Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/08/1993 01:00 PM House JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  HB 181 - APPEALS IN CRIMINAL CASES                                           
  CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that HB 181 was the next item of                      
  business before the committee.                                               
  Number 020                                                                   
  MARGOT KNUTH, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, stated that HB 181                 
  would allow the state the same right to appeal from adverse                  
  decisions in criminal cases that the federal government had.                 
  She said that this right would stop at the point of double                   
  jeopardy.  She noted that if a criminal defendant was                        
  acquitted, that was the end of the case.                                     
  Number 030                                                                   
  MS. KNUTH said, currently, the state was allowed to obtain                   
  review from the Court of Appeals on adverse evidentiary                      
  rulings by filing a "petition for review."  She noted that                   
  80 to 90 percent of those petitions were granted.  She said                  
  the current procedure was two-fold and inefficient.  She                     
  commented that HB 181 would allow the state to "appeal"                      
  those evidentiary rulings.  She noted that only about twelve                 
  petitions for review were filed statewide per year.                          
  MS. KNUTH said the state wanted to be able to use the same                   
  procedure that defendants used when they were on the losing                  
  end of similar rulings.  She noted that  HB 181 was more of                  
  a cost-saving measure than a substantial change in policy                    
  for the state.                                                               
  Number 107                                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS asked if other states had laws similar to                      
  HB 181.                                                                      
  Number 111                                                                   
  MS. KNUTH replied that she had not researched the laws of                    
  other states, but some states probably have laws which                       
  restricted the state's right to appeal beyond the                            
  requirements of the federal constitution.                                    
  Number 121                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON asked Ms. Knuth if she had said that HB 181                    
  would only impact about twelve cases per year.                               
  Number 125                                                                   
  MS. KNUTH indicated that Rep. Davidson was correct.  She                     
  said the workload of those twelve cases constituted half of                  
  one appellate attorney's workload in a year.                                 
  Number 145                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON commented that it seemed as if HB 181 was                      
  allowing the state the same opportunities that an individual                 
  defendant had.  He said he liked the idea of giving an                       
  individual some advantage over the resources of the state.                   
  Number 161                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that HB 181 did not change the burden                  
  of proof, nor any of the other "heavy-duty" requirements                     
  that the state had in a criminal case.  He commented that HB
  181 would give the state the same privilege that defendants                  
  have.  He stated that defendants have 30 days from the date                  
  of a decision in which to file an appeal.  However, under                    
  existing law, the state only has ten days.  Additionally, he                 
  said, the state has several other hoops to jump through.                     
  Number 161                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON asked if it was possible for the state to                      
  receive an extension of the ten-day limit.                                   
  Number 195                                                                   
  MS. KNUTH responded that a defendant's appeal could be                       
  accomplished with one sheet of paper which stated an                         
  individual's intention to broach certain issues.  However,                   
  she said, the state's petition for review required an entire                 
  analysis of the issues.                                                      
  MS. KNUTH noted that either side could file a petition for                   
  review in the middle of a criminal trial.  But, she said,                    
  HB 181 would not affect those mid-trial petitions.  She                      
  noted that the bill would affect evidentiary rulings which                   
  resulted in the dismissal of a case.                                         
  MS. KNUTH said HB 181 would change the amount of energy                      
  required to get certain issues addressed by the appellate                    
  Number 255                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON said he was not convinced that hurried justice                 
  was fair justice.  He said he was not certain that HB 181                    
  was necessary.                                                               
  Number 266                                                                   
  REP. NORDLUND asked Ms. Knuth to comment on the twelve                       
  rulings regarding which petitions for review were filed in                   
  MS. KNUTH replied that ten petitions for review were filed,                  
  eight of which were granted, and two of which were denied.                   
  Two of the rulings were not petitioned.                                      
  Number 286                                                                   
  REP. NORDLUND asked why HB 181 did not result in a fiscal                    
  impact to the state.                                                         
  MS. KNUTH explained that the person who prepared the fiscal                  
  note probably addressed the issue of whether or not the bill                 
  would result in more appeals.  Because it would not result                   
  in more appeals, the preparer of the fiscal note probably                    
  assumed that it would not have a fiscal impact, she said.                    
  She stated that the fiscal note did not take into                            
  consideration the increased efficiency HB 181 would provide.                 
