Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/07/1996 01:34 PM House CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 HB 474 - VIOLATIONS OF MUNICIPAL ORDINANCES & REGS                          
 Number 0073                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR IVAN noted that committee packets for HB 474 included the            
 bill; a sectional analysis; zero fiscal notes from the Department             
 of Community and Regional Affairs, Department of Health and Social            
 Services and the Department of Public Safety; the sponsor                     
 statement; and letters of support.  He invited Representative                 
 Toohey to introduce the bill.                                                 
 Number 0116                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY, sponsor of HB 474, presented the               
 "We all know that the juvenile justice system has some problems.              
 Too often, young offenders are finding there is no meaningful                 
 consequence for their delinquent behavior.  This is particularly              
 true for those who commit minor offenses, since the justice system            
 is already overwhelmed with serious offenders.  Knowing this,                 
 juvenile offenders have become increasingly dangerous and blatant             
 regarding their offenses, since they know the overloaded system can           
 do little to them.  House Bill 474 would allow municipalities to              
 respond to less serious juvenile behavior by expanding its                    
 jurisdiction to include the abilities to subject juvenile offenders           
 to civil infractions and/or mediation.  This will allow the                   
 juvenile justice system to focus on the more serious criminal                 
 activities while assuring that juvenile offenders of less serious             
 offenses receive more immediate consequences for their actions."              
 Number 0314                                                                   
 BOB BAILEY, Member, Board of Directors, Anchorage Chamber of                  
 Commerce, and Co-Chair, Chamber Crime Prevention Committee,                   
 testified via teleconference.  He indicated the Municipality of               
 Anchorage had brought before the Crime Prevention Committee a                 
 package of proposed crime-related legislation.  Due to lack of                
 jurisdiction, Anchorage had been "nearly helpless" in addressing              
 problems relating to juveniles.  "We've heard such horror stories             
 as juveniles shoplifting in Dimond Center because they knew they'd            
 get a ride back downtown by the police but the state couldn't                 
 prosecute," he said.  While HB 474 would not solve juvenile                   
 problems, Mr. Bailey believed it would allow local municipalities             
 to use their resources as a first line of defense against                     
 offenders.  "It's been shown over and over again that many                    
 juveniles commit crimes simply because they know they won't be                
 prosecuted due to the overcrowding of the state system," Mr. Bailey           
 said.  "And they get away with it once and they offend again."                
 While fines did not necessarily deter serious criminals, his                  
 committee believed that fines might keep first-time juvenile                  
 offenders from becoming repeat offenders.  On December15, the                 
 Anchorage Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors passed a                     
 resolution supporting the entire package of crime-related                     
 legislation.  Today, they were asking for passage of HB474, which             
 they saw as an important first step in fighting juvenile crime.               
 Number 0474                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE AL VEZEY asked if there was a relationship between             
 HB 474 and shoplifting.                                                       
 MR. BAILEY replied he was not sure there was a direct relationship.           
 "It's my understanding that minor shoplifting offenses could be               
 addressed under this bill as a citation," he said.                            
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked for clarification about "citation."                
 MR. BAILEY clarified it was a violation.  He explained his                    
 understanding that a ticket would be issued for shoplifting.                  
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY again asked for clarification, saying he                 
 thought shoplifting was a misdemeanor under Alaska statute.                   
 MR. BAILEY asserted his understanding that the municipality could             
 pass a local ordinance to address shoplifting, as well.                       
 Number 0591                                                                   
 ANNE CARPENETI, Assistant Attorney General, Central Office,                   
 Criminal Division, Department of Law, said, "concealment of                   
 merchandise in our Alaska statutes varies according to the value of           
 the merchandise that's concealed."  She indicated it went from a B            
 misdemeanor to a C felony.                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked what that had to do with HB 474, which             
 appeared to address violations and infractions.                               
