Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/29/1996 03:26 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 HB 387 - JUVENILE CODE REVISION                                             
 Number 085                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced the first order of business to come before           
 the committee was HB 387.  He asked Representative Kelly to come              
 forward and present his bill.                                                 
 Number 106                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE PETE KELLY, Sponsor, noted he had provided a                   
 committee substitute to the committee.                                        
 Number 154                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY moved to adopt CSSSHB 387, Work Draft 9-LS1276\R,             
 Chenoweth, for discussion purposes.  Hearing no objection, it was             
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON arrived at 3:32 p.m.                                  
 Number 190                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE KELLY said one of the most difficult things in                 
 dealing with the juvenile crime problem, is that juveniles who are            
 delinquent and juveniles who are in need of aid are mixed together.           
 Committee Substitute for Sponsor Substitute for HB 387 attempts to            
 split in law those two classes of individuals so they can start               
 being looked at separately.  He believed this would be a great                
 asset to the Governor's Conference on Juvenile Justice that has               
 been going on in Anchorage.  He said there are some policy changes            
 in HB 387 which give direction to the courts and to the Department            
 of Health & Social Services on how to treat juvenile delinquents              
 versus children in need of aid.  There are some other collateral              
 issues dealing with school boards and truancy.                                
 Number 279                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE KELLY began the sectional analysis.  He referenced             
 the Truancy Section on page 3 and said it was his intention to                
 offer an amendment which would simplify the language and give the             
 responsibility for procedures to the school board to develop their            
 own truancy policies rather than having to deal with the current              
 cumbersome statutes.                                                          
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Representative Kelly if he was aware of any              
 controversy surrounding this amendment?                                       
 REPRESENTATIVE KELLY responded he didn't think there was any                  
 Number 425                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS moved to adopt Amendment R.4.  Hearing no           
 objection, the amendment was adopted.                                         
 Number 449                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE KELLY referenced page 5, and said CSSSHB 387 does              
 not establish a state curfew, it merely allows municipalities,                
 through Title 29, to establish curfews.  He pointed out that even             
 though different municipalities are establishing curfews currently,           
 the authority is not found in Title 29.  He didn't believe there              
 was any controversy regarding this issue, and added it was not an             
 amendment, just a policy change.                                              
 Number 467                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE KELLY directed the committee's attention to pages 8            
 and 9, and said Amendment R.3 which was at the request of the                 
 Department of Health & Social Services moves the delinquency policy           
 into the new Chapter 12 in Title 47.                                          
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked for further explanation on Amendment               
 REPRESENTATIVE KELLY referred to page 9, and said this creates new            
 policy.  Subsections (b)(2) and (3) are a derivation of the                   
 California law where the responsibility of the juvenile's crime is            
 placed on the parents in the form of fines.  Subsection (b)(3) will           
 do that in the form of time, whereby the parent can be brought into           
 the supervision of the child.  He said that subsection (b)(2)                 
 refers to sanctions and it is a policy that will allow and give the           
 courts and the department direction that sanctions are appropriate            
 for delinquent behavior.  Currently there is no language on                   
 sanctions for delinquent behavior.  Amendment R.3 moves this                  
 section into the new chapter, where it is more appropriate.                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE verified there was no change to the verbiage, it was           
 simply moving it to another chapter.                                          
 REPRESENTATIVE KELLY replied the policy language before the                   
 committee would remain intact and be moved to the new Chapter 12,             
 Delinquent Behavior, on page 27 of the Work Draft.                            
 Number 754                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE TOM BRICE referenced Amendment R.3 and asked if it             
 would be inserted at the end of page 27, line 23.                             
 REPRESENTATIVE KELLY replied it would be the Purpose and Policy               
 Section for the new Chapter and would be inserted between Sec.                
 47.12.020, Jurisdiction, and Sec. 47.12.015, Provisions                       
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE verified that it would fall under the                    
 Jurisdiction Section; it would not be a new section, for example              
 Sec. 012.                                                                     
 REPRESENTATIVE KELLY said that was correct.                                   
 Number 825                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS moved to adopt Amendment R.3.  Hearing no                
 objection, Amendment R.3 was adopted.                                         
 REPRESENTATIVE KELLY directed the committee's attention to page 23            
 of the Work Draft R and said Amendment R.5 moves Section 48,                  
 Detention of Minors, and Section 49, Youth Counselors, into the new           
 chapter.  This amendment is at the request of the Departments of              
 Health & Social Services and Law.                                             
 Number 970                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS moved to adopt Amendment R.5.  Hearing no                
 objection, Amendment R.5 was adopted.                                         
 Number 992                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE KELLY explained that Amendment R.1 removes the                 
 language dealing with sex offenders.  He had discussed this with              
 the Department of Law and everyone agreed that it would be a                  
 cleaner bill if it was removed from this draft, but not from                  
 current statute.                                                              
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE clarified the amendment removes the language from              
 the committee substitute and allows the language to remain intact             
 in the current statute.                                                       
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked if it deleted Section 4 on page 3.                 
