Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/22/1993 01:00 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  HB 100 PROSECUTION OF JUVENILE FELONS                                        
  TAPE 93-18, SIDE B                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
  REP. CON BUNDE, PRIME SPONSOR of HB 100, said that his bill                  
  was an attempt to make the state's juvenile criminal justice                 
  system more productive.  He added that many juveniles                        
  considered the juvenile justice system a joke.  He commented                 
  that young people were much more sophisticated today than                    
  they were 20 or 30 years ago.  He said that although the                     
  rights of young people were clearly addressed in law, there                  
  had not been an equal focus on the responsibilities of those                 
  young people.  He noted that he wanted to make young people                  
  very aware of what the boundaries of acceptable behavior                     
  were.  He added that society did a great disservice to youth                 
  by sending them "soft" or "fuzzy" messages about what                        
  behavior was and was not acceptable.                                         
  Number 050                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE stated his belief that society was accidentally                   
  encouraging young people to become career criminals.  He                     
  said that the state needed to intervene early on to                          
  encourage young people to change their behavior.  He cited                   
  the high rate of recidivism in the adult justice system, and                 
  commented that intervention had to begin before people                       
  reached the adult justice system.  He cited a 50+ percent                    
  recidivism rate among juveniles, and said that indicated                     
  that the system was not working and should be changed.  He                   
  said that HB 100 was one such effort, as it would allow                      
  young people to be tried as adults for felonies and other                    
  major crimes.                                                                
  REP. BUNDE commented that HB 100 was an attempt to encourage                 
  fair and equitable treatment of young adults and to                          
  encourage them to become responsible citizens.                               
  REP. DAVIDSON asked how Rep. Bunde had arrived at the age of                 
  16 for the purposes of his bill.  He asked why Rep. Bunde                    
  had not used the age of 10 in his bill.                                      
  REP. BUNDE asked if Rep. Davidson were suggesting an                         
  REP. DAVIDSON said that he was not suggesting an amendment;                  
  rather, he was trying to learn the basis upon which Rep.                     
  Bunde had used the age of 16 in HB 100.                                      
  REP. BUNDE said that he had wanted to use the age of 15 in                   
  his bill.  He noted that in his experience, most 10-year-                    
  olds did not have sufficient judgment to make it appropriate                 
  to try them as adults.  He stated that experts with whom he                  
  had consulted indicated that children aged 14 or 15 would                    
  have a better grasp of right and wrong.                                      
  Number 127                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON asked Rep. Bunde at which "magic age" did a                    
  child acquire judgment.                                                      
  REP. BUNDE responded that many children aged 30 and 40 had                   
  not yet reached that magic age, but that perhaps that was                    
  due to the fact that they had not been encouraged to be                      
  responsible at a young age.                                                  
  Number 140                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON noted that HB 100 was an attempt to deal with                  
  young people after they had committed crimes.  He stated his                 
  belief that an effort should be made to intervene before a                   
  young person committed a crime.                                              
  Number 148                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE commented that if certain behaviors were                          
  punished, they were not apt to be repeated.  Therefore, he                   
  said, if a behavior that someone committed at the age of 15                  
  were punished, that person would probably not repeat that                    
  behavior when she or he was 30.                                              
  Number 160                                                                   
  COMMITTEE, testified via teleconference from Anchorage.  He                  
  cited his community service work with juveniles and the                      
  justice system.  He thanked Rep. Bunde for introducing HB
  100, and said that the Anchorage Chamber Crime Prevention                    
  Committee supported the bill.                                                
  MR. PAGE commented that juvenile law was embodied in Title                   
  47 of the Alaska Statutes.  He said that the basic premise                   
  of Title 47 was that juveniles did not have sufficient                       
  capacity to understand the outcomes of their actions.                        
  Therefore, juveniles could only commit crime-like activity                   
  and not actual crimes, he said.  The only sanction in the                    
  juvenile system was rehabilitation, he added.  There was no                  
  sanction for punishment.                                                     
  MR. PAGE indicated that the nature of juveniles today was                    
  not like the nature of juveniles at the time that Title 47                   
  was written 30 years earlier.  Today, he said, there were                    
  some young people without consciences.  He said that society                 
  needed to focus on the root causes of some of these                          
  problems.  In the meantime, he noted, the state needed to                    
  deal with those young people who were already out there.  He                 
  stated HB 100 was a step in that direction.                                  