  Number 324                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER called the members' attention to a                           
  memorandum in their packets from CYNTHIA HORA of the                         
  DEPARTMENT OF LAW.  He said the memorandum indicated that HB
  181 would result in a smoother, more timely process for                      
  petitioning.  He said he was under the impression that the                   
  Department of Law sometimes did not file petitions, simply                   
  due to a lack of time.  However, with HB 181, time would be                  
  saved, and therefore more cases could be appealed.  That                     
  circumstance would probably result in a change in the type                   
  of work to be performed, but with a zero fiscal impact to                    
  the state.                                                                   
  Number 345                                                                   
  MS. HORETSKI commented that HB 181 was identical to the                      
  previous year's HB 303, which unanimously passed the House                   
  before dying in the Senate Rules Committee.  She noted that                  
  up until a 1983 Alaska Supreme Court decision, the language                  
  of Alaska's law was interpreted to be the same as federal                    
  law on that issue.  Now, Alaska's law was interpreted to be                  
  more narrow.                                                                 
  Number 373                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON asked Ms. Knuth how a decision was made                        
  regarding whether or not an appeal violated double jeopardy                  
  Number 379                                                                   
  MS. KNUTH responded that judges made that decision through                   
  the adversarial process.                                                     
  Number 404                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that varying states said that double                  
  jeopardy attached at varying points.  He noted that HB 181                   
  would only apply to those motions that occurred prior to a                   
  trial or dismissal.                                                          
  Number 418                                                                   
  MS. KNUTH gave an example of a man who had been stopped for                  
  a traffic violation and threw bags of cocaine out the window                 
  of his car.  In that case, she said, the judge suppressed                    
  the evidence because he ruled that the traffic stop was                      
  illegal.  The state wanted to appeal that ruling, she noted,                 
  because without that evidence the state had no case against                  
  the man.  She said that a petition for review was now the                    
  state's way of asking the court to review its ruling.  If HB
  181 were to be enacted, she said, the state could file an                    
  appeal on the dismissal of the case that followed that                       
  Number 448                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON commented that Ms. Knuth's example showed a                    
  clear need for HB 181.  He asked her to provide an example                   
  in which the need was less clear, in which an individual                     
  lost a certain advantage over the state.                                     
  Number 455                                                                   
  MS. KNUTH cited an example of a presumptive sentencing                       
  situation in which it was questioned whether a defendant's                   
  prior convictions should be taken into account.  If the                      
  court ruled that the prior convictions should not be                         
  considered, the defendant would not receive a presumptive                    
  sentence.  A petition for review by the state might or might                 
  not be granted, she said.  If, however, the state had the                    
  right to appeal a ruling, the state would definitely be able                 
  to address that issue with the Court of Appeals.                             
  Number 482                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that HB 181 did not tamper with the                    
  state's requirement to prove its case beyond a reasonable                    
  doubt.  He said he saw the bill as a means to save the state                 
  Number 495                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON commented that the committee had only heard                    
  one side of the issue.  He said he would like to hear from                   
  the Public Defender Agency and criminal attorneys.                           
  Number 504                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that the Public Defender Agency and                    
  the Office of Public Advocacy had been notified that HB 181                  
  was before the committee and had elected not to testify.                     
  Number 511                                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS made a motion to pass HB 181 out of committee                  
  with individual recommendations and a zero fiscal note.                      
  REP. DAVIDSON objected.                                                      
  CHAIRMAN PORTER called for a roll call vote.                                 
  Representatives Phillips, Green, Kott, Nordlund, James, and                  
  Porter voted "yea."  Representative Davidson voted "nay."                    
  And so, the motion carried.                                                  
  CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that the committee would reschedule                    
  HB 62 and HB 147 as soon as possible.                                        
  Number 532                                                                   
  REP. JAMES asked if the Legislative Affairs Legal Services                   
  Division had reviewed HB 147 for compliance with federal                     
  civil rights laws.                                                           
  Number 537                                                                   
  MS. HORETSKI responded that she was unaware of any legal                     
  analysis of HB 147.                                                          
  Number 540                                                                   
  REP. JAMES requested that a legal analysis be performed.                     
  CHAIRMAN PORTER adjourned the meeting at 3:01 p.m.                           

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