 Number 0653                                                                   
 JACK CHENOWETH, Legislative Counsel, Legal Services Division,                 
 Alaska State Legislature, offered that he was the bill drafting               
 attorney.  He explained:                                                      
 "In the current law, municipalities are permitted to identify                 
 conduct and criminal laws through ordinances.  When they enact                
 ordinances that carry a criminal penalty, [indisc.] under the law             
 as it currently reads, unless there is an exception in state law,             
 the way that the penalty is enforced is through DFYS.  The minor is           
 handled through the delinquency process.  What Anchorage has asked            
 is that the exceptions to treatment through the delinquency process           
 be expanded, so that if a municipality chooses to write ordinances            
 and treat more activities - more conduct by minors - in a criminal            
 sense, that these kids could be prosecuted in the district court.             
 And that's what Section 3 of this bill does.                                  
 "At the current time, the only exception for municipal ordinances             
 that takes them out from under delinquency treatment and allows a             
 direct prosecution, is the exception for traffic ordinances or                
 regulations.  That's page 2, lines 26 and 27 of the bill.  The                
 provisions of this subsection apply when a minor is accused of                
 violating a traffic ordinance or regulation by a municipality.                
 What Anchorage has asked for is an expansion of that authority.               
 And what we've given them is paragraph 6, so that the exception is            
 broadened, so that any ordinance or regulation of a municipality              
 that's punishable as an infraction or violation can be taken to the           
 district court and tried and prosecuted and sentence can be entered           
 Number 0772                                                                   
 MR. CHENOWETH continued:  "The wrinkle on this is that the kinds of           
 conduct that this is being expanded to cover includes things that             
 can only be punished as infractions or violations, only minor                 
 offenses, only minor conduct, as it's called in the court rules, so           
 that there is no threat of a minor having to put in any kind of               
 jail sentence.  There is no threat of incarceration, there is no              
 threat of any penalty whatsoever, except for payment of a fine, and           
 under the general authority, of payment of restitution if there's             
 property damage done.  Limiting it to a minor offense means that              
 provisions of law that would require trial before a jury or                   
 appointment of public counsel would not be applicable.  In other              
 words, if the only penalty - the only potential penalty - is the              
 payment of a fine, treatment of this as a violation would mean that           
 there would be no requirement that a municipality choosing to                 
 enforce its ordinances this way would be required to go before a              
 jury to prosecute this minor or no requirement that there be a                
 court-appointed counsel.  So, essentially, what Anchorage is asking           
 is that the opportunity be expanded beyond traffic offenses and               
 other sorts of conduct that minors might engage in be criminalized            
 and enforced in this manner."                                                 
 Number 0869                                                                   
 MR. CHENOWETH continued:  "Now, having said that, let me also say             
 that Anchorage has a wrinkle on this that differs from, as I                  
 understood it, from most, if not all, of the municipalities.  About           
 a year and a half ago, Anchorage expanded its civil enforcement               
 ordinance, so that rather than prosecute before the district court,           
 or rather than take these cases, if they gain the benefit of this             
 change in law, what they proposed to do would be to expand the use            
 of their civil enforcement mechanism that's in place and handle it            
 that way.  But for most municipalities - Fairbanks, where you're              
 from, Juneau, and other places where the norm would be to adopt               
 ordinances that speak to criminal conduct - what we're asking, or             
 what the bill is asking, what the sponsor is asking, is that the              
 opportunities be given to municipalities to enforce their                     
 ordinances directly in the district court, rather than requiring              
 that these be handled as delinquency proceedings initiated by                 
 Number 0926                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said he had thought the bill was trying to               
 give municipalities more authority to deal with violations.  "But             
 then, the example was given of shoplifting," he said, "and you                
 elaborated that we have statutes that criminalize shoplifting, like           
 the misdemeanor, and we would be giving municipalities the right to           
 supersede that statute and make it a violation, prosecute people              
 for a violation of what under state law would be a misdemeanor or             
 perhaps a felony.  Nobody in the municipality of Anchorage would              
 voluntarily be prosecuted for a felony when they could choose to be           
 prosecuted for a violation."                                                  
 Number 0970                                                                   
 MR. CHENOWETH replied it was not a question of choice.  It was a              
 question of how a municipality chose to enforce or penalize                   
 criminal conduct.  He referred to shoplifting as an example and               
 indicated that nothing said a municipality could not come along and           
 make substantially similar conduct a violation with a fine for a              
 penalty.  "And the choice then, really, would be up to law                    
 enforcement officials and the prosecutors of the city or borough,             
 whichever it would happen to be, as to how to prosecute.  If they             
 chose not to prosecute at the municipal level, it could go before             
 the district attorney's office and be prosecuted by the state, I              
 assume, or vice versa.  The district attorney might turn it down              
 and the municipality might decide that it would choose to                     
 prosecute.  But nothing prevents the municipalities from enacting             
 an ordinance now that says that shoplifting is conduct that is                
 punishable as a violation."                                                   
 Number 1039                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY indicated he could envision a double-jeopardy            
 MR. CHENOWETH said that would be true only if they were prosecuted            
 by both the state and the municipality.                                       
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY replied, "But if the state chose to prosecute            
 as a felony violation and the person's saying, `no, no, I committed           
 this in the municipality where it's only a violation, not a felony,           
 I would prefer to be prosecuted for a violation.'"                            