 REPRESENTATIVE KELLY responded affirmatively.  Also, lines 19-29,             
 page 37, would be deleted from the committee substitute, but not              
 from current statute.                                                         
 Number 1266                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS moved to adopt Amendment R.1.  Hearing no                
 objection, Amendment R.1 was adopted.                                         
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said the committee now had a complete document                 
 before them and opened the meeting to public testimony.                       
 Number 1306                                                                   
 STEVEN GRUNSTEIN, Representative, Guardians for Parents Rights,               
 testified that the current juvenile justice system is a farce; it             
 does not work.  There are kids that are willful and there is no way           
 of controlling them.  When parents do seek assistance, the fault is           
 usually placed on the parents which gets to be very frustrating and           
 aggravating.  He referenced a Letter to the Editor which he had               
 written and said it basically highlights all the problems that                
 parents encounter with teen-agers.  He stated this legislation is             
 the first thing he's come across in a long time that appears to               
 address the issue.  He acknowledged that it would probably go                 
 through many changes in the legislative process, but it is                    
 Number 1410                                                                   
 ANNE CARPENETI, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division,                
 Department of Law, said the department has found some technical               
 issues that arise from trying to divide one chapter into two                  
 chapters which she would be happy to discuss with the committee or            
 with the sponsors.                                                            
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he would prefer that she just discuss the bill            
 in a general, philosophical way with this committee and the                   
 technical issues could be addressed in the Judiciary Committee and            
 with the sponsor.                                                             
 MS. CARPENETI said she didn't believe there was any objection from            
 the Department of Law with dividing Title 47, Chapter 10, into two            
 chapters; one dealing with child in need of aid cases and the other           
 dealing with delinquent cases.  She had some substantive issues she           
 wanted to address before the committee.  She referenced page 9,               
 line 11, and said although the department supports the possibility            
 of a minor's family contributing and participating in counseling              
 and rehabilitation of the child, it was their position it should be           
 discretionary.  She wasn't sure the word "should" was discretionary           
 and suggested inserting "if appropriate" if the sponsor wanted to             
 leave it in the bill.  In the department's judgment, there are some           
 cases when it is simply not appropriate and it shouldn't be                   
 MS. CARPENETI said the next substantive issue was on page 19, line            
 28.  Present law provides that a police officer should return a               
 child to his/her home unless the officer has reasonable cause to              
 suspect that at the home the child is being subject to physical or            
 sexual abuse.  This legislation changes it to "reasonable cause to            
 believe" which is a higher level of information.  The Department of           
 Law opposes that.  It is their belief the police officer should be            
 able to not return the child home if there is reasonable cause to             
 suspect there is child abuse in the home.                                     
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if Ms. Carpeneti could give a hypothetical               
 example of the difference between believe and suspect.                        
 MS. CARPENETI was unable to give an immediate response to that                
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE questioned how that would be reviewed in court.                
 MS. CARPENETI responded that police officers apply these standards            
 in their job all the time, so they are accustomed to applying                 
 different standards.  She didn't believe that a police officer                
 would have a problem making a distinction.  She feels a suspicion             
 is a lower level of information than a belief and it is best to               
 allow police officers the ability to not return a child home if               
 there is a suspicion based on reason.                                         
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Ms. Carpeneti if a reasonable suspicion is               
 probable cause.                                                               
 MS. CARPENETI said no and added that probable cause to believe is             
 a standard that police officers and prosecutors apply when they are           
 deciding whether there is enough evidence to make an arrest.                  
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE commented that current language would be at the                
 level of arrest rather than something less than a level (indisc.).            
 MS. CARPENETI further explained that reasonable cause to suspect              
 does not rise to enough information for an arrest; it is a lower              
 amount of information.                                                        
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if reasonable cause to believe rises to            
 that level?                                                                   
 MS. CARPENETI replied that reasonable cause to believe is closer to           
 probable cause.  Some people think that reasonable cause to believe           
 is almost at the probable cause for an arrest level.  She commented           
 that she had researched this last year and there is not agreement             
 among all attorneys or judges, but she thinks that reasonable cause           
 to believe is a lot closer to probable cause to arrest.                       