  MR. PAGE said that HB 100 would shift the responsibility for                 
  proving amenability to rehabilitation from the state and to                  
  the juvenile.  He cited a court decision two years ago that                  
  held that a juvenile and her or his counsel were not                         
  required to be present, in the waiver proceeding, for the                    
  findings of any psychological evaluations.  Mr. Page noted                   
  that, without psychological findings, trying to prove that                   
  the minor was not amenable to treatment was tantamount to                    
  trying to fly.                                                               
  MR. PAGE commented that it was high time to make some                        
  changes to Title 47.  He said that HB 100 was a                              
  demonstration of society's compassion for children and the                   
  hope that they could live decent adult lives.  He indicated                  
  his committee's 100 percent support for HB 100.                              
  Number 262                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON asked Mr. Page if, in light of his strong                      
  preference for HB 100, he also had a strong preference for                   
  coming up with the public resources to ensure implementation                 
  of the bill's provisions.                                                    
  Number 272                                                                   
  MR. PAGE noted that instead of talking about inefficiencies                  
  in the system, people talked about perhaps not being so                      
  tough on crime because of its high cost.  He said that                       
  waiver proceedings, whether the burden of proof was on the                   
  juvenile or on the state, would cost a similar amount of                     
  money.  In that light, he said that he did not expect HB 100                 
  to result in an increased cost.                                              
  Number 286                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON asked Mr. Page to clarify his reasoning as to                  
  why HB 100 would not result in a significant cost increase                   
  to the state.                                                                
  Number 290                                                                   
  MR. PAGE said that the waiver of juvenile offenders would                    
  continue to occur, whether or not HB 100 passed.  He said                    
  that HB 100 would simply change some of the parameters of                    
  those waiver hearings.                                                       
  Number 298                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON asked Mr. Page if he would, if necessary,                      
  support the need for increased public resources to implement                 
  HB 100.                                                                      
  MR. PAGE indicated that he would support the need for                        
  increased public resources, if necessary.                                    
  REP. JAMES left the meeting.                                                 
  Number 320                                                                   
  JANET LOWN, a POLICE INVESTIGATOR from Juneau, spoke to the                  
  committee about HB 100.  She said that she supported HB 100,                 
  but thought that it should be amended to waive to adult                      
  court juveniles charged with first offenses of unclassified                  
  and class A felonies.                                                        
  REP. NORDLUND noted that there was already a procedure in                    
  statute for waiving juveniles into adult court.  He said                     
  that the discussion he had heard thus far assumed that no                    
  such procedure was currently in place.                                       
  Number 348                                                                   
  MS. LOWN commented that it was her understanding that in                     
  Juneau it was currently difficult to use that procedure to                   
  waive a child into adult court without showing extreme prior                 
  offenses.  She expressed her belief that the waivers should                  
  be automatic.                                                                
  Number 353                                                                   
  REP. KOTT asked Ms. Lown if she had any statistics that                      
  would support her statement about it being very difficult to                 
  waive children into adult court.                                             
  Number 357                                                                   
  MS. LOWN responded that all juvenile court proceedings were                  
  confidential.  At age 18, she said, a young person was                       
  considered to have committed no prior crimes.  Except in the                 
  case of severe crimes, she noted, juvenile records were                      
  sealed.  In the case of sex crimes, she said, an 18-year-old                 
  could go to work in a day care center without her or his                     
  employer being able to check court records.                                  
  Number 380                                                                   
  REP. KOTT asked Ms. Lown to indicate what approximate                        
  percentage of waivers were actually granted.                                 