 MR. CHENOWETH emphasized it was not the alleged offender's decision           
 but the prosecutor's decision.                                                
 Number 1076                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE JERRY MACKIE said that Representative Vezey was on             
 point with some concerns he also had.  He noted that many larger              
 communities prosecuted DWI violations, for example, under municipal           
 ordinances, using city attorneys to prosecute the cases.  "But                
 you'll find serious felonies and murder and other types of things             
 are always charged under state statute," he said, "because then               
 it's the responsibility of the district attorney and the state to             
 pay for those.  Representative Mackie cited examples of offenses              
 that might be bailable for fines that could be mailed in, including           
 traffic regulations, possession of tobacco, fish and game statutes,           
 and parks and recreation violations.  He referred to the new                  
 language on page 3, lines 3-7, where it said "an ordinance or                 
 regulation that is punishable as an infraction or violation."  "My            
 question is," he said, "other than the ones that are already                  
 stated, what is there out there that is punishable by a violation             
 that could be adopted by ordinance without getting into the area              
 that Representative Vezey talked about where all of a sudden,                 
 municipalities are adopting ordinances that are normally criminal             
 offenses, misdemeanor charges under state statutes, and opting to             
 go to infraction-type ordinances?"  He clarified, "What are some of           
 the things they're asking to be able to serve violation citations             
 Number 1189                                                                   
 MR. CHENOWETH replied he did not have a list of what Anchorage, for           
 example, might be concerned about.  Typical low-level criminal                
 conduct, he suggested, might be things like littering, dog control,           
 or curfew violations.                                                         
 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE responded that they could do all those things           
 under ordinance now.                                                          
 MR. CHENOWETH said, "Yes, but when they come to enforce those ...             
 there is no exception that says they are to be prosecuted in the              
 district court.  Consequently, they get put through the delinquency           
 system.  That is to say, they are presented to or by DFYS and                 
 handled through DFYS.  What Anchorage folks are asking is that the            
 use of the availability of the district court as a means, just as             
 we do now, for - just as municipalities do now - to enforce their             
 traffic ordinances, that that be expanded, so that other kinds of             
 ordinances, other subject matter, could be prosecuted - minors                
 could be prosecuted - in the district court in the same way.  And             
 I say that and then I have to hasten to add that Anchorage at this            
 point does not use that.  They are thinking in terms of expanding             
 the use of a parallel civil enforcement remedy that they adopted              
 about a year and a half ago.  But that doesn't mean that other                
 municipalities might not also want to have the opportunity to                 
 enforce their own regulations, or their own ordinances [indisc.]              
 through a district court criminal prosecution."                               
 Number 1294                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY noted that Duane Udland was available and               
 asked Mr. Udland if he could answer that question.                            
