  
order were Senators Reinbold, Micciche, and Chair Hughes.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
         SB 12-ASSAULT; SEX OFFENSES; SENTENCING CREDIT                                                                     
           SB 35-CRIMES;SEX CRIMES;SENTENCING; PAROLE                                                                       
                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:33:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES  announced that  the  order  of business  would  be                                                               
invited and  public testimony for  SB 12, SPONSOR  SUBSTITUTE FOR                                                               
SENATE  BILL NO.  12,  "An  Act relating  to  crime and  criminal                                                               
procedure; relating  to assault  and sexual assault;  relating to                                                               
harassment; relating to credit toward  a sentence of imprisonment                                                               
for  time  spent  in  a treatment  program  or  under  electronic                                                               
monitoring; and providing for an effective date," and                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 35, "An Act  eliminating marriage as a defense to                                                               
certain crimes  of sexual  assault; relating  to enticement  of a                                                               
minor; relating  to harassment in  the first degree;  relating to                                                               
harassment in the second degree;  relating to indecent viewing or                                                               
production of  a picture; relating  to the definition  of 'sexual                                                               
contact'; relating to  assault in the second  degree; relating to                                                               
sentencing;  relating  to  prior  convictions;  relating  to  the                                                               
definition of  'most serious felony'; relating  to the definition                                                               
of 'sexual  felony'; relating to  the duty  of a sex  offender or                                                               
child  kidnapper   to  register;  relating  to   eligibility  for                                                               
discretionary parole; and providing for an effective date."                                                                     
CARMEN  LOWRY,  Ph.D.,  Executive  Director,  Alaska  Network  on                                                               
Domestic  Violence  and  Sexual   Assault  (ANDVSA),  stated  her                                                               
presentation specifically  would deal with  strangulation because                                                               
of  its  prominence  with  informing   these  bills.  ANDVSA  was                                                               
established  in 1977  when five  programs merged  to become  more                                                               
effective. Today it  has 24 members from across the  state and is                                                               
driven  by  its  mission  to  be a  collective  movement  to  end                                                               
violence and oppression through social change.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
DR.  LOWRY said  she was  originally from  western Kentucky.  She                                                               
started as  a children's  advocate in 1990  at a  Seattle shelter                                                               
and then  worked in Bethel  in the Tundra Women's  Coalition from                                                               
1992-97.  She   continued  working  on  issues   of  gender-based                                                               
violence  and  domestic  and   sexual  violence  in  humanitarian                                                               
settings  that included  Darfur, Burma,  Lebanon, Iraq,  and East                                                               
Timor.  She earned  a doctorate  in communications  in 2013.  She                                                               
moved  back to  Alaska in  2016. Her  goal is  to be  a technical                                                               
resource  for the  committee and  to  work with  the network  and                                                               
member programs so they can  also provide technical assistance to                                                               
the committee.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
DR. LOWRY  thanked the committee for  their legislative responses                                                               
to   the  [Justin]   Schneider  case   and  to   the  impact   of                                                               
strangulation,  which  has  been  very  much  a  part  of  Ashley                                                               
Johnson-Barr's  case.  With respect  to  SB  12, the  network  is                                                               
pleased that the  three major impacts to  Alaska's sexual assault                                                               
laws  that Senator  Micciche explained  in his  sponsor statement                                                               
are   all  impacts   they  agree   with:   one,  requiring   that                                                               
strangulation  to  the point  of  unconsciousness  is defined  as                                                               
assault  in the  first degree;  two, to  eliminate credit  toward                                                               
time served  for electronic monitoring  or private  residence for                                                               
sexual  assault  convictions;  and  three,  classifying  unwanted                                                               
contact with semen as a sexual crime.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:38:12 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. LOWRY  said SB 35  has close parallels and  addresses similar                                                               
concerns.  These  will  have  a  demonstrable  impact  on  sexual                                                               
assault laws.  SB 35 amends  the definition of sexual  contact to                                                               
include contact with semen and  makes unwanted contact with semen                                                               
a  sexual  offense,  requires registration  as  a  sex  offender,                                                               
enhances strangulation  sentencing, revises the  out-of-state sex                                                               
offender process  to require people  who have been  registered in                                                               
other states  to register in  Alaska, and addresses  the marriage                                                               
defense of sexual assault.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DR.  LOWRY   said  she  wanted   to  share   information  because                                                               
strangulation is so prominent in both  bills and is such a deadly                                                               
tactic. She shared  some excerpts from an opinion  piece that she                                                               
and Dr. Tracey Wiese had written:                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Strangulation results in cerebral  hypoxia   this means that                                                               
     there  is  not  enough  oxygen delivered  to  the  brain  to                                                               
     maintain the functioning of the  brain and results in a loss                                                               
     of consciousness. A  victim who is being  strangled may lose                                                               
     consciousness in as little as  10 seconds   seconds that are                                                               
     often  filled with  confusion, disorientation  and disbelief                                                               
     and often a feeling of, "I will die."                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     If  victims  consistently   experience  bouts  of  non-fatal                                                               
     strangulation where critical  areas of the brain  do not get                                                               
     enough  oxygen or  neurological input,  they may  experience                                                               
     diminished brain  functioning resulting  in memory  loss and                                                               
     minor strokes.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Dr.   Nancy   Glass   reported  in   2008   that   non-fatal                                                               
     strangulation is  an important  risk factor for  homicide in                                                               
     domestic  violence victims.  This  means  that when  victims                                                               
     report  that their  partners have  "choked" them    even  if                                                               
     there are  no marks    those victims  are at higher  risk of                                                               
     being murdered by their partner.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:40:58 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.  LOWRY said  strangulation  often leaves  no marks.  Partners                                                               
don't have to  squeeze, but just have to apply  pressure. That is                                                               
why  training  and  awareness  are so  important.  They  need  to                                                               
remember that  victims are not  choked, they are  strangled. That                                                               
is why terminology is so important.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
DR. LOWRY  said that data from  the 2017 Alaska Felony  Level Sex                                                               
Offense Crime report shows that  the felony level sexual offenses                                                               
for  perpetrator  and victim  are  being  experienced by  younger                                                               
people  and victims  and suspects  are disproportionately  Alaska                                                               
Native. The  most common  age for  victims ranged  from 12  to 19                                                               
years old. Out of the nearly  1,500 victims reporting in 2017, 45                                                               
percent  were Alaska  Native  females. The  most  common age  for                                                               
suspects was from 17 to 28  years old. Out of the 1,442 suspects,                                                               
36 percent  were Alaska  Native, and 95  percent of  all suspects                                                               
were male. In  97 percent of the 1,500 incidents  of felony level                                                               
sexual  offense, the  victim  and suspect  knew  each other.  She                                                               
called that chilling. About 76  percent of the incident locations                                                               
were reported as a residence or home.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DR. LOWRY concluded  by stating there is lots  of information and                                                               