 MS. CARPENETI stated the third substantive issue was on page 38,              
 beginning on line 12, which is a new section to the code.  She said           
 present law provides the court shall consider the best interests of           
 the child and the public.  The rest of the material in this section           
 47.12.120 is new to existing law.  She had some questions relating            
 to paragraphs (1) and (2) under subsection (a).  Subsection (b)               
 adds considerations that are referred to in criminal law as "Cheney           
 (ph) criteria" which is the case where the court adopted similar              
 criteria for sentencing adults.  She felt this section needed more            
 consideration in terms of order.  Also, she thought it might be               
 conflicting when looking at the best interest of the minor and how            
 that plays against the seriousness of the minor's delinquent act.             
 The department had some questions regarding the substance of that             
 section.  She concluded that those were the only substantive issues           
 the department had with this draft.                                           
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE referred to the first substantive issue on page 9              
 and asked if there were any questions regarding the addition of "if           
 appropriate" on page 9, line 11.                                              
 Number 1790                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked for clarification of the department's           
 MS. CARPENETI said it is the department's position it should be               
 discretionary rather than mandatory.  She pointed out that it could           
 read "may include" or "should include, if appropriate" to provide             
 that discretion to a court.  She reiterated her belief that it was            
 not a good idea that it be required because there are some cases              
 where parental counseling isn't appropriate.                                  
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY departed at 4:00 p.m. to attend another meeting.              
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted that "may include" sounded a little broader in           
 its permissiveness than "should include, if appropriate."                     
 MS. CARPENETI said it's close, but the department is concerned                
 about having that discretion available.                                       
 Number 1790                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she felt strongly that if a young                
 person has reached the point of getting in trouble with the law,              
 the parents do need to be involved at some level of their                     
 treatment.  She thought that a judge should at least recognize the            
 importance of a young person's therapy in connection with their               
 MS. CARPENETI responded that is why she felt that "should include,            
 if appropriate" is stronger than "may include."                               
 Number 1871                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS thought that "may" is perhaps too weak and               
 agreed with the addition of "if appropriate."  "Should" implies               
 that is the avenue that should be taken, but if there are                     
 extenuating circumstances that would make it inappropriate, then              
 "if appropriate" gives the judge that discretion.                             
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE referred to page 19, line 28, regarding usage of               
 "suspect" versus "believe."  He explained that "believe" is a                 
 higher level of probable cause, and "suspect" is a lower level of             
 probable cause.                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Representative Kelly if he had any comments on           
 the addition of "if appropriate."                                             
 Number 1944                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE KELLY said he had no objection.  He added this was             
 a policy statement.                                                           
 Number 1955                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS moved to adopt Amendment 6 which inserts "if             
 appropriate" after the word "should" on page 9, line 11.  Hearing             
 no objection, Amendment 6 was adopted.                                        
 Number 2000                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE again referred to page 19, line 28, regarding the              
 use of "suspect" versus "believe".  He asked Representative Kelly             
 if he would like to comment.                                                  
 REPRESENTATIVE KELLY said "What we were trying to accomplish here             
 is when the officer picks up the child, and the child knows that              
 all he has to do is say `I'm being abused and the officer then                
 doesn't need to take him home, and that may not be true."  If the             
 officer has reason to suspect, that is an extremely low standard.             
 If the officer has reason to believe based on prior experiences               
 with the family or familiarity with the child's parents, then the             
 officer can take the child to the shelter.  If on the other hand,             
 the officer has reason to suspect, he is duty bound to report that            
 he suspects child abuse.  He asked Ms. Carpeneti if that was                  
 MS. CARPENETI said she thought this subparagraph deals with what              
 the officer does with the child.                                              
 REPRESENTATIVE KELLY pointed out that in another statute, the                 
 officer, as a person of responsibility, is duty bound to report               
 child abuse for a kid who just doesn't want to go home.  That was             
 what Representative Kelly was trying to achieve.   He said AS 47.17           
 deals with people, such as counselors, teachers, etc., who are                
 required to report child abuse and it is a misdemeanor if they                
 suspect and don't report it.  He added that is a low standard and             
 it's a bit of a problem, but it still exists.  The police have much           
 more interaction and Representative Kelly wanted to raise that                
 standard so every time they pick up a child who doesn't want to go            
 home, they don't have to report suspected child abuse.                        
 Number 2079                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said it was his belief that teachers are required to           
 report suspected child abuse.  He asked if this change would have             
 any impact on teachers.                                                       
 MS. CARPENETI replied she didn't believe so.                                  