 DUANE UDLAND, Deputy Chief, Anchorage Police Department, testified            
 via teleconference that he was also representing the City of                  
 Anchorage.  "Our whole request for this bill lies in the fact and             
 the belief that minor offenses often go unpunished when you're                
 dealing with juveniles," he said, expressing the need for early               
 consequences when a juvenile was first caught by the police.  He              
 suggested that juvenile intake did not have the time or resources             
 to deal with petty offenses.  This legislation would allow                    
 Anchorage to either cite a juvenile in district court or take it              
 through the civil road, as they were currently doing with curfew              
 violations.  He cited types of violations that the state courts               
 never saw.  "We think we have a problem with juveniles that we                
 would like to start charging them with some of these ordinances,"             
 he said.  "But right now, unfortunately, we can charge, but the               
 system at the state level just is not going to deal with it."  He             
 emphasized that Anchorage was asking for enabling legislation.                
 Number 1428                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE asked if the focus of the bill related to               
 jurisdiction more than the ability to put new laws on the books.              
 "Because I can't imagine any of the infractions that you can't put            
 on the books right now, already, under current law, by ordinance,"            
 he said.                                                                      
 MR. UDLAND replied, "You're exactly right.  We've got a whole host            
 of them that we could charge the kids with right now.  It's just              
 that the state has the jurisdiction to prosecute.  We're asking for           
 that jurisdiction to prosecute them, either civilly or taking them            
 directly into district court."                                                
 Number 1450                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE asked if there was a fiscal note from the               
 courts.  He wanted to know what kind of impact it would have on               
 state courts, prosecution, court time and the judges.  He further             
 wondered if the fines eventually went to the municipality of                  
 Anchorage, what was in it for the state for the utilization of the            
 state courts.                                                                 
 MR. UDLAND said he did not know how many kids they were talking               
 about.  He indicated the assembly was interested in the civil                 
 process, where Anchorage would have its own Anchorage hearing                 
 officer.  He thought the impact on district court would be minimal.           
 Number 1542                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY referred to page 2, lines 14 through 16, and             
 said it appeared to be double jeopardy.  "You're talking about                
 prosecuting for a violation for somebody that's been convicted of             
 a crime, which implies that there was a misdemeanor or a felony               
 involved, they were convicted, then it talks about prosecuting for            
 violations," he said.  "I'm confused by what we're trying to do               
 Number 1578                                                                   
 MR. CHENOWETH said, "Section 2 is intended to address the question            
 of a concern on the part of Anchorage that if you allow us to                 
 prosecute, don't put on us the burden of requiring that these                 
 things go before a jury or requiring that we have to pay for court-           
 appointed counsel.  You don't have to take a case to a jury and you           
 don't have to provide a lawyer at public expense if you are                   
 prosecuting what the court has identified as a minor offense -                
 that's their term.  And we looked at what the court meant by minor            
 offense."  He explained the term arose out of a judicial decision.            
 "And we were looking for something that would indicate what the               
 court was thinking of in terms of qualifying as a minor offense.              
 If we met that, we would be able to exempt the municipalities from            
 having to carry the burden of trying a minor before a jury or                 
 appointing an attorney.  We found the clue to that in something               
 called District Court Criminal Rule 8.  And essentially, paragraphs           
 2 and 3, lines 7-16 of that page, pick up the characteristics out             
 of the district court rule and set them down in state law in a way            
 that, hopefully, keeps the municipality from having to carry the              
 burden of putting their cases before a jury or of having to appoint           
 an attorney at public expense."                                               
 Number 1658                                                                   
 MR. CHENOWETH continued:  "One of the other characteristics of a              
 minor offense is that the penalty could not give rise to any                  
 disability or legal disadvantage based on conviction of a crime.              
 Your voting rights couldn't be taken away.  You couldn't lose a               
 license to practice, practice law, practice medicine, operate a               
 business.  No other disability or legal disadvantage attaches to              
 the conviction apart from payment of a fine.  Period.  If the                 
 ordinance were drafted in any way that said that for violation of             
 this ordinance, some other penalty attaches beyond payment of a               
 fine, then paragraph 3 would say that the enacting municipality               
 could not take advantage of the minor offense exception, and                  
 therefore, it would be treated as a normal criminal offense and               
 various other things would come into play, including right to trial           
 by jury and right to court-appointed counsel if you couldn't afford           
 it.  So, what we're trying to do is meet the court's definition of            
 minor offense in all of the facets in the district court rule."               