data. They are about to move  forward and make decisions based on                                                               
the information they know. "We can change this," she said.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  HUGHES asked  her to  give some  background on  the Ashley                                                               
Johnson-Barr case.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:43:51 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.  LOWRY said  the earliest  news stories  about the  Barr Case                                                               
referenced a report  that she was discovered  with ligature marks                                                               
on her. Dr. Lowry said she had  to look up what that meant. Those                                                               
are marks are  made by tying something around, whether  a rope or                                                               
a cord.  There are two  different types of strangulation.  One is                                                               
manual  when people  use  their  hands, arms,  or  foot to  apply                                                               
pressure. The other  is when something is wrapped  around to stop                                                               
the flow of oxygen. She was  struck by how painful that must have                                                               
been.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR REINBOLD asked if she  were testifying for or against the                                                               
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DR.  LOWRY said  the  network was  not prepared  to  take a  firm                                                               
stance. They are very much in  support of all the elements of the                                                               
bill. Since  they are a  membership-based organization,  she must                                                               
go through committees  to make sure the network  is in agreement,                                                               
so that  when she says the  network is in support,  the committee                                                               
will know  that all members are  in support. They have  a meeting                                                               
tomorrow   and  should   be  able   to  submit   letters  clearly                                                               
articulating what they do support.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR REINBOLD asked her to submit any ideas for amendments.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:46:32 PM                                                                                                                    
ELIZABETH WILLIAMS,  Cofounder, No  More Free  Passes, Anchorage,                                                               
stated that No  More Free Passes is a  nonpartisan advocacy group                                                               
founded in  September 2018,  the day  after the  Justin Schneider                                                               
sentencing. The crime  that he committed was so  horrible that it                                                               
sparked state  and national  outrage. It  was covered  by smaller                                                               
papers  and the  New  York  Times, the  Washington  Post, and  Al                                                               
Jazeera.   The  state   of  Alaska's   response  was   shockingly                                                               
inadequate.   They  felt   that   mistakes  were   made  by   the                                                               
prosecutors, mistakes in law have  been in place for decades, and                                                               
mistakes  were made  by  the  judge and  by  the  state in  their                                                               
response to  the public outrage.  They were grateful  when former                                                               
Governor  Walker   proposed  legislation   to  close   the  semen                                                               
loophole, but that  did not go far enough. That  is why the group                                                               
formed and why they are focusing on legislative advocacy.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILLIAMS  said they  felt, as  Governor Walker  had proposed,                                                               
that  the semen  loophole had  to be  closed, that  nonconsensual                                                               
contact with  semen needed  to be included  in the  definition of                                                               
sexual contact. What  really haunted her was that  the other part                                                               
of   the  assault   also  received   no  jail   time.  That   was                                                               
strangulation.  The fact  that Justin  Schneider's victim  passed                                                               
out thinking she would die and  that his eyes were the last thing                                                               
she  would see  and the  fact that  she is  now at  risk for  TBI                                                               
[traumatic brain injury],  PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder],                                                               
amnesia, depression, anxiety, mood changes  keep her up at night,                                                               
and the  fact that the state  of Alaska thought that  he deserved                                                               
zero jail time.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILLIAMS  explained that strangulation has  been described as                                                               
the  waterboarding   of  domestic   violence.  Nothing   is  more                                                               
terrifying than  the feeling of  being unable to breathe  with an                                                               
inability to fight this person  off. A lot of strangulation takes                                                               
place in the  home with children around. She was  a social worker                                                               
in  Bethel  for a  year  and  a half.  She  worked  with lots  of                                                               
children. One  of the worst  things that children would  tell her                                                               
was that "daddy chokes mommy."   Exposure to domestic violence is                                                               
the most negative thing that can  happen in a child's life. It is                                                               
more  negative  than   children  actually  experiencing  physical                                                               
violence themselves. That  is why she asks  that strangulation be                                                               
taken extremely seriously in the criminal code.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILLIAMS asked  what  can be  done  about strangulation  and                                                               
sexual assault. She did not  believe incarceration was the answer                                                               
to everything, but  incarceration gives a victim time  to get her                                                               
life back together, not just go to  a shelter for a few weeks and                                                               
return to  that home. She  could have time to  get a job  and get                                                               
her own  house. Incarceration  means a number  of years  in which                                                               
children are not  going home to a war zone.  The third portion of                                                               
SB  12 eliminates  credit for  electronic monitoring.  Credit for                                                               
electronic monitoring  came about  in 2015 through  HB 15.  SB 12                                                               
would  eliminate it  for sexual  assault  offenses. They  believe                                                               
that sexual  assault should  equal jail time,  not time  spent at                                                               
home.  Justin Schneider  spent  the total  of  his sentence,  one                                                               
year, sitting in a luxury home overlooking Kachemak Bay.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILLIAMS  said   that  giving  credit  for   time  spent  on                                                               
electronic monitoring at home means  defendants have an incentive                                                               
to delay a trial for as  long as possible. They can be convicted,                                                               
but they may have already served  much of their sentence at home.                                                               
That incentive to delay trials  is terrible for victims. A victim                                                               
might  have the  motivation  to report  her  assault the  morning                                                               
after and testify  before a grand jury or at  a bail hearing, but                                                               
to expect  her to come  back three  years later to  testify about                                                               
something she wants to forget is too  much to ask. It is also bad                                                               
for the public. People facing trial  at home still have access to                                                               
children, unless a judge has  specifically forbidden contact, and                                                               
the public.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILLIAMS said  that her group supports both bills.  SB 12 and                                                               
SB 35  will work  together well.  SB 12  will make  assault where                                                               
loss of consciousness can be  proven assault in the first degree,                                                               
the most  serious type  of assault.  Where loss  of consciousness                                                               
cannot be proven, it will still  be assault in the second degree.                                                               
SB 35  increases the sentencing  range, so prosecutors  will have                                                               
two different  tools. Alaska needs action,  not awareness. Alaska                                                               
has  done   awareness  campaign  after  awareness   campaign  and                                                               
authored study after study. The time  for that is over. They have                                                               
the numbers. Alaska  is the worst in the nation.  It is time make                                                               
real change.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR REINBOLD thanked  Ms. Williams for her  insights into the                                                               
law.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:54:09 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MICCICHE  said  the public  was  mortified,  angry,  and                                                               
sitting around in  disbelief about the Schneider case,  but a lot                                                               
of  people  didn't know  what  to  do  from there.  Ms.  Williams                                                               
mobilized,  put  the  right folks  together,  and  called  policy                                                               
