Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/26/1993 01:00 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  HB 100:  PROSECUTION OF JUVENILE FELONS                                      
                                                                               
  TAPE 93-43, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
                                                                               
  DEAN GUANELI, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, CRIMINAL DIVISION,                 
  DEPARTMENT OF LAW (DOL), said that this was the second time                  
  he had testified before the committee on the issue of                        
  juvenile waivers.  The first time, he said, he had addressed                 
  Representative Con Bunde's juvenile waiver bill, HB 100, and                 
  had urged that the committee members look very closely at                    
  specific offenses for which an automatic waiver into adult                   
  court was being proposed.  He said that when he had last                     
  testified on juvenile waivers, the governor's juvenile                       
  waiver bill had not yet been introduced.                                     
                                                                               
  MR. GUANELI said that the governor's juvenile waiver bill                    
  had since been introduced.  That bill, he noted, took a                      
  narrower approach to juvenile waivers than did SB 54 and HB
  100, at the urging of the Department of Health and Social                    
  Services (DHSS).                                                             
                                                                               
  MR. GUANELI commented that the juvenile justice system was                   
  based on a presumption that many juvenile offenders were                     
  treatable, very quickly, under the juvenile system.  He                      
  expressed his opinion that that presumption was not valid in                 
  all cases, particularly with regard to murder offenses.  The                 
  juvenile justice system could, in his opinion, better deal                   
  with most offenses other than murder.  He added that the                     
  DHSS shared that opinion.                                                    
                                                                               
  MR. GUANELI mentioned that DOL and DHSS officials were                       
  concerned that some 16- and 17-year-olds would be receiving                  
  presumptive sentences in adult court.  He noted that judges                  
  already experienced a great deal of difficulty when handing                  
  down presumptive sentences for 18- and 19-year-olds.  He                     
  again urged the committee to look carefully at which crimes                  
  they wished to include in a juvenile waiver bill.                            
                                                                               
  Number 126                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE JAMES returned to the committee at 3:26 p.m.                  
                                                                               
  MR. GUANELI mentioned that if a 17-year-old sold drugs to a                  
  13-year-old, and drug selling offenses were included in a                    
  juvenile waiver law, that 17-year-old would be subject to a                  
  mandatory minimum 5-year jail sentence.  He mentioned other                  
  crimes which carried mandatory, stiff jail sentences.  He                    
  questioned whether the committee felt that these mandatory                   
  sentences were appropriate for juvenile offenders.                           
                                                                               
  MR. GUANELI appreciated Senator Halford's comment regarding                  
  prosecutors' discretion to charge juveniles with lesser                      
  offenses in order to get those juveniles out of the adult                    
  justice system.  However, he noted that if the law dictated                  
  that a certain type of conduct, committed under certain                      
  circumstances, ought to be punished in a certain way, it was                 
  his belief that it would be undesirable for prosecutors to                   
  be intentionally undercutting the law.                                       
                                                                               
  MR. GUANELI stated that the committee should look into the                   
  effect on the Department of Corrections (DOC) of a broadly-                  
  written juvenile waiver bill.  If the bill only applied to                   
  murder cases, he said, the DOC would only receive a handful                  
  of new prisoners.  But, he said, a broader juvenile waiver                   
  bill would result in more new prisoners for the DOC to                       
  manage.  He questioned whether the DOC would be able to                      
  handle several dozen additional offenders every year.                        
                                                                               
  MR. GUANELI understood that the DOC currently experienced                    
  difficulty in segregating various segments of the prison                     
  population, including pre-trial offenders, female prisoners,                 
  and mentally-ill prisoners.  He questioned whether the DOC                   
  was the best agency for dealing with a large number of very                  
  young offenders.  Mr. Guaneli reiterated his recommendation                  
  that the committee study the issue of juvenile waivers very                  
  carefully.                                                                   
                                                                               

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