 Number 1723                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said his interpretation in reading it was that           
 there was a conviction involved.  He understood Mr. Chenoweth to be           
 saying there was no disability or legal disadvantage that would               
 accrue from a conviction.                                                     
 MR. CHENOWETH replied that an ordinance that the municipality chose           
 to enforce this way could not include a provision that penalized              
 the defendant, upon conviction, beyond payment of a fine.                     
 Number 1764                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY explained that he understood what Mr.                    
 Chenoweth was saying but questioned whether the bill language said            
 that.  He asked if Mr. Chenoweth was comfortable that the language            
 said that.                                                                    
 MR. CHENOWETH indicated he had cribbed the language from the                  
 district court rule.                                                          
 Number 1777                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE reiterated that he wanted to know if there              
 was a fiscal note from the court.  Furthermore, he wished to know             
 the position of the Administration or the Department of Law on this           
 particular bill.                                                              
 Number 1799                                                                   
 MS. CARPENETI testified on behalf of the Department of Law, saying            
 the department opposed HB 474.  She explained that the                        
 Administration opposed automatic waivers of juveniles to adult                
 court, especially for minor offenses.  Shoplifting was the type of            
 offense that the Administration thought should be dealt with in the           
 juvenile system.                                                              
 Number 1838                                                                   
 MS. CARPENETI explained that the district court in Alaska had no              
 probation supervision, so that a person would go to court and be              
 fined without having any follow-up.  Nor did the bill provide for             
 restitution.  "And we're not sure exactly what offenses may be                
 dealt with under this system," she said.  "If it's concealment of             
 merchandise, it might be a violation in Anchorage, then it's a B              
 misdemeanor or an A misdemeanor or a C felony outside of                      
 Anchorage."  Ms. Carpeneti acknowledged there was frustration with            
 the juvenile system.  "And we would recommend that you wait while             
 the Governor's Commission on Youth and Justice addresses the                  
 problem," she said.  "I think the system is creaking under too many           
 people and too many demands made of it.  But we would oppose this             
 approach to alleviating whatever problems that are seen with the              
 juvenile system."                                                             
 Number 1893                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE said he could appreciate the position of                
 automatic waivers of juveniles into court.  "What we're talking               
 about is not jail time," he said.  "We're talking about minor                 
 offenses, which is under a bailable schedule.  With certain                   
 parameters on there, ... wouldn't the Administration look to this             
 as, perhaps, a mechanism for relief from a juvenile justice system            
 that is obviously very broke?"  He suggested that Anchorage would             
 not be asking for relief unless it was a serious problem.                     
 Number 1930                                                                   
 MS. CARPENETI thought it would be useful to hear from the Division            
 of Family and Youth Services (DFYS) and added, "I think that may be           
 a misconception that these cases are just not dealt with.  And it's           
 the Administration's position that if you don't deal with them at             
 the beginning, then you might end up with a juvenile who has not              
 been addressed in terms of how to help that person steer away from            
 committing offense after offense.  And you end up with a juvenile             
 who's in more trouble, and who's in serious trouble, and you've               
 lost the chance to help that individual, to steer him or her away             
 from bad behavior."                                                           
 Number 1956                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked who would determine what a minor                   
 infraction was.  He wondered whether the municipality, by                     
 ordinance, would say what were waivable offenses, rather than                 
 having determinations made by DFYS or the state.                              
 Number 1999                                                                   
 MS. CARPENETI believed that the way the bill was drafted, if the              
 municipality adopted an ordinance with only a fine attached to it,            
 they could, by that very act, define what is a waivable offense.              
 For example, if they prohibited concealment of merchandise and made           
 the only consequence a fine, that would, by definition, make it               
 waivable under this bill.  She added that she believed minor                  
 consuming was already waived to district court.                               