makers. He  said she had  helped to  motivate him. They  had been                                                               
looking at  where to go  since the incident. She  helped motivate                                                               
him on  not trying to  change the entire criminal  justice world,                                                               
but to fix  what happened with the Justin  Schneider case. That's                                                               
what this  bill is about  because the public deserves  that. They                                                               
need to know  that this is not going to  happen again. He thanked                                                               
her for  her help  in keeping  pinpoint focus  on this  case over                                                               
which so  many Alaskans lost their  faith in the system.  "We can                                                               
bring  them back  by letting  them  know that  when these  things                                                               
occur, we're going to stop them," he said.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:56:26 PM                                                                                                                    
KEELEY OLSON, Executive Director,  Standing Together Against Rape                                                               
(STAR),  Anchorage, thanked  the  committee  for advancing  these                                                               
bills  which address  loopholes  in state  statute.  Each of  the                                                               
loopholes  addressed by  the bill  are policy  priorities set  by                                                               
STAR.  They illustrate  the dire  need across  the state  to hold                                                               
sexual  predators accountable.  She  cannot  agree more  strongly                                                               
with these  proposed bills. She  wanted to give examples  to show                                                               
the importance of updating these statues.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  OLSON said  she imagined  that SB  12 was  drafted with  the                                                               
tragic murder  of young Ashley  Johnson-Barr in Kotzebue  and the                                                               
unfortunate   sentencing    of   Justin   Schneider    in   mind.                                                               
Strangulation  is a  hideously common  form of  violence used  in                                                               
conjunction  with sexual  assault.  Traumatic  brain injuries  in                                                               
survivors  can be  attributed to  strangulation to  the point  of                                                               
unconsciousness, sometimes  repeatedly. She recounted a  story of                                                               
working with  a young woman  years ago who  had come to  the STAR                                                               
office for  assistance. She  had been  strangled during  a sexual                                                               
assault, released from the hospital,  but collapsed at the office                                                               
and never regained  consciousness and died. Her  offender was not                                                               
held accountable.  Richard Dale  Abrahamson was a  registered sex                                                               
offender  from Iowa.  He told  police he  moved to  Alaska for  a                                                               
fresh start  in 2016. He thought  he did not have  to register in                                                               
Alaska. This was  before the supreme court  ruled that registered                                                               
sex offenders  from other jurisdictions  would have  to register.                                                               
He is accused  of sexually abusing a 13-year-old  boy within days                                                               
of  his arrival.  Even though  he  made admissions  of abuse  and                                                               
there  was filmed  abuse on  his camera,  the case  just went  to                                                               
trial at  the end of January  2019, nearly three years  later. He                                                               
is  awaiting sentencing  and appears  to have  been acquitted  of                                                               
some of the charges.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. OLSON  said that  the Justin  Schneider case  illustrated the                                                               
need to  include masturbation without  consent as a  sex offense.                                                               
The only  concern she has about  the current wording in  the bill                                                               
is whether  it requires  the offender climax  to be  considered a                                                               
sex offense.  The current wording  is "to engage  in masturbation                                                               
and ejaculate  on a person  without the consent of  that person."                                                               
She asked that if they were  looking at the Schneider case, if he                                                               
had  not  climaxed,  would  the   victim  be  any  less  sexually                                                               
assaulted.  She   suggested  considering   "masturbation  without                                                               
consent  for the  purpose of  sexual  gratification" rather  than                                                               
requiring ejaculation as a factor in the law.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. OLSON said  that removing the marriage defense  is a critical                                                               
need.  There have  been several  cases of  sexual assault  in the                                                               
second degree  in Anchorage  that fell  under this  pattern. STAR                                                               
assisted a  woman who had  had gynecological surgery and  told to                                                               
abstain from sex  for four weeks. Within days of  surgery she was                                                               
raped by her spouse while she  was on sleep medication and unable                                                               
to consent. She required emergency  medical treatment, and he was                                                               
never  charged  with sexual  assault.  The  marriage defense  for                                                               
sexual assault  in the second  degree is  problematic, especially                                                               
for estranged couples who, for  financial or abuse reasons, elect                                                               
to remain  married and live  together. This  is more of  a burden                                                               
for low-income people  and victims of abuse  whose spouses refuse                                                               
to initiate divorce.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR REINBOLD  said her  testimony really  makes them  want to                                                               
get the bills to the finish line.  She asked her to let them know                                                               
of any loopholes that she sees.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES  said that  they would follow  up with  her question                                                               
with the Department of Law about the language about climax.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MICCICHE said folks need  to understand that just because                                                               
they  might have  learned  about strangulation  being  used as  a                                                               
method of sexual assault in the  Justin Schneider case, it is not                                                               
a rare tactic.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:04:41 PM                                                                                                                    
VICTORIA  SHANKLIN,  Executive  Director,  Victims  for  Justice,                                                               
Anchorage,  said  her  organization  serves  victims  of  violent                                                               
crime,  especially  victims  of   assault,  arson,  robbery,  and                                                               
homicide.  Unfortunately,  it's  not uncommon  for  offenders  in                                                               
their cases  to have had  priors and for  those to not  have been                                                               
taken as seriously  as they should have been. They  support SB 12                                                               
and SB 35  and anything that strengthens the system  prior to the                                                               
crimes resulting in a homicide.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  REINBOLD  asked  how  the  organization  is  funded  and                                                               
whether  they have  the  resources  they need  to  deal with  the                                                               
incredibly high rise in crime and victims.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SHANKLIN replied  that that  they are  a small  organization                                                               
with  four  full-time  employees  and one  part  time.  They  are                                                               
working on  increasing that. With  the increase in  homicides and                                                               
the  number of  people who  are impacted,  it is  a struggle  for                                                               
them.  They  are  funded  by  a series  of  state,  federal,  and                                                               
municipal  grants.  One  quarter   of  their  budget  comes  from                                                               
individual donations.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES thanked  the testifiers and said she  knew that they                                                               
would  like to  work  themselves  out of  a  job.  As was  stated                                                               
earlier, it is time to create action.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:08:07 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES opened public testimony.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
KATIE  BOTZ, representing  herself, Juneau,  said she  originally                                                               
was from  Kodiak. She recounted  how she  was a victim  of sexual                                                               
abuse at  the age  of 12  in her home.  As many  statistics show,                                                               
victims often know  the person. In this case, it  was a friend of                                                               
her brother's.  She was  12, and  he was  18. The  abuse included                                                               
being strangled. Her  mother finally caught him in  the act. This                                                               
devastated her  mother, which broke  Ms. Botz' heart.  Her mother                                                               
kicked him  out and  called the  cops. After  going to  court and                                                               