  Number 384                                                                   
  MS. LOWN said that in Juneau very few juvenile cases were                    
  waived into adult court.                                                     
  Number 391                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON asked Ms. Lown what was missing from juvenile                  
  offenders' backgrounds that made them not understand what                    
  was right and what was wrong.                                                
  Number 397                                                                   
  MS. LOWN replied that juvenile offenders did know the                        
  difference between right and wrong.  She commented that she                  
  could not guess at the dysfunctional backgrounds of these                    
  offenders, but said prevention was preferable to                             
  intervention.  She added that there was not currently an                     
  effective prevention program in place.                                       
  Number 406                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON asked if children who had been tried as adults                 
  experienced a change in attitude regarding the crime they                    
  had committed.                                                               
  Number 410                                                                   
  MS. LOWN said that some children's attitudes toward their                    
  behavior changed when they were held accountable for that                    
  behavior.  Without that accountability, she noted, there was                 
  often no change in behavior.                                                 
  CHAIRMAN PORTER asked if a child's knowledge that he or she                  
  would be treated as an adult upon committing a crime would                   
  serve as a deterrent.                                                        
  Number 422                                                                   
  MS. LOWN replied that she believed that this knowledge would                 
  serve as a deterrent.                                                        
  Number 426                                                                   
  REP. KOTT asked Ms. Lown if, as a rule, juvenile offenders                   
  came from dysfunctional families.                                            
  MS. LOWN said that an argument could be made that everyone                   
  who ever committed a crime had some dysfunction in his or                    
  her background.  She asked Rep. Kott what he meant by the                    
  term "dysfunctional family."                                                 
  REP. JAMES returned.                                                         
  MS. LOWN expressed her belief that the number of parents in                  
  a household was not terribly significant.  She said that                     
  years could be spent arguing about what factors caused                       
  juveniles to commit crimes.  However, she noted, now was the                 
  time to create an effective deterrent.                                       
  Number 458                                                                   
  said that prior to today's meeting, she had spoken with many                 
  school and social services officials.  She noted that she                    
  and the others were unanimous in their belief that kids                      
  should start out in the criminal justice system as adults.                   
  She said that she viewed HB 100 as a prevention tool.  She                   
  commented that kids knew how the system worked, and the                      
  situation now in place was not effectively addressing the                    
  problem of juvenile crime.                                                   
  MS. WELTZIN noted that children matured at different rates.                  
  She said that she had spoken with school children before the                 
  meeting and their response had been that children capable of                 
  committing crimes should face the consequences.                              
  MS. WELTZIN stated that, in her opinion, waivers should be                   
  neither easy nor automatic.  She said that she was afraid of                 
  slamming the door on certain children who did not belong in                  
  the adult justice system.  However, she advocated putting                    
  them there in the first place and putting the burden on them                 
  to prove their way out of the adult system.  Ms. Weltzin                     
  added that she thought that the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance                  
  Education) program was a wonderful prevention program.                       
  Number 524                                                                   
  REP. JAMES noted that since the time when she was a child,                   
  societal changes had caused children to have different                       
  attitudes.  One change was that society had made children                    
  responsible by giving them rights, she said.  She asked Ms.                  
  Weltzin if she had seen any evidence of children feeling                     
  that they had rights but no responsibilities.                                
  Number 536                                                                   
  MS. WELTZIN indicated her agreement with Rep. James.  She                    
  noted that when society imposed certain age limitations on                   
  behavior, kids often initiated that behavior some time                       
  before those limitations.  For example, she said that when                   
  the drinking age was 18, children would begin to use alcohol                 
  close to that age.  However, she said, when the drinking age                 
  was 21, children began to drink closer to the age of 21.                     
  She expressed her opinion that society needed to give                        
  children limits against which to "bump."  She mentioned that                 
  all families experienced periods of function and                             
  Number 553                                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS mentioned her appreciation for Ms. Weltzin's                   
  consultation with children and those who worked with                         
  children.  She asked Ms. Weltzin if any punishment served as                 
  a true deterrent.                                                            
  Number 562                                                                   
  MS. WELTZIN responded that kids needed to be taught to                       
  respect society.                                                             
  Number 565                                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS asked how that could be accomplished, other                    
  than through fear.                                                           
  Number 566                                                                   
  MS. WELTZIN replied that lowering age limits for certain                     
  behavior was a significant step in the right direction.                      
  Number 574                                                                   
  REP. NORDLUND stated that he agreed with Ms. Weltzin's                       
  contention that children matured at different rates.                         
  However, he noted that HB 100 would require automatic                        
  waivers, taking away a judge's ability to view each child                    
  differently.  He commented that it almost sounded as if Ms.                  
  Weltzin were testifying against HB 100 and automatic                         
  Number 588                                                                   
  MS. WELTZIN responded that she believed that children should                 
  be initially brought into the adult justice system, but                      
  given an opportunity to prove their way back to the juvenile                 
  justice system.                                                              
  Number 599                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON sought to clarify Ms. Weltzin's comments.  He                  
  asked her what criteria ought to be used to determine                        
  whether a child should be transferred back into the juvenile                 
  justice system.                                                              
  Number 608                                                                   
  MS. WELTZIN commented that the child should undergo a                        
  screening process.                                                           
  Number 615                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON asked Ms. Weltzin if there were family and                     
  environmental characteristics common to juvenile offenders.                  