 Number 2034                                                                   
 MR. UDLAND emphasized Anchorage's willingness to take on the                  
 problem.  He said, "I'd be testifying in the opposite if we were              
 talking about waiving the kids into district court where they would           
 be sentenced to jail, as opposed to being handled by juvenile                 
 intake.  But that's not the case."  He added, "I think that if                
 there's concerns about the extent that the municipality would                 
 pursue this, for instance, would be going to serious misdemeanors             
 and then sort of declassifying them to violations, perhaps you                
 could put some language into the bill that would somehow ensure               
 that that wouldn't occur, but I don't know how to do that.  But it            
 would seem to me that this bill really does relieve the state of              
 Alaska from some burden that I've always heard in the past that               
 you'd like to get rid of."                                                    
 Number 2130                                                                   
 L. DIANE WORLEY, Director, Division of Family and Youth Services              
 (DFYS), Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), testified            
 that the department opposed HB 474.  "While it has been noted that            
 there are times we would probably relieve ourselves of some of                
 these obligations, the reality is we do not feel it is in the best            
 interest of the youth," she said.                                             
 Number 2163                                                                   
 MS. WORLEY pointed out that in the bill, as designed, each                    
 municipality would have the ability to adopt the ordinance of their           
 choice.  The department was concerned that throughout the state,              
 youth would be treated differently for the same violations.  A                
 second concern was that when a youth went into court, DFYS had no             
 mechanism for receiving that information.  Someone who had been to            
 district court previously could come into the DFYS system as a                
 first-time offender.  Similarly, there was no notification to                 
 district court when a youth was on probation in the juvenile                  
 Number 2229                                                                   
 MS. WORLEY emphasized that DHSS felt the juvenile justice system              
 was the best mechanism for handling youth.  She discussed                     
 misperceptions and statistics relating to the system.  On                     
 misdemeanor referrals for 1995, she said, DHSS adjusted with a                
 letter 18 percent of the time and with a referral 29 percent of the           
 time, resulting in payment of restitution, going to youth court or            
 mediation, or performing community service.  The department                   
 adjusted with a conference almost 21 percent of the time, in which            
 parents were involved and worked out a plan of action with the                
 youth and probation officer, including ongoing follow-up.  In 13              
 percent of the cases, juveniles were petitioned to court.  About 5            
 percent received ongoing probation for a period of time.  Ms.                 
 Worley emphasized that the system was trying to find methods of               
 rehabilitation.  She acknowledged they were not always successful.            
 However, they felt that if parents were involved and the youth were           
 engaged in community service, probation, monitoring or other                  
 methods, there was a better opportunity for keeping an eye on the             
 Number 2313                                                                   
 MS. WORLEY expressed concern that youths would fail to pay the                
 fines.  "As you all well know," she said, "our youth facilities are           
 more than full and we have grave concern about how many of these              
 kids decide not to pay a fine, get a contempt of court charge, and            
 then we have to take them in for a period of time for an offense              
 that could be as small as skateboarding in the wrong place of town            
 because there was a municipal ordinance against skateboarding on              
 that part of the street."                                                     
 Number 2345                                                                   
 MS. WORLEY emphasized that they supported municipalities taking a             
 more active role.  "Anchorage is a wonderful example," she said.              
 "We would really like the opportunity to work with municipalities             
 and have them help us develop alternatives for placement and                  
 referrals for these youth."                                                   
 Number 2369                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY expressed amazement that DHSS opposed                   
 allowing the municipality to take on this problem.  She asked if              
 the problem was going to be addressed in the Governor's new youth             
 MS. WORLEY replied that was certainly part of it.  "And I serve on            
 the prevention working group of the Governor's Conference," she               
 said.  "There's the prevention, there's the youth-at-risk and then            
 there's dealing with the juvenile code.  So we are dealing with all           
 aspects of that."                                                             
 Number 2401                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY asked, "But will he address this issue that             
 is a major problem in Anchorage?  If he doesn't, then that's what             
 I'm saying.  This bill is a specific problem in our Anchorage area            
 with the youth.  They're running rampant in Anchorage.  We need               
 some way to stop them in the very beginning.  Now, whether the                
 state wants to get involved in a five-dollar shoplifting or in                
 spray-painting an office building, maybe that's something they want           
 to do.  And if that is, then the fiscal note should be totally                
 different.  As it is now, it is something that Anchorage feels they           
 can handle."                                                                  
 Number 2430                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE referred to earlier testimony about attitudes           
 by juvenile offenders who did not worry about prosecution.  He                
 asked if there were minor offense charges currently under the                 
 state's juvenile justice system being dismissed because of lack of            
 TAPE 96-17, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 0001                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE asked if DFYS could be notified when there              
 was a violation.  "If it's being adjudicated by a district court              
 judge anyway, there would be a record of it," he said, "and                   
 certainly, something like that could be passed on."  He asked why             
 Ms. Worley did not see the bill as an asset to the system.                    
