Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/17/1993 01:00 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  HB 86:  SANCTIONS FOR PROPERTY-RELATED OFFENSES                              
  TAPE 93-36, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 032                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER called the meeting back to order.  He stated                 
  that HB 86 was now before the committee.                                     
  Number 042                                                                   
  SANDY PEVAN testified in support of HB 86.  She mentioned                    
  that there was a problem in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley                     
  regarding homeless youths and runaways who committed crimes.                 
  She indicated that HB 86 would help to alleviate that                        
  Number 075                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE, PRIME SPONSOR of HB 86, stated                     
  that the intent behind the bill was to deter juvenile                        
  mischief, which would result from forfeiture of vehicles                     
  used in the commission of a crime, and the publishing of an                  
  offender's name, photograph, and crime.  Additionally,                       
  offenders could be required to pay restitution.  He was open                 
  to suggestions on other types of deterrents.                                 
  Number 129                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE NORDLUND asked Representative Bunde to                        
  comment on the current law regarding adults who used a                       
  vehicle in the commission of a crime.                                        
  Number 135                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE replied that for certain drug offenses,                 
  an offender's vehicle could be confiscated.  With regard to                  
  other types of offenses, he said that HB 86 would be a                       
  stricter law than that currently applied to adults.  He                      
  noted that it was not his intent to restrict juveniles more                  
  than adults.  He commented that his bill focused on                          
  forfeiture of a vehicle because criminal mischief was often                  
  committed with a vehicle, and also because a vehicle was                     
  often a minor's only possession of any value.                                
  Number 182                                                                   
  MS. KNUTH noted that section 2 of HB 86, regarding                           
  forfeiture of vehicles, was not limited to minors.  She said                 
  that section 2 would apply to vehicles used by a person in                   
  aid of criminal mischief in the first degree or criminal                     
  mischief in the second degree.  She commented that criminal                  
  mischief in the first degree occurred very rarely in Alaska.                 
  She commented that the types of crimes which Representative                  
  Bunde had described would be considered criminal mischief in                 
  the third and fourth degrees.                                                
  MS. KNUTH said that the DOL had two concerns with vehicle                    
  forfeiture.  She noted that there was no provision in HB 86                  
  regarding vehicles owned by innocent parties.  She said that                 
  there was no quick fix for this particular problem.                          
  Additionally, she said that the DOL was concerned about the                  
  definition of a vehicle used in aid of criminal mischief                     
  offenses.  She noted that there needed to be a nexus between                 
  a vehicle and damage done during a criminal mischief                         
  offense.  She commented that using a vehicle to get to the                   
  scene of the crime was not a sufficient nexus, whereas using                 
  a vehicle as a battering ram was.                                            
  MS. KNUTH cited the DOL's concern with section 3 of HB 86,                   
  regarding restitution.  She said that the section pertained                  
  to restitution ordered of adult offenders.  She said the                     
  bill proposed that juveniles waived to adult status be                       
  required to pay restitution for any criminal mischief                        
  offense.  She noted that Alaska already had a requirement                    
  that adults pay restitution for criminal mischief in the                     
  third degree.  She said the DOL was concerned that HB 86                     
  would set up an anomalous situation in which juveniles                       
  waived to the adult system would be required to pay                          
  restitution for all criminal mischief offenses, while adult                  
  offenders would only have to pay restitution for criminal                    
  mischief in the third degree.                                                
  MS. KNUTH commented that the court would question why the                    
  legislature wanted to treat juveniles more harshly than                      
  adults.  She suggested that HB 86 be amended so as to                        
  require only under-18 offenders who had been waived to adult                 
  court to pay restitution upon conviction of criminal                         
  mischief in the third degree.  Alternatively, she said that                  
  the legislature could amend the adult restitution statutes                   
  so that they would be in line with what was being proposed                   
  in HB 86.                                                                    
  MS. KNUTH recommended that the legislature follow her first                  
  suggestion, as following the second suggestion would require                 
  that the court make a finding that an offender was able to                   
  pay restitution of more than $500 and up to $100,000.  She                   
  said that it was easy to require restitution of up to $500,                  
  because anyone could go out and work for a month and come up                 
  with that amount of money.  However, she said, when people                   
  were required to pay restitution of $100,000, the state                      
  would run afoul of constitutional prohibitions against                       
  "imprisonment for debt."                                                     
  MS. KNUTH commented that she had not examined the public                     
  records' provision of HB 86, as the Criminal Division of the                 
  DOL was not involved in juvenile delinquency proceedings.                    