  MS. WELTZIN stated that it sounded as if Rep. Davidson was                   
  referring to "tough love" -- giving children boundaries as                   
  an expression of love.  She said that children wanted and                    
  needed confrontation, boundaries, and guidelines from their                  
  parents.  She noted that to some degree, adults had                          
  abdicated that responsibility.  She noted that many times a                  
  child's bad behavior was not her or his "fault."  However,                   
  she said that holding the children blameless would not                       
  improve the situation.                                                       
  MS. WELTZIN said that there were identifiable risks for                      
  children, including alienation from family and society.                      
  Number 671                                                                   
  REP. JAMES stated that Ms. Weltzin had supported her theory                  
  that "normal" was "dysfunctional."  She commented that life                  
  was tough and people needed to learn how to cope with                        
  difficult situations.  She asked if there had been a change                  
  in attitudes toward counseling over the last 20 years.                       
  Number 686                                                                   
  MS. WELTZIN replied that, in her opinion, there had been a                   
  change in the attitude toward counseling.  She said that she                 
  would tell a child that she or he could either use bad                       
  situations as an excuse or get on with their lives.                          
  Number 691                                                                   
  REP. KOTT asked Ms. Weltzin if a juvenile convicted in adult                 
  court could later be rehabilitated.                                          
  Number 700                                                                   
  MS. WELTZIN replied that there were opportunities for                        
  rehabilitation in that situation, but leverage was                           
  Number 707                                                                   
  REP. KOTT asked if a juvenile serving a sentence in an adult                 
  prison could be rehabilitated.                                               
  Number 712                                                                   
  MS. WELTZIN said that a juvenile in that situation could be                  
  rehabilitated, in her opinion.                                               
  TAPE 93-19, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON noted the burden on schools to provide                         
  children with values.  He mentioned that Captain Kangaroo                    
  had said that our society faced a generation of "moral                       
  illiterates."  He asked Ms. Weltzin to comment on those                      
  Number 046                                                                   
  MS. WELTZIN responded by saying that things were cyclical,                   
  and she found hope in that.                                                  
  Number 058                                                                   
  SERVICES (DHSS), offered to answer any questions that                        
  committee members might have.                                                
  Number 072                                                                   
  REP. NORDLUND noted that HB 100 was presumably an attempt to                 
  incarcerate more children who needed to be treated more                      
  harshly than they were currently treated.  Yet the DHSS                      
  fiscal note showed no impact, he said.  He asked Mr. Hines                   
  to explain.                                                                  
  Number 084                                                                   
  MR. HINES replied that children tried and convicted in adult                 
  court, under the provisions of HB 100, would be housed by                    
  the Department of Corrections (DOC), therefore not impacting                 
  his department.                                                              
  Number 094                                                                   
  REP. NORDLUND asked if children were required to be housed                   
  separately from adult offenders.                                             
  Number 100                                                                   
  MR. HINES commented that currently, when children were                       
  waived into the adult system, they were moved from DHSS                      
  youth facilities to DOC adult facilities.  He said that he                   
  would defer to DOC officials on the question of segregating                  
  children and adults.  He said he assumed that children                       
  affected by HB 100 would be housed as adults, given their                    
  waivers into the adult system.                                               
  Number 133                                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS noted that the DOC had submitted a zero fiscal                 
  note and expressed her hope that the department would                        
  explain that later.                                                          
  Number 142                                                                   
  MR. HINES noted that he was unsure where juveniles under                     
  HB 100's provisions would be housed.  He said that he had                    
  assumed that DOC would house them.  He stated that he would                  
  have to create a new fiscal note if the juveniles would be                   
  housed by the DHSS.  He noted that, in general, the younger                  
  an offender was, the better the juvenile's chances for                       
  rehabilitation.  He commented that fifteen-year-olds had                     
  better opportunities for rehabilitation in a juvenile system                 
  than in an adult system.  He expressed his concern that the                  
  age of fifteen was on the "low end" and current law allowed                  
  children of that age to be waived into adult court if they                   
  had committed serious offenses.  He noted his concern over                   
  automatically waiving children of that age into adult court.                 