 Number 0025                                                                   
 MS. WORLEY responded, "You bring up a number of good points, as               
 does Representative Toohey.  And I think it's important to                    
 understand that it's not that we don't feel the municipality can              
 handle it."  However, DFYS was concerned that payment of a fine,              
 while often immediate, was not a real deterrent nor would it keep             
 juveniles on the right track down the road.  "There could even be             
 said that it provides a benefit to those who have higher economic             
 status," she said.  "It's easy to pay a fine if you have a wealth             
 of money.  If you don't, it becomes a greater burden.  I guess my             
 concern continues to be that I believe, through the juvenile                  
 justice system, we can have a stronger, continuing relationship, a            
 monitoring process, to keep in touch with these youth and to see              
 where they're going.  Certainly a fine for some kids is going to be           
 a deterrent."  She reiterated the fear that many would not pay the            
 fines and would end up in contempt of court, resulting in their               
 placement in the youth facilities.                                            
 Number 0085                                                                   
 MS. WORLEY agreed the department could probably set up a system to            
 receive notification from the courts.                                         
 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE asked if it were a policy of DFYS to not                
 issue fines because of a belief that fines did not serve as a                 
 deterrent.  He noted that paying money had been a deterrent to him            
 as a youth.  Representative Mackie then referred back to his                  
 earlier question about youth not being prosecuted or receiving                
 follow-through in the system and asked if that was the case.                  
 Number 0113                                                                   
 MS. WORLEY stated that according to the statistics for FY 1995,               
 6percent of misdemeanors were dismissed for various reasons.  Lack            
 of resources precluded them from dealing with every single case as            
 thoroughly as they wanted to.  "But we certainly try to evaluate              
 each case and make a good determination as to what steps can be               
 taken and we try to have some type of consequence in every case,"             
 she said.  Althought DFYS did not normally impose fines, they                 
 required a lot of restitution, particularly in cases where there              
 was property damage or stolen merchandise.                                    
 Number 0209                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE said, "So, there's not an inordinate number             
 of offenders that are falling through the cracks, then, in your               
 MS. WORLEY replied, "It's hard to answer that.  I think there are             
 kids who are falling through the cracks, definitely.  I don't know            
 if there is an inordinate number.  I think a lot of it is on                  
 perception of what is a consequence.  In some people's minds, a               
 fine is a concrete consequence, whereas community service is not a            
 concrete consequence."                                                        
 Number 0237                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY said, "If municipalities would get together             
 and absorb 10 or 15 percent of these minor cases, it certainly                
 would leave your hands free, and the money free, to prosecute the             
 more serious offenses."  She asked Mr. Udland about the numbers of            
 cases being dismissed.                                                        
 Number 0254                                                                   
 MR. UDLAND replied, "I can't give you numbers.  I think `dismissed'           
 is actually the wrong terminology."  He said he had heard people              
 from Juneau intake say they were so busy that if they could write             
 a letter, that might be all they would do because of lack of time.            
 "And I don't think that would count as a dismissal," he said.  "It            
 would probably be a disposition, and therefore, I don't think the             
 dismissals would show up as a true, accurate picture."  He noted              
 that street officers were frustrated because the only consequence             
 was a letter in the mail.  "I've always defended juvenile intake              
 and the work that they do," he said.  "I think they do a wonderful            
 job.  But the problem is, is there aren't enough of them.  And                
 they're getting overwhelmed.  I wish I could get every kid into               
 juvenile intake for every minor event.  I think they have the                 
 ability and the desire.  They just don't have the resources.  I               
 guess there's a question, can the municipality enter into this one            
 limited area and help out?  I think we can."                                  