having the  rape kit  done, to  this day she  wishes he  had more                                                               
than  six  years in  prison.  She  remembers  it  as if  it  were                                                               
yesterday.  For five  years  every night,  she  cried herself  to                                                               
sleep. It took  her 12 years to recover from  her abuse. She read                                                               
SB 35  line by line.  As a victim  of sexual abuse,  she supports                                                               
it.  Alaska  has  the  highest  sex crime  rate  in  America.  If                                                               
protecting the public is in  the best interest of the government,                                                               
Lower  48 residents  coming  to Alaska  shouldn't  be limited  to                                                               
register under  AS 12.63.100. All Alaskans  residents should have                                                               
the right  know who  they are associating  with. Incitement  of a                                                               
minor  is still  a  crime,  regardless of  how  it is  committed.                                                               
Regarding Section  6, people should  be properly identified  as a                                                               
sex  offender. Regarding  Section 7,  line 27,  of SB  35, sexual                                                               
harassment is  not only embarrassing but  authorities often don't                                                               
have proper respect for it,  which makes it difficult for victims                                                               
to go to a supervisor. She  asked the committee to have something                                                               
to   help  victims   feel  more   comfortable  reporting   sexual                                                               
harassment. Regarding  Section 14, imprisonment of  less than ten                                                               
years does  not do justice  for victims. The defendant  will have                                                               
freedom  in less  than  10  years, but  the  victim has  lifelong                                                               
knowledge that she  was abused. She urged a sentence  of 20 years                                                               
for victims  aged 13  years and  older and  30 years  for victims                                                               
under 13, so that victims can have peace of mind.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES thanked her for her  brave testimony. It hit them at                                                               
the  heart level  and at  the head  level and  they know  work is                                                               
needed.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR REINBOLD said only one percent  of rapists end up in jail                                                               
in Alaska, according  to the statistics. That  crushes her heart.                                                               
Ms.  Botz made  some  excellent  points. A  lot  of the  criminal                                                               
justice system does not focus on victims.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MICCICHE said he appreciated  her courage. She is helping                                                               
to save  others by being  there. Section 14  is a subset  for the                                                               
more serious crimes they are  dealing with. In both bills, longer                                                               
terms can be extended for aggravators.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:17:52 PM                                                                                                                    
DIANE  SCHENKER,   representing  herself,  Anchorage,   said  she                                                               
supported both bills.  She said she is ashamed of  her home state                                                               
for having  such poor laws  that Justin Schneider was  allowed to                                                               
kidnap,  strangle to  unconsciousness, and  ejaculate on  a woman                                                               
and then  waltz out  of the  courtroom with  zero jail  time. She                                                               
cannot  fully convey  her anger,  resentment,  and sheer  fatigue                                                               
from being  female in a  state that  has been the  nation's worst                                                               
for  tolerating violence  against and  disrespect for  women. She                                                               
spent  30  years working  in  Alaska's  criminal justice  system,                                                               
including  eight years  as a  correctional  officer and  sergeant                                                               
working  in   the  state's   first  institutional   sex  offender                                                               
treatment program. She  has rarely seen sex  predators held fully                                                               
accountable for the lifelong damage  they cause their victims. In                                                               
the  last  several  years,  their  laws  have  become  even  more                                                               
unbalanced in favor of criminals  over victims. She said to never                                                               
underestimate  the  power of  sexual  predators,  who are  master                                                               
manipulators, to get  people to feel sorry for  them. These bills                                                               
finally  take steps  in the  right direction.  She urged  them to                                                               
break records to  pass them quickly, just as voters  in the third                                                               
judicial district broke  records unseating a judge  who failed to                                                               
protect their interests.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MICHELE  VASQUEZ, representing  herself,  Soldotna, Alaska,  said                                                               
she supports  SB 12, which  closes the Schneider loophole  in the                                                               
Alaska criminal  code. Most in  Alaska were outraged  when Justin                                                               
Schneider  walked out  of  court  with time  served  on an  ankle                                                               
monitor as his  only punishment after he  kidnapped and strangled                                                               
a woman  and performed  a sexual act  over her  unconscious body.                                                               
This was  a violent sexual  assault. No  who commits such  an act                                                               
should be  allowed to walk  away without serving time.  She would                                                               
like an  amendment to SB  35 to  protect sex workers  from sexual                                                               
assault  or coercion  into sex  acts by  some in  law enforcement                                                               
prior to  arrest. The state  must do  everything in its  power to                                                               
protect all from any kind of sexual assault, abuse, or coercion.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:21:38 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE COONS, representing self, Palmer,  stated his support for SB                                                               
35 but wants to see tougher  sentencing. He said section 15, page                                                               
7, lines 15-17, " A defendant  convicted of (1) sexual assault in                                                               
the first  degree, sexual abuse of  a minor in the  first degree,                                                               
or sex trafficking  in the first degree  under AS 11.66.110(a)(2)                                                               
may be sentenced  to a definite term of imprisonment  of not more                                                               
than  99 years  . .  ." From  thereon, in  other pages,  there is                                                               
lesser  and   lesser  sentencing.  There  is   always  "if  first                                                               
offense." Victims live with pain for  the rest of their lives, as                                                               
the first  testifier stated. Victims  need time for  healing. The                                                               
lowest of the  low who commit these crimes may  face some time in                                                               
prison, but they  will offend again and again  when released back                                                               
in communities. These predators, once  caught, need one thing and                                                               
one thing only.  Life in prison, no parole, no  time off for good                                                               
behavior.  There should  be  a  wing in  prisons  for just  these                                                               
predators. This  has gone  on too long.  Predators will  rape and                                                               
defile over and  over, until they die in prison  or are taken out                                                               
by law enforcement or private  citizens protecting themselves. He                                                               
asked the committee to please  change sentencing for predators to                                                               
show they are not welcome in Alaska.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
TANIA  SILVA-JOHNSON,  representing  herself,  Kodiak,  said  she                                                               
supported SB  12 and  SB 35  and wanted to  echo what  others had                                                               
said.  She shared  that she  was raped  her senior  year of  high                                                               
school.  Since  then, she  has  continued  to  speak out  in  her                                                               
community  to  raise  awareness   and  help  other  victims  come                                                               
forward,  if they  so choose.  She  has discovered  that so  many                                                               
women she went to school with  at Kodiak and at the University of                                                               
Alaska Fairbanks were  also raped by someone they  knew and never                                                               
reported it. She said why  report when there are no consequences.                                                               
They  need accountability.  Surviving a  rape requires  intensive                                                               
therapy, and even when overcome, that  scar is still there. It is                                                               
critically important that they have  accountability. "So often we                                                               
hear,  do they  deserve to  lose this,  do they  deserve to  lose                                                               
their career.  Yes. The price has  been too high for  victims and                                                               