  Number 192                                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS asked if DHSS had analyzed the policy                          
  implications of HB 100.                                                      
  Number 196                                                                   
  MR. HINES replied that such an analysis was currently being                  
  CHAIRMAN PORTER asked Mr. Hines to outline the juvenile                      
  justice process as it now existed.                                           
  Number 215                                                                   
  MR. HINES remarked that if a child were referred to DHSS on                  
  a charge of murder, the case would be screened to determine                  
  whether or not a chargeable offense had occurred.  If it was                 
  determined that the child was going to stay in the juvenile                  
  system, then the child would be adjudicated and institution-                 
  alized for a period of up to two years, or until the child's                 
  19th birthday, whichever occurred first.  He noted that the                  
  department could petition the court to incarcerate a child                   
  for longer than two years in certain cases.                                  
  Number 245                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER asked Mr. Hines if a child who was not                       
  waived into the adult system, and who had committed murder,                  
  would be released from custody at the age of 20, at the                      
  MR. HINES said that the Chairman was correct.                                
  Number 255                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON asked Mr. Hines how many youth, currently in                   
  the custody of the department, would be affected by HB 100.                  
  Number 262                                                                   
  MR. HINES replied that he did not have any detailed numbers                  
  to provide to Rep. Davidson.                                                 
  Number 268                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON asked about the relative costs of housing                      
  juveniles in the juvenile system and the adult system.                       
  Number 273                                                                   
  MR. HINES said he was unaware of the relative costs of                       
  incarceration under each system.  However, he noted that an                  
  overall differentiation was made in terms of the length of                   
  incarceration.  A juvenile who had committed a serious crime                 
  and was adjudicated in the juvenile system would only be                     
  incarcerated until his or her twentieth birthday.  A                         
  juvenile who had committed a serious crime and was convicted                 
  in the adult system would face a much longer period of                       
  incarceration, thus increasing the cost to the state.                        
  Number 286                                                                   
  SHERRIE GOLL, representing the ALASKA WOMEN'S LOBBY, spoke                   
  in favor of judicial discretion, as was provided for under                   
  current law.  She said she was aware of the popularity of                    
  the idea of "automatic waivers."  She commented that                         
  judicial discretion had worked in the past and it was                        
  important to continue using the existing system.                             
  Number 300                                                                   
  MS. GOLL mentioned a recent Supreme Court case that had                      
  prompted introduction of HB 100.  That case held that a                      
  psychiatric evaluation could not be performed if a child did                 
  not agree to it.  Therefore, she said, it was thought that                   
  automatic waivers were necessary to shift the burden of                      
  proof from the court to the juvenile.                                        
  MS. GOLL noted that in reading through the court case, she                   
  found that the court indicated that the testimony of experts                 
  was not a necessary condition of waivers.  She said the                      
  court held that the state did not need to present any                        
  psychiatric evidence to support its assertion that a child                   
  was not amenable to treatment.                                               
  MS. GOLL stated that the court found that the lack of                        
  psychiatric evidence, in some situations, made the state's                   
  burden of proof more difficult to meet.  But, the court                      
  held, the state's interest in lightening its burden was not                  
  justification for subverting the established burden of                       
  proof.  She said that HB 100 completely subverted the burden                 
  of proof by placing the burden on the juvenile.                              
  MS. GOLL noted that the Supreme Court had consistently                       
  upheld lower court orders waiving juveniles to the adult                     
  system, in cases of murder involving extreme and unprovoked                  
  violence.  She said that the committee should look into                      
  actual cases in which waivers were requested by the state                    
  and denied.  She noted that in 1989, there were fourteen                     
  petitions for waivers, and all were granted.                                 
  MS. GOLL expressed her opinion that judges should decide on                  
  waivers on a case-by-case basis.  She cited a Juneau case in                 
  which a young girl murdered her parents who had severely                     
  abused her for years.  The girl was not waived into adult                    
  court due to the circumstances of her case.  She noted that                  
  usually, in the case of murder, children were waived into                    
  adult court.                                                                 
  MS. GOLL stated that putting juveniles into the adult system                 
  increased the likelihood that they would become hardened                     
  criminals.  She said that when juveniles were housed in                      
  adult facilities, their suicide rates increased by four to                   
  six times.                                                                   
  Number 407                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON commented that juveniles incarcerated in adult                 
  facilities were going from the "high school" of criminal                     
  knowledge to "graduate school," where they learned more                      
  sophisticated criminal techniques.                                           
  REP. PHILLIPS asked Ms. Goll to reiterate her suicide                        
  MS. GOLL repeated the statistics and said that they had come                 
  from a U.S. Department of Justice publication.                               