 REPRESENTATIVE KELLY asked to correct a prior statement.  He said             
 the police officer would still be required to report that he                  
 suspected child abuse, he just wouldn't necessarily have to take              
 the child home.                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if it was the standard that anyone dealing               
 with children in an official capacity who suspects child abuse is             
 required to report it?                                                        
 Number 2122                                                                   
 JANINE REEP, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, Human                
 Services Section, Department of Law, said that is the reporting               
 standard in the statute.  The idea is that teachers and other                 
 people don't have to make that determination of believing it or did           
 it really happen.  She added that it is intentionally a lower                 
 standard so that the job of determining whether there really had              
 been abuse was referred to the department.                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE clarified the proposed change by presenting a                  
 hypothetical example of a police officer picking a child up and if            
 he suspects child abuse, he is required by law to report it, but he           
 is not required to take the child to the shelter unless he believes           
 there has been child abuse.                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE KELLY said he thought the difference was with this             
 low standard the police officer automatically has to take the child           
 to the shelter when the child says "I am abused," even if the                 
 officer knows the child is not being abused.                                  
 Number 2190                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE inquired if a police officer is told by a child that           
 he/she is being abused, does that constitute the legal level of               
 "suspect" and is the officer required to report that parent?                  
 MS. CARPENETI responded in her judgment, no.  It has to be a                  
 suspicion based on reason and if the child is saying things to the            
 police officer that are not credible, she didn't believe the                  
 officer would be required to report it.                                       
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Ms. Carpeneti to take it to the level of                 
 MS. CARPENETI responded that the suspicion has to be reasonable               
 under present law and the belief has to be reasonable under the               
 proposed language.                                                            
 MS. REEP pointed out one problem the change presents is that there            
 would be dual standards.  The reporting standard would still exist            
 - reason to suspect, and there would be a different standard for              
 whether the child is returned.  She commented that it was                     
 difficult to conceptualize, let alone put into practice.                      
 Number 2257                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG thought the amendment should be dealt with            
 by the Judiciary Committee because it was clearly a legal                     
 definition of standard.                                                       
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE directed the committee's attention to page 38, line            
 12 and asked Ms. Carpeneti to explain the Department of Law's                 
 Number 2300                                                                   
 MS. CARPENETI said there were a couple of concerns and added this             
 is new language, not part of splitting the code.  She commented the           
 drafting is unusual in that it has two subsections: the court shall           
 consider one set of considerations and then another.  She explained           
 that in the past, the tradition has been to focus on the best                 
 interests of the minor and the public.  Now there are other things            
 like the seriousness of the delinquent's act.  They may actually              
 relate to each other, but she wanted the opportunity to give it               
 some additional thought.                                                      
 TAPE 96-18, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if there were other questions for the                    
 representatives from the Department of Law.  Hearing none, he                 
 advised that testimony would be taken via teleconference.                     
 Number 007                                                                    
 AL NEAR testified from Fairbanks that he didn't have a copy of the            
 current work draft, but he had been following the legislation and             
 wholeheartedly supported what he believed was the primary goal of             
 returning the offender to accountability in the juvenile justice              
 formula.  He first learned of the accountability gap when his                 
 daughter refused to come home from school because he and his wife             
 had threatened to impose grounding sanctions in response to her               
 cutting classes.  He was informed by the school counselor that he             
 should try to persuade her to return, but he could face serious               
 consequences if he attempted any physical solution, such as putting           
 her in the car and driving her home.  He ended up negotiating with            
 his daughter through the vice principal, the counselor and nurse.             
 In the end, his daughter had her way in that she went home with a             
 classmate for the weekend, thereby avoiding any consequences for              
 her actions.  That incident occurred in December 1994, and since              
 then she has been in a dozen or more foster settings from which she           
 either ran away or was asked to leave, still no consequences.  His            
 daughter has lived on the streets for up to six weeks at a time,              
 and when she has been picked up as a runaway, she refuses to go               
 home, so she is delivered to the local youth shelter where it's               
 been a revolving door and she soon returns to the unsavory                    
 situation from which she had just been rescued, and still no                  
 consequences.  His daughter was an attractive, intelligent and                
 talented, 15-year-old girl who held the world in her hands before             
 she was pulled into a negative peer group.  She was destined for              
 college and a responsible, productive future.  Now he doubts that             
 she will even finish high school and she has self-predicted that              
 she will end up in jail, but quickly points out she will be with              
 her friends.  He asked how something like this could happen.                  
 Before it happened to their family, he would have blamed it on the            
 family, but he and his wife have enjoyed 32 years of a loving                 
 partnership and their son is a well-liked 19-year-old college                 
 student.  He remarked that their situation is not an isolated case.           
 During the past year, there have been families from all walks of              
 life who have similar stories.  He pointed out the one continuing             
 theme that runs through all these cases is the absence of                     
 accountability.  When a child refuses to follow the standards of              
 behavior set forth by the family and society, it seems that the               
 legal system also refuses to uphold them, what should be expected?            
 The earliest intervention is what is needed.  He believes that if             
 his daughter had been sent home when she first began experimenting            
 with the system, she might have been saved.  But after scores of              
 episodes to which the system responded by rewarding these                     
 misadventures with ever greater freedoms, what are the odds that              
 she can ever be turned around?  There needs to be appropriate                 
 consequences at the beginning or even before, when the kids start             
 talking about running away with their peers.  He feels that many of           
 those kids would never take that first step if they knew with                 
 certainty there would be appropriate and meaningful consequences.             
 He concluded with "let's show our children that we care by revising           
 our laws to set and maintain reasonable boundaries for them."                 
 Number 153                                                                    
 PAUL WORMAN testified from Fairbanks in support of HB 387.  He                
 believes that profit businesses should compete with nonprofit                 
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he thought Mr. Worman was addressing an old               
 version of the bill and pointed out the section relating to for               
 profit or nonprofit organizations had been deleted from the current           
 work draft.  He advised Mr. Worman that a copy of the new version             
 would be faxed to the Fairbanks Legislative Information Office.               
 MR. WORMAN asked if the sections regarding sex offenders were still           
 included in the current work draft?                                           
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE responded that had been deleted from this work draft           
 and the language would go back to where it resides in current                 
 Number 268                                                                    
 PAM WORMAN testified via teleconference from Fairbanks and said she           
 didn't understand what Co-Chair Bunde had said about the portion of           
 the bill that addressed sexual offenders.                                     
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted this current work draft does not address                 
 sexual offenders.  The sexual offender language would remain where            
 it resided in current law.                                                    
 Number 298                                                                    
 CAM CARLSON testified from Fairbanks and thanked Representative               
 Kelly and Senator Steve Frank for this legislation.  She said she             
 had been following the issue of runaways for about 15 years, which            
 is closely entwined with juveniles delinquents.  She said her three           
 children fortunately grew to adults without getting into these                
 problems, but she has experienced them through friends of                     
 neighbors.  She has seen perfectly good families where the                    
 government has gotten involved, destroyed parental authority and              
 created problems that shouldn't exist.  She said she had followed             
 SB 269, CSSB 289 and CSSSHB 387 and had three points to offer:  1)            
 It is essential to keep the family as the point of authority, not             
 the government.  The government is taking children out of families            
 with no real proof that insurmountable problems exist and place the           
 children in situations that are worse; 2) anonymity for juvenile              
 delinquents has to be done away with; it's not working.  The                  
 juvenile needs to know from the very beginning that he/she is going           
 to be held responsible for their actions and no one is going to               
 hide them; and 3) once a child crosses that line, there has to be             
 consequences and they must be severe.                                         
 Number 384                                                                    
 DIANE WORLEY, Director, Division of Family & Youth Services,                  
 Department of Health & Social Services, thanked Representative                
 Kelly and his staff for working so diligently with the department             
 and they feel this draft is much more workable than the original              
 version.  As Representative Kelly stated earlier, what is being               
 done is separating the two codes:  The child in need of aid code              
 and the juvenile delinquent code.  The department supports the                
 effort and will assist with the Governor's Conference on Juvenile             
 Justice as their work related to the juvenile code continues and              
 the eventual rewrite of that code.  She felt this legislation                 
 should provide a clear separation and some ease to that process.              
 She said now that the separation has been done, she hoped the                 
 division would be given the opportunity to go through the bill line           
 by line to ensure the separation had been done in a thoughtful way            
 or language had been left where it shouldn't be.                              
 Number 454                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE offered an anecdotal note that he had recently                 
 attended a town meeting in Anchorage on juvenile justice where                
 there was a bright, articulate, young man about 22 years of age who           
 had just gotten out of jail.  This young man said if there had only           
 been consequences that he believed when he was 14 or 15 years old,            
 it would have saved him four or five years of his life.                       
 Number 508                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG moved to pass CSSSHB 387, Version R, as               
 amended, with individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes            
 out of the House HESS Committee.  Hearing no objection, it was so             

Document Name Date/Time Subjects