for too long," she said.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES  thanked Ms. Silva-Johnson  for her bravery  and for                                                               
connecting  low  reporting  to sentences  that  are  lenient.  If                                                               
sentences are tougher, reporting will probably go up.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR REINBOLD said  her story, sadly, in Alaska  is common. It                                                               
is  not just  about  this  bill. She  asked  her  to continue  to                                                               
communicate her  concerns. Senator  Reinbold said she  has heard,                                                               
for example,  of bad  court rules  that need  to be  changed. Her                                                               
fight is  worth fighting.  It has  risen to be  one of  their top                                                               
priorities.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  HUGHES,  after determining  that  no  one else  wished  to                                                               
testify, closed  public testimony on SB  12 and SB 35.  She noted                                                               
that they would continue the sectional on SB 35.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:28:05 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN SKIDMORE,  Director, Criminal  Division, Department  of Law,                                                               
Anchorage, continued  presenting a  sectional analysis of  SB 35.                                                               
He said  the committee left off  at Section 13. Since  Section 13                                                               
is similar to what is in SB 12, he would start with Section 14.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR REINBOLD  said the  last line of  Section 12  was written                                                               
bizarrely and could be interpreted  in many ways. She recommended                                                               
that he revise it to make it clearer.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SKIDMORE asked  for clarification  about  whether there  was                                                               
something wrong  with the way  the bill  was written or  just the                                                               
sectional analysis.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR REINBOLD answered the sectional analysis.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. SKIDMORE  said they would look  at how to amend  that to make                                                               
that clearer.  He restated that  Section 13 would become  part of                                                               
SB 12.  Section 14 creates  an enhanced sentencing  structure for                                                               
assault  in the  second degree.  It  is in  this particular  bill                                                               
because  that  subsection of  assault  in  the second  degree  is                                                               
talking  about strangulation.  In criminal  justice reform,  when                                                               
all the  presumptive sentencing ranges  were adjusted  down, this                                                               
specific class  B felony  went from  one to  three years  down to                                                               
zero to two.  This particular subsection moves it back  to one to                                                               
three so  that anyone  who did  engage in  assault in  the second                                                               
degree,  which includes  the conduct  of strangulation,  would be                                                               
facing   a  presumptive   of  one   to  three   years.  This   is                                                               
complementary to what  Senator Micciche has done in  SB 12, which                                                               
has strangulation to the point  of unconsciousness as an A felony                                                               
as opposed to  a B felony. Section 14 is  somewhat overlapping of                                                               
a section  in SB 32, which  was seeking to remove  all sentencing                                                               
back to where  it was prior to SB  91. If SB 32 does  not make it                                                               
through the  legislature, then this  particular section in  SB 35                                                               
ensures  that  at  least  those  assault  offenses  that  include                                                               
strangulation would have that increased sentencing range.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  REINBOLD clarified  that he  is suggesting  changing the                                                               
sentencing from  zero to  two years  to one  to three  years. "Is                                                               
that all the value a victim's trauma is worth?" she asked.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:32:10 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SKIDMORE responded that prior to  SB 91, class B felonies for                                                               
a first  offense was sentenced  at one  to three years,  a second                                                               
offense was  four to seven, and  the third was six  to ten. Under                                                               
SB 91,  the first offense was  reduced to zero to  two. He cannot                                                               
recall  the provisions  for  the second  and  third offenses  but                                                               
could  look  that   up.  This  bill  proposes   to  return  those                                                               
provisions  to where  they  were  before SB  91.  As  far as  her                                                               
question  of is  that amount  of  time appropriate,  that was  in                                                               
statute  prior.  There  are  aggravators   to  look  at.  If  the                                                               
committee thinks the levels are  not high enough, they are always                                                               
willing to work with the committee on that.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES said she had talked  with the Department of Law that                                                               
morning  about that  same concern.  She was  surprised about  the                                                               
minimal amount  of time. She  stated that she also  had discussed                                                               
with Senator  Micciche the distinction between  strangulation for                                                               
the  purpose  of  hurting  or   intimidating  someone,  but  when                                                               
connected  to  sexual  offense,  it  is  not  only  to  hurt  and                                                               
intimidate the person  but to also take advantage  of the person.                                                               
That rises to  a different level of concern, so  they are looking                                                               
at how they might address that.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:34:04 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD said  she is  just  appalled that  if they  get                                                               
caught the  third time, their penalty  is only six to  ten years.                                                               
"It makes  me realize why  there is so  much crime up  here. Even                                                               
pre-Senate Bill 91  I said I thought our laws  were way too soft.                                                               
That's why I thought it  was absolutely incredibly lunacy to pass                                                               
SB 91. I  think everybody in the state probably  knows about that                                                               
by now, but to think that  we had such dramatic domestic violence                                                               
and  sexual assault  in Alaska  and  then passed  that bill  that                                                               
lowered the sentences, that ended  up letting people earn credit,                                                               
that produced this  silly pretrial risk assessment  tool that let                                                               
so  many people  out. This  just makes  me shocked  that for  the                                                               
third  time   they  do  something   like  that,  even   with  the                                                               
correction, it's six to ten years  and then you add on the earned                                                               
compliance credit  and all that  stuff and they might  be walking                                                               
really quickly. I just don't think this is enough," she said.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MICCICHE  said to  clarify for the  public, if  they make                                                               
the changes  they are talking  about, there will be  three levels                                                               
of  strangulation.  He asked  Mr.  Skidmore  to clarify  that  in                                                               
Section  14,  this  is strangulation,  charges  of  assault,  not                                                               
strangulation  that results  in someone  becoming unconscious  or                                                               
strangulation resulting in a sexual assault.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SKIDMORE   answered  correct.  Section  14   is  just  about                                                               
strangulation as they have it under  the law now. SB 12 creates a                                                               
second tier of strangulation offenses  where someone is strangled                                                               
to the  point of unconsciousness.  The concept that  Chair Hughes                                                               
discussed  is  trying  to  have   some  enhanced  sentencing  for                                                               
strangulation associated with  some sort of sex  offense. That is                                                               
not in any bill currently, but  it is a conversation they started                                                               
this morning. They  are interested in working  with the committee                                                               
with any amendments they might have.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:36:36 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE said  he is just clarifying for  the public that                                                               
they  are  repealing  that  section  of  SB  91  and  adding  two                                                               
additional layers of  much stricter law on top of  91. It is easy                                                               
for people  who watch  periodically to  become confused.  If they                                                               
make the amendment to SB 12  that she is talking about, they will                                                               
have  three layers,  with two  layers related  to unconsciousness                                                               