  REP. PHILLIPS asked Ms. Goll if she had looked at the                        
  statistics for twenty and twenty-one-year-olds.                              
  MS. GOLL said that the information Rep. Phillips was asking                  
  for was not included in the publication.                                     
  Number 432                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER asked if Ms. Goll's statistics pertained to                  
  juveniles in general, or just those juveniles incarcerated                   
  in adult facilities.                                                         
  MS. GOLL said that the statistics were for juveniles in                      
  adult facilities.  She noted that in listening to testimony                  
  on HB 100 and its companion, SB 54, the issue of housing had                 
  never been adequately addressed.  She expressed her hope                     
  that the Judiciary Committee would decide where the                          
  juveniles affected by HB 100 would be housed and obtain the                  
  appropriate fiscal notes.                                                    
  Number 444                                                                   
  REP. JAMES asked Ms. Goll to address the deterrent effect of                 
  HB 100.                                                                      
  Number 472                                                                   
  MS. GOLL responded by saying that it seemed that some young                  
  people did not think about the consequences of their actions                 
  before committing a crime.  She said that she did not                        
  necessarily believe that a change in law would influence                     
  those juveniles who could not tell right from wrong to begin                 
  Number 505                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER asked Ms. Goll whether mitigating                            
  circumstances that might prevent a child being placed in the                 
  adult system would also play a role in the child's defense,                  
  if the child were indeed placed in the adult system.                         
  Number 512                                                                   
  MS. GOLL said that even if that happened, the child would                    
  still be incarcerated in adult facilities.                                   
  Number 526                                                                   
  (LWV), indicated that that organization had no position on                   
  HB 100.  However, she said that she wanted to testify on her                 
  own behalf as the mother of a 21-year-old son.  She wondered                 
  aloud what was wrong with the system now in place.  She said                 
  that she had yet to hear someone say that the current system                 
  was not working.  If it was not working, she said, what                      
  specifically needed to be fixed?                                             
  MS. ROBINSON expressed her support for continued judicial                    
  discretion.  She expressed fear that children who had been                   
  sexually abused, were not treated, and went on to commit sex                 
  crimes, would be automatically waived into the adult system.                 
  She cited the need for prevention programs for these                         
  Number 560                                                                   
  MS. ROBINSON mentioned that in the case of murder, automatic                 
  waivers might be appropriate.  She cited the confusing                       
  messages that society gave young people by imposing                          
  different ages of majority on them.  She noted her concern                   
  over where juveniles impacted by HB 100 would be housed.                     
  She indicated her understanding that there needed to be                      
  "sight and sound separation" of juveniles and adults                         
  incarcerated in the same facility.                                           
  Number 611                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER commented that what was wrong with the                       
  current system was that many more juveniles were committing                  
  many more serious violent felonies.                                          
  MS. ROBINSON suggested reopening the state's Office of                       
  Prevention, re-funding the Foster Care Review Board, and                     
  implementing more prevention and intervention programs.                      
  Number 634                                                                   
  REP. NORDLUND underscored Ms. Robinson's testimony.  He said                 
  he understood that there was an increase in the number and                   
  severity of juvenile crimes.  However, he believed that the                  
  current waiver system worked.                                                
  Number 644                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE said that his main thrust in introducing HB 100                   
  was not to punish, but to deter.  He expressed concern about                 
  juveniles who were manipulated into committing crimes by                     
  adults who told them that they would be treated gently.  He                  
  said that HB 100 would give juveniles a tool for saying no                   
  to those adults.                                                             
  REP. BUNDE mentioned that the DOC felt that the number of                    
  individuals impacted by HB 100 would be inconsequential,                     
  which was why they submitted a zero fiscal note.  He noted                   
  that HB 100 would probably only result in two, three, or                     
  four additional juveniles being housed in the adult system                   
  each year.                                                                   
  Number 660                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE said that it was the DOC's policy to house                        
  youthful offenders out of the sight and sound of adult                       
  offenders.  He said that some people had expressed concern                   
  that HB 100 provided that juveniles would, at the time of                    
  arrest, be housed in adult facilities, but would be housed                   
  in juvenile facilities if they were later transferred back                   
  to the juvenile court system.  He said that some people felt                 
  that these juveniles would then "contaminate" other youths                   
  in the juvenile facilities.  He said that he feared the                      
  reverse:  that juveniles who had committed heinous crimes                    
  were already in the juvenile system "contaminating" the                      
  other, less violent youths.                                                  
  REP. BUNDE noted that the pendulum was currently swinging                    
  away from criminals' rights and towards victims' rights.                     
