Legislature(1999 - 2000)

2000-02-11 Senate Journal

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2000-02-11                     Senate Journal                      Page 2279
SB 265                                                                       
SENATE BILL NO. 265 BY THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                              
BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR, entitled:                                          
An Act relating to release of persons before trial                            
and before sentencing or service of sentence;                                  
relating to custodians of persons released, to security                        
posted on behalf of persons released, and to the                               
offense of violation of conditions of release;                                 
amending Rule 41(f), Alaska Rules of Criminal                                  
Procedure; and providing for an effective date.                                
was read the first time and referred to the Judiciary and Finance              
Fiscal note published today from Department of Administration.                 
Indeterminate fiscal note published today from Department of                   
Corrections. Zero fiscal note published today from Department of               
Governors transmittal letter dated February 10:                                
Dear President Pearce:                                                         
I am transmitting a bill that will protect the public by adopting              
stronger enforcement measures to encourage persons to abide by their           
conditions of release before trial, imposition of sentence, or service         
of sentence. Specifically, the bill addresses four areas explained in          
more detail below:                                                             
	Establishing the crime of violating conditions of release;                   
	Authorizing courts to order performance bonds;                               
	Charging contempt of court for third-party custodian's failure               
to report condition violations;                                                
	Authorizing delayed reporting date for jail time.                            

2000-02-11                     Senate Journal                      Page 2280
SB 265                                                                       
Violating Conditions of Release. In criminal cases, an accused has           
a constitutional right to be released on bail before trial. Persons who        
have been found guilty of a crime may be released before sentence              
is imposed or before ordered to serve a sentence. When releasing a             
person, the court may impose both general conditions, such as                  
requiring that the accused violate no laws, and conditions specific to         
the particular case or defendant, such as forbidding an accused in a           
domestic violence case from contacting the victim. The safety of the           
victim often depends on the enforcement of release conditions.                 
Currently, although it is a crime to willfully fail to appear as ordered       
by the court, there are few options for violation of other release             
conditions, except incarcerating the person. The bill provides that it         
is a class A misdemeanor for a person to violate release conditions            
if the person is charged with a felony, and a class B misdemeanor              
to violate conditions for a person charged with a misdemeanor.                 
Performance Bonds. The bill clarifies the law by specifically                
authorizing the court to order the accused to post a performance               
bond, and requires that the court forfeit the security if the person           
violates a condition of no contact with the victim or witness in a             
proceeding. The court may forfeit the security if the accused violates         
other conditions. The standard for forfeiture of security in Rule 41(f),       
Alaska Rules of Criminal Procedure, is amended to require that                 
security be forfeited unless the defendant could not comply due to             
circumstances beyond the control of the defendant. An example of               
such circumstances includes weather conditions that prevent airplane           
transportation, if there is no alternative way to travel to court.             
Third Party Custodians. Courts often release a defendant to the              
custody of a third party, either an individual or an organization.             
Custodians are required to report to the court or the police if the            
defendant violates release conditions, but often do not. The bill              
provides that a third-party custodian can be found in contempt for             
failing to report immediately a defendant's violations of conditions           
of release ordered by the court, and requires the court to inform the          
custodian of the possible consequences of ignoring the duty to report.         

2000-02-11                     Senate Journal                      Page 2281
SB 265                                                                       
Delayed Reporting Date. The bill specifically gives the court the            
authority to order a person sentenced to a period of incarceration to          
begin serving the sentence at a date sometime after it was imposed.            
With overcrowded correctional facilities, this is useful to help avoid         
bottlenecks in admissions by proper scheduling.                                
I urge your prompt and favorable consideration of this measure.                
					Tony Knowles