and sexual assault being significantly stricter.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES said to be transparent,  since this is a process, it                                                               
looks like they will put  all things regarding strangulation into                                                               
SB  12.  They  are  going  over  SB  35  now,  but  will  combine                                                               
everything  in SB  12 for  clarity, so  the public  and the  next                                                               
committee of referral  will be able to grasp what  they are doing                                                               
with that.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  REINBOLD  stated  the  sentencing  ranges:  if  a  first                                                               
felony, (A) a child  under age 16, two to four  years, with 16 or                                                               
older, one  to three years,  if the  offense is a  second felony,                                                               
two to  five years, a third  felony, four to ten  years, and they                                                               
could go on.  She added that there are all  those other ways they                                                               
can earn  credit, such  as with  electronic monitoring.  They are                                                               
not  taking violent  crime  seriously enough  in  this state.  "I                                                               
stand firm in my beliefs," she said.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:39:01 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  SKIDMORE directed  attention to  Section 15,  which adds  an                                                               
offense for sexual abuse of a  minor in the third degree. It will                                                               
increase the  sentencing if there  is a six-year age  gap. Sexual                                                               
abuse of a minor in the third degree  is when a victim is 13, 14,                                                               
or  15 years  of  age and  there is  a  four-year age  difference                                                               
between the  offender and  the victim  with sexual  contact. This                                                               
section of  the bill  says that  that if they  are close  in age,                                                               
four or five years apart, it is  still a felony, but not a sexual                                                               
felony. Under AS 12.55.125(i),  there  are provisions that have a                                                               
greater  presumptive sentencing  range for  sexual offenses  than                                                               
for  a regular  felony.  Sexual abuse  of a  minor  in the  third                                                               
degree is  currently classified  as a regular  C felony  and does                                                               
not carry with  it those enhanced sentencing ranges  for a sexual                                                               
felony.  If it  did, it  would be  two to  12 years  for a  first                                                               
offense as opposed  to zero to two. This section  increases it to                                                               
that two  to 12  years when  the age difference  is six  years or                                                               
more. The  idea being that while  it is still against  the law if                                                               
there is  a four- or five-year  age difference, once they  get to                                                               
the  six-year  age  difference,  it is  seen  as  that  predatory                                                               
behavior. A  testifier earlier was  an example of a  six-year age                                                               
difference. This is  the level at which bill proposes  to turn it                                                               
into  a  graver  offense  that   carries  much  more  significant                                                               
penalties.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:41:31 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SKIDMORE  said that Section  16 would clarify  prior felonies                                                               
for  purposes of  sex  offenses. When  they  began the  sectional                                                               
analysis, there was some intent  language to overturn a case that                                                               
said for a  sex offense to get to the  higher presumptive ranges,                                                               
if  there  had  been  a  prior  offense  to  get  to  the  higher                                                               
presumptive range,  if that  prior had been  a sex  offense, then                                                               
the  current  offense would  be  deemed  a  higher level  on  the                                                               
presumptive  range with  a  greater sentence,  but  if the  prior                                                               
offense  was  a  non-sex  offense, it  was  applying  a  ten-year                                                               
limitation in  looking back for  those offenses. That is  to say,                                                               
with presumptive sentencing,  the prior felony only  counts if it                                                               
is within  a certain time  frame in order to  increase sentencing                                                               
for  the current  offence.  For  sex offenses  there  is no  time                                                               
frame.  For   all  other  felonies,   there  was.  A   court  was                                                               
interpreting the statute  as though there was a time  frame for a                                                               
prior   non-sex   felony   when   determining   presumptive   sex                                                               
sentencing. This section removes that  to say that if someone has                                                               
been convicted  of a felony before,  it does not matter  how long                                                               
ago that  conviction was, it  will result  in an increase  in the                                                               
presumptive  range for  the  current sex  offense.  That is  what                                                               
Section 16 does.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  HUGHES clarified  that  there  is no  time  limit and  any                                                               
felony would count, not just sexual felonies.                                                                                   
MR. SKIDMORE  answered correct.  The current  law says  a non-sex                                                               
prior  can increase  sentencing, but  only  if it  is within  ten                                                               
years. This removes that ten years  to make it clear that the ten                                                               
years  should  not  be  considered   when  someone  is  currently                                                               
sentencing a sex  offense, regardless of whether the  prior was a                                                               
sex offense  or non-sex offense.  It gets  rid of the  time frame                                                               
for presumptive sentencing.                                                                                                     
MR. SKIDMORE  said Section 17  is a conforming  amendment dealing                                                               
with the crime of enticing a minor.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SKIDMORE turned  to Section  18, which  he said  adds sexual                                                               
abuse of a  minor to the third degree when  there is six-year age                                                               
difference. It is  sort of a conforming amendment,  but this adds                                                               
it to  the definition of  a sexual felony, which  is significant.                                                               
This is not the section  that increases the sentencing range, but                                                               
it does  have other impacts  by defining  it as a  sexual felony.                                                               
For instance, this impacts the  treatment that can be imposed. It                                                               
also  affects  whether there  would  be  early termination.  This                                                               
definition has consequences not only  for the amount of jail time                                                               
imposed, but  in terms  of other factors  that are  considered in                                                               
sentencing. They  want to change  this definition to  ensure that                                                               
sexual abuse of  minor, when there is a  six-year age difference,                                                               
has  all   these  other  aspects   that  are  important   to  the                                                               
sentencing.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:46:11 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SKIDMORE  said Section 19  adds a  person who is  required to                                                               
register  as  a sex  offender  or  child kidnapper  from  another                                                               
jurisdiction to the  element of sex offender  or child kidnapper.                                                               
Section 19 goes  back to the intent language  that they discussed                                                               
in the previous hearing where  they were overturning an appellate                                                               
case  that said  individuals from  another state,  when they  are                                                               
required to  register in  that other  state for  that conviction,                                                               
would  not  necessarily have  to  register  in Alaska.  They  are                                                               
changing the  language of Alaska's  law, so they are  required to                                                               
register in Alaska.  That intent language relates  to Section 19,                                                               
he said.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MICCICHE said  that for Section 15 and 18,  he thought it                                                               
was sexual assault  because someone was under the  age of consent                                                               
because it requires consent to not  be a sexual assault. He asked                                                               
for the age of consent in Alaska.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. SKIDMORE said  they don't call it sexual  assault. They refer                                                               
to it as  sexual abuse of a  minor. Sexual abuse of  a minor does                                                               
not carry an element of consent  or lack of consent. It just says                                                               
when the sexual  act occurs between these  individuals. There are                                                               
a series  of factors that  look at that to  say that there  is no                                                               