 Number 0333                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR AUSTERMAN pointed out that with 18 percent letters and 6             
 percent dismissals, that was 24 percent, almost a quarter of the              
 cases, which did not have fines or actions against them.  With                
 another 21 percent going to conference with parents, nearly 45 to             
 50 percent of the caseload was not being petitioned to court, going           
 to referrals or in the ongoing probation period.  "So, using those            
 numbers, it sounds to me like there is a problem," he said.  "And             
 maybe this would be one way of helping your department solve some             
 of the problems that you've got out there."  He indicated he                  
 supported the bill and wanted to move it from committee.                      
 Number 0369                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR IVAN commented that he was not totally convinced by DFYS.            
 He saw the bill as a tool and thought it would give the                       
 municipalities the authority to deal at the local level, getting              
 the authority closer to parents and enforcement in the communities.           
 Number 0422                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON thought they were taking a philosophy adopted            
 by the state over a long period of time and "turning it on its                
 head."  He said, "I really do believe that part of the problem with           
 juvenile misbehavior is that we've got to get them into a system              
 where they can get some help."  He was not sure that taking                   
 juveniles straight into the court system would do that.  He                   
 suggested the proposed legislation was, at most, a partial solution           
 that could possibly be adopted as part of a package.  "I don't see            
 anything in here that guarantees that there's going to be                     
 retribution," he said.  "I don't see anything in here that speeds             
 up the docket in district court.  I don't see anything in here that           
 tells me how much this is going to cost the court system.  I don't            
 think we've even asked the court system how much it's going to                
 cost."  He advised that until there were answers to those kinds of            
 questions, the bill should not move on.                                       
 Number 0539                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY responded, "This is for a municipality to               
 adopt.  Juneau obviously doesn't have that problem.  It is                    
 obviously a problem for Anchorage.  It may be for Fairbanks; I'm              
 not sure.  But the court system said that it would be so minor that           
 it might incur a $2,000 court problem, $2,000 a year, if that."               
 She emphasized her belief that it was a solution to 14- and 15-               
 year-olds starting into a life of crime.  "Some of them it's going            
 to stop," she said.  "If we can save 20 percent by scaring them or            
 by imposing this fine on them, then I think that we're saving                 
 somebody."  She pointed out that the municipalities were not                  
 mandated to do this but were willing to take on this problem.                 
 Number 0582                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE said he did not necessarily disagree with               
 Representative Elton's comments.  "And I certainly think that DFYS            
 and other agencies try to do the best they can with the                       
 rehabilitation and looking out for the best interest of the kid."             
 However, he recalled getting a ticket at age 14 for driving without           
 a license and the effect that going with his mother before a judge            
 had on him.  He suggested that going before a judge could be a                
 wake-up call.  Representative Mackie referred to the numbers                  
 pointed out by Co-Chair Austerman and said that also concerned him.           
 "There is not a lot of deterrent out there," he added.                        
 Number 0658                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON clarified that although he thought there was             
 a problem, he was not yet ready to buy into the solution.  He                 
 indicated that as a youth, he would have been more frightened by              
 his parents receiving a letter than by going before the district              
 court judge.  He recalled an incident where he was one of 150 kids            
 who jaywalked in front of the high school one afternoon.  "We                 
 thought that was the biggest, most fun thing we had that whole                
 week," he said.  "We got the afternoon off and we all went to court           
 and he told us not to do it again."  He thought there should not be           
 too much concern about 21 percent getting a letter because if it              
 worked right, a lot of those kids would not be back in the system.            
 "Frankly, I think the best solution is, give DFYS the ability, the            
 resources they need, to do a good job," he said.                              
 Number 0766                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR AUSTERMAN moved that HB 474 move from committee with                 
 accompanying fiscal notes and individual recommendations.  There              
 being no objection, it was so ordered.                                        
 CO-CHAIR IVAN recessed the committee at 2:40 p.m. for a short                 

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