Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/08/1993 03:00 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  HB 100:  PROSECUTION OF JUVENILE FELONS                                      
                                                                               
  Number 314                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY called the meeting back to order at 4:15 p.m.                   
  and brought HB 100 to the table.                                             
                                                                               
  Number 317                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE, PRIME SPONSOR, testified in support of HB 100.                   
  He said it is an attempt to encourage young people to be                     
  responsible for their behavior.  The bill's thrust is to                     
  change the burden of proof in deciding how to deal with                      
  juveniles charged with major felonies.  The bill would lift                  
  the responsibility from the prosecution to show why a                        
  juvenile should be tried as an adult, to the defense to show                 
  why a juvenile should be tried as a juvenile, enjoying the                   
  confidentiality of records and release from incarceration at                 
  age 20.                                                                      
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE noted that HB 100 does not eliminate the                          
  possibility of granting waivers to such juveniles, allowing                  
  them to be dealt with through the juvenile justice system.                   
  He said the bill stems from his experience of watching                       
  children go unpunished for their violations and gradually                    
  develop into incorrigible criminals.  By establishing                        
  serious consequences for juvenile offenders, the bill would                  
  help deter children from committing crimes, he said.                         
                                                                               
  Number 360                                                                   
                                                                               
  KATHY WELTZIN, STUDENT ASSISTANCE COUNSELOR AT FLOYD DRYDEN                  
  MIDDLE SCHOOL IN JUNEAU, testified in support of HB 100.                     
  She related that the had discussed the bill with school                      
  counselors, a vice principal, a principal, a police officer,                 
  and a public health nurse, all of whom work with children,                   
  and was surprised at their unanimous support for such a                      
  bill.  She was told that children need to be accountable;                    
  that the current system enables juvenile violators to                        
  continue criminal behavior; that children understand and                     
  exploit their advantages in the juvenile justice system; and                 
  that children view their nonage as a time to practice                        
  criminal techniques at low risk of serious punishment.  She                  
  said adults owe children "tough love" and clear boundaries                   
  for acceptable behavior.  She acknowledged that she did not                  
  ask children how they felt, and admitted she was remiss in                   
  not doing so.                                                                
                                                                               
  Number 395                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. WING, DIRECTOR, DFYS, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & SOCIAL                      
  SERVICES, testified in favor of a bill to waive juvenile                     
  offenders into adult court.  She said the department would                   
  need clarification of language in the bill concerning where                  
  juvenile offenders would be housed while the decision was                    
  made as to where he would be tried.                                          
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE agreed that the question of housing juvenile                      
  offenders was vague in light of the pending fate of a                        
  governor's proposal to create "boot camps" for them.  He                     
  noted that while judges are hesitant to place young                          
  offenders into adult jails, it was not clear what form                       
  juvenile facilities would take.                                              
                                                                               
  Number 414                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. NICHOLIA mentioned that state law prohibits placing                     
  juveniles into adult prisons.                                                
                                                                               
  Number 420                                                                   
                                                                               
  SHERRIE GOLL, LOBBYIST FOR THE ALASKA WOMEN'S LOBBY,                         
  testified in opposition to HB 100.  She said she has long                    
  opposed such legislation, and argued that the current system                 
  allows judges to determine whether juvenile offenders should                 
  be tried as juveniles or waived into adult court.  She                       
  referred to a case in which police did not insist on having                  
  a juvenile's parents present during questioning, which led                   
  to the overruling of a judge's order to waive the juvenile                   
  into adult court, and blamed police, not the current system,                 
  for the error.  She said the juvenile justice system may                     
  need to be able to hold children in custody past the age of                  
  20 to allow for lengthy court proceedings.                                   
                                                                               
  Number 478                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE voiced a difference of opinion on fiscal notes                    
  for HB 100, in terms of how different state departments                      
  would be affected by the bill.  He said the decision to                      
  waive a juvenile into adult court must entail an additional                  
  hearing, contrary to the provisions of a similar state                       
  Senate bill that would not allow such a hearing.  He said                    
  erring on the side of caution, even at the cost of more                      
  time, would help ensure justice were done.  He said 15 and                   
  16 year olds are more sophisticated than in the past.  He                    
  expressed concern that juveniles released from the juvenile                  
  justice system at age 20, with records of their crimes                       
  sealed from public view, might pose a danger to the public                   
  at large, and referred to such a case in Alaska.                             
                                                                               
  Number 505                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. NICHOLIA asked why there was no fiscal note from the                    
  Department of Law, and whether he had sought a position                      
  paper from the department.                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE answered that there was a fiscal note from the                    
  Department of Administration, but he had not asked for one                   
  from the Department of Law.  He said he had spoken with                      
  legislative research and legal offices, which helped write                   
  the bill.  He said a sectional analysis was done by                          
  Legislative Legal Services.                                                  
                                                                               
  TAPE 93-11B, SIDE A                                                          
  Number 000                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BRICE asked for a prediction of the increase in jail                    
  populations through passage of HB 100.                                       
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE said the support materials for the bill included                  
  numbers of people who might be tried, then either be waived                  
  into adult court or not.  He said four people were tried as                  
  adults in 1990 who might fall under this bill, six in 1989,                  
  and one in 1988.  He did not know how many people would be                   
  tried under the bill in the future, but predicted defense                    
  attorneys would work hard to see their juvenile clients                      
  tried in juvenile court.                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 030                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BRICE asked about housing alternatives for juvenile                     
  offenders other than the "boot camps" proposed by the                        
  governor.                                                                    
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE said that, as state law bars incarcerating                        
  juveniles and adults in close proximity, it might be                         
  possible to place juvenile offenders in adult prisons but                    
  keep them separate.                                                          
                                                                               
  Number 050                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. OLBERG said he could not imagine that housing would not                 
  be addressed in regulations that might be written to                         
  implement the bill.                                                          
                                                                               
  Number 070                                                                   
                                                                               
  DONNA SCHULTZ, ASSOCIATE COORDINATOR FOR DFYS, asked where                   
  juvenile offenders would be housed after arrest for crimes                   
  that might lead to eventual trial as an adult.                               
                                                                               
  REP. BRICE asked whether juveniles housed in the juvenile                    
  corrections system would need to be separated from other                     
  offenders convicted of lesser crimes.                                        
                                                                               
  Number 100                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. SCHULTZ said juveniles are now held in juvenile                          
  facilities awaiting the waiver decision.  Once waived into                   
  adult court, the juvenile offenders are immediately sent to                  
  adult facilities.                                                            
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE said he believed state law requires juvenile                      
  offenders to be held separately from adults.                                 
                                                                               
  Number 135                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY closed testimony on HB 100 and asked the will                   
  of the committee.                                                            
                                                                               
  REP. OLBERG moved passage with individual recommendations.                   
                                                                               
  REP. NICHOLIA objected, citing a desire for a fiscal note                    
  and position statement from the Department of Law, and                       
  clarification of the housing questions.                                      
                                                                               
  REP. OLBERG said the offices of Public Advocacy and Public                   
  Defenders are part of the Department of Law, and asked                       
  whether their fiscal notes were not sufficient.                              
                                                                               
  Number 167                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE encouraged passage of HB 100, and said that other                 
  committees of referral might better answer such questions.                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY announced a roll call vote on the motion.  The                  
  vote was 6-2.  Those voting yea were Reps. Toohey, Bunde, G.                 
  Davis, Vezey, Kott, Olberg, B. Davis.  Those voting nay were                 
  Reps. Nicholia and Brice.  Therefore, HB 100 was PASSED OUT                  
  WITH INDIVIDUAL RECOMMENDATIONS.                                             

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