possibility that consent occurred here, this is just criminal.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. SKIDMORE said  there are a series of factors  because the age                                                               
of consent is  generally deemed to be 16, in  layman's terms, but                                                               
the statutes talk about  it when the victim is 13,  14, or 15 and                                                               
other statutes talk  about the victim being under the  age of 13.                                                               
But  for 13,  14,  or 15,  consent  is not  an  element. It  only                                                               
becomes an  element for  sexual assault when  the person  is over                                                               
the age of 16.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR MICCICHE said  it just gets to his question,  which is if                                                               
they are under  the age of ability  to consent, why is  it not as                                                               
serious, whether or not there is a six-year difference in age.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:49:03 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  SKIDMORE responded  that  he  wanted to  be  clear that  the                                                               
rationale  he  would  be  giving  is  not  his  opinion,  but  an                                                               
explanation  what the  law says.  The  concept is  that if  young                                                               
people close in age decide to  be involved in a relationship that                                                               
involves  physical sexual  conduct between  the two,  society has                                                               
said that  when the  individuals are  close in  age, they  do not                                                               
want to  turn either into a  sex offender who has  to register or                                                               
go to  jail. While  parents may  not approve, it  is not  a crime                                                               
that needs  to be punished  by jail time and  other consequences.                                                               
The state has  chosen 16 years of  age as the age  of consent and                                                               
Alaska's laws require at least  a four-year age difference before                                                               
it becomes  criminal. The four-year  and six-year  age difference                                                               
are both illegal, but the bill  has greater punishment for a six-                                                               
year age difference.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES noted that the  committee had had quite a discussion                                                               
about the  sex offender  registry. She  referenced a  recent KTVA                                                               
news story  and quoted, "A sex  offender from Iowa said  he chose                                                               
to move  to Alaska believing  he wouldn't  have to register  as a                                                               
sex  offender.  He  was  right--and it's  a  reality  that  would                                                               
continue, even  if the governor's  crime bills are  passed." This                                                               
particular  sex  offender  was   convicted  recently  for  sexual                                                               
assault  of a  child  that included  penetration, which  occurred                                                               
just days after the offender arrived  in Alaska. She asked if the                                                               
provisions of  SB 35  don't close  this gap  because there  is no                                                               
registry requirement  for persons  convicted of  sex crimes  as a                                                               
juvenile, which is the case  for this particular child rapist. If                                                               
they  amended  SB  35  to  include  this  requirement  for  those                                                               
adjudicated  for sex  crimes as  juveniles, she  asked what  they                                                               
should consider from the Department of Law's perspective.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. SKIDMORE said  that the state of Alaska does  not require any                                                               
juvenile adjudicated  of sex  crimes to  register. There  is some                                                               
debate  within the  state about  whether  requiring juveniles  to                                                               
register would violate the state  constitution. That has not been                                                               
determined by a court of law.  That is an open and ongoing debate                                                               
within the  legal community. As  to her question  about requiring                                                               
individuals  from  out  of  state,  when  they  are  required  to                                                               
register  in another  state  as  a sex  offender  for a  juvenile                                                               
adjudication,  SB  35  does  not  require  that  because  of  the                                                               
constitutional discussion.  If the committee wants  to propose an                                                               
amendment  like that,  they would  have to  look at  the language                                                               
carefully  and could  provide a  more detailed  policy and  legal                                                               
analysis about the concerns with  the law. There are other states                                                               
that  require juveniles  when they  are adjudicated  to register.                                                               
Alaska is  not one of those.  If the committee is  interested, he                                                               
could provide a memo that outlines it more thoroughly.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES asked  him to provide that and to  be thinking about                                                               
how the committee could do that.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR REINBOLD  said, "I guess  this has  just been a  point of                                                               
contention since  I got  down to  Juneau, is  a lawyer  trying to                                                               
tell us  what is  constitutional and what's  not when  we're told                                                               
that is the role of the  courts, not a random lawyer. That really                                                               
bothers me when  people start using that as a  defense of why not                                                               
to do  things." Public safety  is supposed  to be first  with the                                                               
administration.  These  mothers and  daughters  want  to know  if                                                               
someone  has been  convicted. They  need to  get these  people to                                                               
register,  so people  are aware  early and  do what  they can  to                                                               
protect their  daughters. She is a  big fan of getting  them on a                                                               
registry.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:55:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES  said  they  would   not  be  asking  juveniles  to                                                               
register, but  at the  point when they  become adults.  She noted                                                               
that they  had had  much discussion  last week  about enforcement                                                               
were they  to implement the  new sex offender registry  laws. She                                                               
asked  if  they  could  avoid  the ipso  facto  issue  that  they                                                               
discussed  for  enforcement as  long  as  the offenders  who  are                                                               
current residents in  the state are provided a period  of time to                                                               
register once the  law is passed. If the law  were to take effect                                                               
immediately, could it include a  provision that anyone already in                                                               
the  state would  have 90  days  to comply  with the  new law  by                                                               
registering with  the Department  of Public Safety.  She wondered                                                               
whether  that  would  work.  They wouldn't  be  charged  for  not                                                               
registering when they first arrived  in the state, but they could                                                               
be charged for not registering within certain dates.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. SKIDMORE said he would need  several days to do research. Any                                                               
time that he is testifying about  any legal analysis, he tries to                                                               
make  sure  that they  have  had  time  to  do a  thorough  legal                                                               
analysis.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MICCICHE said there a lot  of areas to look at. They have                                                               
public documentation  in other states of  individuals required to                                                               
be on the sex  offender registry but not in Alaska.  It may be an                                                               
outside of the box  thing to look at. He thought  the term was ex                                                               
post facto on  double jeopardy. The reality is that  they are not                                                               
reconvicting and  repenalizing. They  are simply  communicating a                                                               
postconviction condition  from elsewhere.  If there  is something                                                               
they really  want to push,  they could  change SB 35  while doing                                                               
sexual assault  issues in  SB 12, keeping  that clean,  and doing                                                               
some of these other issues in SB 35.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. SKIDMORE said  Section 20 adds the crime  of indecent viewing                                                               
or production  of a person  under the age  of 16 or  the indecent                                                               
production  of  a   photograph  of  an  adult  to   the  list  of                                                               
registerable  sex offenses.  They had  some discussion  last time                                                               
about  how  this  particular  crime  is  broken  down  into  four                                                               
categories. There is the actual  viewing, there is the production                                                               
of the photograph, and is the victim  a child or is the victim an                                                               