  She had alerted the Civil Division about HB 86, and because                  
  of their absence, she assumed that they had no problem with                  
  HB 86.                                                                       
  Number 354                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if there was any difference in                    
  the use of a vehicle to commit a felony and a misdemeanor.                   
  He used an example of a person driving a getaway car in a                    
  Number 365                                                                   
  MS. KNUTH replied that if a person drove another person to a                 
  place where the second person committed criminal mischief,                   
  then the driver would be criminally liable.  She said that                   
  the state currently had laws regarding the forfeiture of                     
  vehicles used in committing certain drug offenses.  That                     
  law, she said, applied to juveniles and adults.  She                         
  commented that the state had problems regarding innocent car                 
  owners, when applying that forfeiture law.  She noted that                   
  the federal government now handled most of the state's                       
  forfeiture proceedings, as the federal laws more thoroughly                  
  addressed the issue of innocent parties.                                     
  MS. KNUTH added that the governor had introduced a bill                      
  which addressed the problem of innocent owners more                          
  Number 398                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER believed that releasing information                          
  regarding juveniles who committed two levels of criminal                     
  mischief offenses and not releasing information about                        
  juveniles who committed much more serious crimes was rather                  
  Number 416                                                                   
  MS. KNUTH commented that laws were often made in response to                 
  very narrow, perceived problems.                                             
  Number 446                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked Ms. Knuth how many actual offenses                 
  HB 86 would impact.                                                          
  Number 455                                                                   
  MS. KNUTH replied that if HB 86 was enacted as currently                     
  written, applying to criminal mischief in the first and                      
  second degrees, its provisions would never be used.  If the                  
  bill was amended to reflect the level of criminal mischief                   
  that she believed the sponsor intended to address, she                       
  guessed that fewer than 20 cases a year would be impacted.                   
  Number 481                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE JAMES asked Ms. Knuth to comment on the use                   
  of a vehicle as a dangerous weapon.                                          
  Number 491                                                                   
  MS. KNUTH responded that cars were treated as dangerous                      
  weapons in certain crimes, including drunk driving.                          
  Number 498                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked Ms. Knuth if she had said that,                   
  even if HB 86 were amended, it would only impact 20 or fewer                 
  cases per year.                                                              
  MS. KNUTH stated that was her best estimate.  She said the                   
  original intent behind HB 86 was that taking away a                          
  juvenile's car would serve as a deterrent.  She was of the                   
  opinion that courts should order restitution from juveniles                  
  when they caused damage.  A juvenile's car could then be                     
  subject to seizure and normal civil attachment procedures.                   
  Number 520                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE GREEN inquired about the impact of adding                     
  three-wheelers, snow machines, and other types of vehicles                   
  in HB 86.                                                                    
  Number 522                                                                   
  MS. KNUTH did not know the answer to Representative Green's                  
  Number 532                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE agreed with Ms. Knuth regarding taking                  
  criminal mischief in the first degree out of HB 86.                          
  However, he argued strongly for leaving criminal mischief in                 
  the second degree in the bill, because it would address                      
  joyriding and causing damage in excess of $500.  He wanted                   
  to encourage awareness among juveniles that they needed to                   
  be responsible for their actions.                                            
  REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE believed that if the names and                          
  photographs of juveniles who committed criminal mischief                     
  were to be published, that would serve as a deterrent.                       
  Number 570                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER had some concerns regarding HB 86.  Due to                   
  the late hour, however, he said he would hold the bill in                    
  committee and reschedule it for another hearing, at a time                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER adjourned the meeting at 3:04 p.m.                           

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