  REP. NORDLUND called attention to charts provided by the                     
  sponsor.  He said the charts did not indicate which of the                   
  juveniles had been waived to adult court.                                    
  Number 719                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE responded that he did not have that information.                  
  However, he noted that in previous years, most juveniles                     
  were not waived into adult court.  He said that some people                  
  had speculated that when young people knew that they faced                   
  the potential of adult punishment, their behavior in the                     
  juvenile justice system would change.                                        
  Number 740                                                                   
  REP. NORDLUND said there were probably very good reasons why                 
  certain waivers were not granted.                                            
  REP. KOTT asked Rep. Bunde to go over his statistics again.                  
  REP. BUNDE cited statistics on requests for waivers and how                  
  many of those requests were granted.                                         
  REP. PHILLIPS noted her concern over the DOC's zero fiscal                   
  Number 790                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE commented that not all juveniles waived to adult                  
  court were convicted; therefore, not all waivers resulted in                 
  a housing cost for the DOC, he said.                                         
  Number 799                                                                   
  REP. NORDLUND indicated that at $100 per day, the DOC fiscal                 
  note did not compute with HB 100's intent of incarcerating                   
  more juveniles.                                                              
  Number 817                                                                   
  REP. JAMES expressed her belief that if the legislature                      
  found a good idea, then they needed to find a way to fund                    
  TAPE 93-19, SIDE B                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE responded that juveniles would either be housed                   
  by the DOC or DHSS, so the state would pay either way.                       
  Number 009                                                                   
  REP. JAMES noted that if HB 100 served as a deterrent, it                    
  ought to result in a cost savings.                                           
  Number 015                                                                   
  REP. KOTT expressed skepticism that HB 100 would serve as a                  
  deterrent.  He expressed concern that the legislature was                    
  allowing DOC the freedom to choose whether or not to                         
  segregate juveniles and adults.  He noted that crowding in                   
  prisons could erode that policy, resulting in reduced                        
  rehabilitation of youthful offenders.                                        
  Number 048                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE said that some sixteen-year-old criminals were                    
  the victims of adult criminals, and other sixteen-year-olds                  
  were victimizing younger kids.  He said that someone would                   
  end up being the victim, whether severe juvenile offenders                   
  were housed with other juveniles or with adults.  He said                    
  his sympathies lay with 14-year-olds in the system for minor                 
  offenses, instead of with hardened 16-year-old criminals.                    
  Number 084                                                                   
  REP. NORDLUND mentioned that the state received federal                      
  funds which were linked to the state's ability to separate                   
  youthful offenders from adult offenders.  He said if HB 100                  
  resulted in housing youths with adults, the state could                      
  stand to lose some federal money.                                            
  REP. BUNDE said that it was not his intent that youths and                   
  adults be housed together.                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS cited Alaska Statute 47.10.130, which required                 
  that children under the age of 18, who were being held                       
  pending a hearing, could not be housed so that they could                    
  communicate with or view adult prisoners.                                    
  Number 128                                                                   
  noted that juveniles who had been waived into the adult                      
  system, or those who had been charged with an adult driving                  
  offense, would not be covered by the statute cited by Rep.                   
  MR. GUANELI mentioned a recent case involving a 17-year-old                  
  who had committed murder.  He noted that the boy was housed                  
  in a juvenile facility, but he had been disruptive.  The boy                 
  agreed to go into adult court as part of a plea negotiation,                 
  but there was no formal waiver procedure, he said.  As soon                  
  as the agreement was made, he noted, the boy was sent to an                  
  adult facility.                                                              
  Number 135                                                                   
  MR. GUANELI said that in his opinion, juveniles waived into                  
  adult court would be housed by the DOC.  He said that by                     
  increasing the number of children waived into adult court,                   
  there would be a fiscal impact on the DOC.                                   