adult. This  section says that if  the victim is a  child, either                                                               
for that  viewing or the production,  or for the production  of a                                                               
photograph  where  the  victim  is   an  adult,  in  those  three                                                               
circumstances,  that becomes  a registerable  sex offense.  It is                                                               
not currently under the law, but Section 20 would change that.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. SKIDMORE said  Section 21 clarifies that  a person ineligible                                                               
for  a good  time deduction  from  their sentence  would also  be                                                               
ineligible for  discretionary parole. There is  discretionary and                                                               
mandatory parole.  If people  behave while  in custody,  they are                                                               
released  after  they have  done  two-thirds  of the  time.  This                                                               
section says  that if  they were ineligible  for good  time, that                                                               
mandatory  parole,  then  they   would  also  be  ineligible  for                                                               
discretionary. It  restricts parole eligibility and  ensures that                                                               
those two  marry up with each  other. It is in  this bill because                                                               
that applies to a number of sex offenses.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SKIDMORE said  that Section  22  is the  repealer. Only  two                                                               
sections  are  repealed  and  those  are  consistent  with  other                                                               
policies  they have  already talked  about  throughout the  bill.                                                               
Section 23 is the applicability and eligibility date.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:01:58 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES said  she wanted to raise a new  topic regarding the                                                               
fact that in the Justin Schneider  case there was the question of                                                               
whether it involved  an element of kidnapping.  She believed that                                                               
the Judiciary  Committee should explore  the question  of whether                                                               
prosecution has  the tools it  needs to prove kidnapping.  In the                                                               
Schneider case,  the victim went  into vehicle willingly  and was                                                               
not  restrained, but  when a  vehicle is  moving, someone  cannot                                                               
walk away. The prosecution felt  a kidnapping charge could not be                                                               
proven. She asked him to explain  for the record how the facts of                                                               
this case led to the  prosecution dropping the kidnapping charge.                                                               
She asked how  often kidnapping convictions happen  in Alaska and                                                               
whether the Department of Law should  ask for a change in statute                                                               
to avoid dropping kidnapping charges.  Her sense is that vehicles                                                               
are  often  used  to  take  young females  to  areas  for  sexual                                                               
assault.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. SKIDMORE explained that kidnapping  is found in AS 11.41.300.                                                               
It says  that kidnapping  is if a  person restrains  another with                                                               
the intent  to inflict physical  injury upon or  sexually assault                                                               
the restrained person or to  place the restrained person or third                                                               
person  in  apprehension  that  any person  will  be  subject  to                                                               
serious  physical  injury or  sexual  assault.  The restraint  is                                                               
later  defined to  restrict a  person's movements  unlawfully and                                                               
without  consent  so  as  to  interfere  substantially  with  the                                                               
person's  liberty by  confining  the person  in  place where  the                                                               
restriction commences,  and the  restraint is without  consent if                                                               
it is accomplished by force,  threat, or deception. Deception can                                                               
qualify,  but  the difficulty  with  the  Schneider case  is  the                                                               
victim had requested  a ride. She was taken in  the direction she                                                               
asked to  go. They have  to decide  at what point  does deception                                                               
kick in  and how  far was  the distance from  that point  in time                                                               
until  the  offense  occurred. Mr.  Schneider  was  indicted  for                                                               
kidnapping originally, but they must  look at case law along with                                                               
statutes.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. SKIDMORE said the case law  says that when a person restrains                                                               
another  with the  intent to  facilitate the  commission of  that                                                               
offense, that  restraint will not  constitute a  separate offense                                                               
of kidnapping  if is merely  incidental to the commission  of the                                                               
offense. That case law comes from  a court of appeals case called                                                               
Alam. There  were two Alam decisions,  one in in 1989  and one in                                                               
1990, for  the same  case, but  looked at twice  by the  court of                                                               
appeals. The Alam decisions were  about the concept of incidental                                                               
restraint  and  what is  the  change  in circumstances  regarding                                                               
location,  where  does  deception  kick in.  With  that  sort  of                                                               
analysis, when they looked at  the Schneider case more carefully,                                                               
they decided that  they would not meet their  obligation to prove                                                               
beyond a reasonable  doubt that that deception  occurred. She was                                                               
willingly in  a vehicle. They  came to a location,  they stopped,                                                               
and he  said he  needed to  find something he  left in  a parking                                                               
lot.  When they  get to  the parking  lot, he  asked her  to step                                                               
outside, and  only when he tackled  her did it become  obvious at                                                               
that point that  she was not willing  to do any of  this. At that                                                               
point  they realize  there is  deception, but  they did  not have                                                               
sufficient evidence to prove when the deception started.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. SKIDMORE said  he did not know whether something  ought to be                                                               
changed in  the law. He would  need to look at  the Alam opinions                                                               
more  carefully. The  Department of  Law would  need to  research                                                               
what  precisely would  need to  be changed,  whether it  would be                                                               
statutory, case  history, or constitutional  in order  to provide                                                               
any guidance.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  HUGHES asked  him to  think outside  the Justin  Schneider                                                               
case  as  he  considered  whether  a tool  might  be  helpful  to                                                               
prosecution.  It is  a fact  that young  women are  often tricked                                                               
into riding in vehicles for the purpose of sexual assault.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MICCICHE said  it is important that the  public know that                                                               
he  and  Senator Reinbold  agree  that  some  crimes need  to  be                                                               
charged more seriously  in Alaska, but the public  needs to fully                                                               
understand  what  would  be  repealed  of  Senate  Bill  91.  The                                                               
importance of  12 and 35,  other than sentencing limits,  is that                                                               
most  of  these  problems  with their  sexual  assault  laws  are                                                               
decades  old.  These  are  not new  problems,  which  makes  them                                                               
different from the  other series 30 crime bills  repealing SB 91.                                                               
This is making the laws tougher  unrelated to SB 91. It needed to                                                               
happen  a long  time  ago.  Sometimes a  catalyst  is needed  for                                                               
change to  occur and many  Alaskans know the outcome  with Justin                                                               
Schneider case is not satisfactory.  He just wanted to clear that                                                               
up. If  it looked like  there was  disagreement, it was  just him                                                               
trying  to clarify  the  SB 91  vs. other  issues  to the  public                                                               
because 91 has been such a lightning rod.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
[SB 12 and SB 35 were held in committee.]                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES reviewed upcoming committee announcements.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:13:46 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair Hughes adjourned the Senate Judiciary Standing Committee                                                                  
meeting at 3:13 p.m.                                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
ANDVSA Invited Testimony SB12 and SB35.pdf SJUD 2/18/2019 1:30:00 PM
SB 12
SB 35
STAR Invited Testimony SB 12 SB 35.pdf SJUD 2/18/2019 1:30:00 PM
SB 12
SB 35
Written Testimony SB 35.pdf SJUD 2/18/2019 1:30:00 PM
SB 35