  MR. GUANELI said that the legislature had drawn a general                    
  line at the age of 18, between treating people as juveniles                  
  and adults.  There were some exceptions to that rule,                        
  however, he noted.  He said that HB 100 and SB 54 were                       
  similar bills, but took somewhat different approaches to the                 
  juvenile waiver process.  He mentioned that the Governor                     
  intended to introduce another similar bill, which will take                  
  a still different approach.                                                  
  Number 145                                                                   
  MR. GUANELI noted that both procedural and substantive                       
  issues were involved.  He said that the administration                       
  preferred to use the simplest procedure possible by                          
  redrawing the line at age 16 for certain offenses.  The                      
  substantive question was for which offenses would that new                   
  line apply.  He said that the administration preferred to                    
  apply that new line only to murder and attempted murder                      
  MR. GUANELI noted that he did not know of a case in which                    
  the state had not been successful in waiving a juvenile                      
  charged with murder into the adult system.  He said it was                   
  felt that the age should be lowered to 16 for murder and                     
  attempted murder offenses, so as to eliminate the long,                      
  cumbersome process of petitioning for waivers.                               
  MR. GUANELI commented that HB 100 took a slightly different                  
  approach from that of the Governor's bill, in that a youth                   
  would be charged as an adult for certain offenses and the                    
  defense would challenge that charge by petitioning for a                     
  reverse waiver.  He said that the process in SB 54 would be                  
  an automatic waiver applied to murder as well as other                       
  unclassified and class A felony offenses.                                    
  MR. GUANELI expressed his opinion that some class A                          
  felonies, including arson and date rape, could be                            
  legitimately dealt with in the juvenile system.  He                          
  recommended that the committee go through a list of offenses                 
  one by one to determine which they felt could be adequately                  
  treated in the juvenile system and which could be better                     
  addressed in the adult system.                                               
  REP. PHILLIPS asked Mr. Guaneli if the Department of Law                     
  (DOL) supported HB 100.                                                      
  Number 374                                                                   
  MR. GUANELI responded that the DOL preferred a different                     
  approach, but supported juvenile waiver legislation in                       
  general.  He said if HB 100 passed, he would probably not                    
  recommend that the Governor veto it.                                         
  REP. PHILLIPS asked if HB 100 would conflict with the                        
  overall scope of Title 47.                                                   
  Number 385                                                                   
  MR. GUANELI replied that he did not believe that there would                 
  be a conflict, as HB 100 actually amended Title 47.                          
  CHAIRMAN PORTER commented that there were three basic                        
  versions of the juvenile waiver legislation.  One was a                      
  committee substitute which reflected the original SB 54.  He                 
  noted that the bill said that 16- and 17-year-olds would be                  
  automatically waived into adult court for unclassified and                   
  class A felonies.  Rep. Bunde's bill held that 15-, 16- and                  
  17-year-olds charged with unclassified and class A felonies                  
  would be automatically waived into adult court, with the                     
  ability of the defendant to petition her or his way back                     
  into juvenile court, he said.  The third bill was due to be                  
  introduced by the Governor and would address automatic                       
  waivers for 16- and 17-year-olds accused of first-degree                     
  murder.  That bill would not provide for the automatic                       
  ability of defendants to petition to overcome that                           
  Number 431                                                                   
  DHSS, said that additional analysis of the impacts of HB 100                 
  would be available the following morning.  He said that his                  
  department wholeheartedly supported waivers for first-degree                 
  murder, first-degree attempted murder, and second-degree                     
  murder.  He said that opinions began to diverge quickly when                 
  crimes other than murder offenses were mentioned.                            
  Number 450                                                                   
  MR. LINDSTROM expressed his support for SB 25, which related                 
  to sight and sound separation of juveniles from adult                        
  offenders.  He said that due to the State of Alaska's lack                   
  of compliance with federal sight and sound separation                        
  requirements, federal dollars could be lost.                                 
  Number 491                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER asked if the sight and sound separation rule                 
  pertained to juveniles who had been adjudicated in the                       
  juvenile system, as opposed to juveniles who had been waived                 
  into the adult system.                                                       
  MR. LINDSTROM indicated that the Chairman was correct.                       
  CHAIRMAN PORTER asked Mr. Lindstrom to provide the                           
  aforementioned analysis to the committee as soon as                          
  possible.  He said that HB 100 would be back before the                      
  committee on the following Friday.                                           
  Number 521                                                                   
  REP. NORDLUND asked that a DOC representative address the                    
  committee on Friday to explain their fiscal note.                            
  CHAIRMAN PORTER adjourned the meeting at 3:50 p.m.                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects