Legislature(1993 - 1994)

01/26/1994 01:15 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  HB 162 - CAPITAL PUNISHMENT FOR MURDER                                       
                                                                               
  Number 087                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN PORTER brought HB 162 to the table.                                 
                                                                               
  Number 110                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. JERRY SANDERS, Prime Sponsor of HB 162, asked everyone                  
  listening to testimony on this bill to keep in mind that                     
  there are a few people who are not like those of us in this                  
  room, and that it is hard to imagine these cold-blooded                      
  predators who threatened our lives and our loved ones.  He                   
  said even when these people are in custody, they are a                       
  threat to law enforcement and corrections officials, along                   
  with the possibility they might escape and claim more                        
  innocent victims.                                                            
                                                                               
  Number 177                                                                   
                                                                               
  JERRY LUCKHAUPT, Legal Counsel, Division of Legal Services,                  
  Legislative Affairs Agency, indicated that he was the bill                   
  drafter for HB 162 and the Sponsor Substitute (SS), which is                 
  basically identical to SB 127, the Senate version of HB 162.                 
  He outlined the differences, the first being that the SS                     
  lacks findings and does not ask for an election to seek the                  
  death penalty, making it a permissible sentencing option.                    
  Mr. Luckhaupt said the next difference relates to the                        
  description of the jury finding mitigating or aggravating                    
  factors.  He said the final change is that the SS lacks                      
  flagging Rules of Court, meaning the legislature must have a                 
  two-thirds majority to change court rules, and the SS does                   
  not require that vote.                                                       
                                                                               
  MR. LUCKHAUPT continued by saying the SS is basically no                     
  different in a substantive way than the original bill, and                   
  the sponsor believes a two-thirds vote to change court rules                 
  is not needed.                                                               
                                                                               
  Number 337                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. NORDLUND referred to the section of HB 162 that asks                    
  the supreme court to expedite appeals, and noted it is not                   
  in the SS.  He added that the legislation is not dealing                     
  with court rule changes up-front.                                            
                                                                               
  Number 369                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. LUCKHAUPT responded that it is up to the legislature to                  
  decide if they are making changes to court rules, and it                     
  must decide if they are making substantive or procedural                     
  changes.                                                                     
  Number 490                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. NORDLUND said there seems to be a question of whether                   
  it is constitutional.                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 502                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. PORTER asked Dean Guaneli from the Department of Law                    
  for his input.                                                               
                                                                               
  Number 510                                                                   
                                                                               
  DEAN GUANELI, Criminal Division, Department of Law, said he                  
  was available to answer questions, and the committee had                     
  heard from Mr. McNally in November when he explained the                     
  administration's position in great detail.                                   
                                                                               
  Number 525                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. PHILLIPS asked for a summary of the governor's                          
  position.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 532                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. GUANELI replied that rather than try to summarize a                      
  fairly lengthy presentation, he suggested that he would have                 
  the tape of the hearing transcribed and would make it                        
  available for the committee to take a look at.                               
                                                                               
  Number 539                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. NORDLUND said he couldn't remember all of Mr. McNally's                 
  testimony, but he thinks he mentioned prosecution needing                    
  another tool for law enforcement.  Rep. Nordlund pointed out                 
  that the problem with the death penalty is that it is                        
  inequitable, especially for the poor.                                        
                                                                               
  Number 576                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. DAVIDSON asked Mr. Guaneli if this issue would be a                     
  monetary-based system, and were there assurances that all                    
  people charged with the death penalty would be given access                  
  to good counsel.                                                             
                                                                               
  Number 590                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. PORTER said it is his understanding that in federal                     
  death penalty cases, regardless of income, the defendant is                  
  given two attorneys.  He asked if there was anything in HB
  162 similar to federal practice, and asked Mr. Guaneli if he                 
  believes that would be the process in Alaska.                                
                                                                               
  Number 598                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. GUANELI responded that there is nothing in the bill that                 
  directs that practice; however, something along those lines                  
  would be a likely result in rules provided by the supreme                    
  court.  He directed the question to John Salemi from the                     
  public defender's office.                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 621                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BETTYE DAVIS testified against HB 162, expressing                       
  concern about fairness, racism, cost, and possible mistakes                  
  being made.  She urged the committee to study the impact of                  
  the death penalty on minorities.  Rep. Davis concluded that                  
  it would be a grave mistake to enact a death penalty.                        
                                                                               
  Number 818                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. NORDLUND cited statistics showing that the death                        
  penalty is a racially biased system.                                         
                                                                               
  Number 841                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. DAVIS also cited various statistics pertaining to the                   
  percentage of minorities in jail, versus white prisoners.                    
                                                                               
  Number 850                                                                   
                                                                               
  The committee and Rep. Davis discussed various statistical                   
  information pertaining to the death penalty.                                 
                                                                               
  TAPE 94-10, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 035                                                                   
                                                                               
  BISHOP MICHAEL KENNY testified against HB 162, and focused                   
  on the practical issues, such as the effect on society in                    
  general.  Bishop Kenny said we need to look at better ways                   
  to ensure public safety.  He opposed the death penalty                       
  because it is the ultimate form of violence done by the                      
  state; it panders to baser instincts in each of us, and it                   
  serves to further alienate and isolate those individuals on                  
  the fringes of our society.  He concluded, saying that the                   
  death penalty creates a false sense of security in society.                  
                                                                               
  Number 169                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. PORTER asked for testimony from John Creighton in                       
  Bethel and was informed he had left a written statement for                  
  the record.                                                                  
                                                                               
  Number 202                                                                   
                                                                               
  TERRY BURRELL of Anchorage testified in support of HB 162.                   
                                                                               
  Number 320                                                                   
                                                                               
  MIKE WALLERI, Chief Counsel for the Tanana Chief's                           
  Conference, testified against HB 162 and said a                              
  disproportionate number of those killed under the death                      
  penalty would be Natives and other minorities.  He cited                     
  cultural factors that impact Natives, including that Natives                 
  are more willing to confess to crimes.  Mr. Walleri urged                    
  the committee to hold a hearing on the racial impact of the                  
  death penalty.                                                               
                                                                               
  Number 476                                                                   
                                                                               
  JANICE PRESTON of Homer testified in favor of HB 162 and                     
  said that we need more police protection and speedier                        
  adjudications of criminal cases.                                             
                                                                               
  Number 662                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHARLES CAMPBELL, former Director of the Department of                       
  Corrections, testified against HB 162, saying it is a                        
  futile, senseless practice that has no deterrent value, and                  
  is extremely costly.                                                         
                                                                               
  Number 665                                                                   
  MARY S. SOLTIS of Sitka testified against HB 162 and said                    
  the focus should be on life imprisonment without parole.                     
                                                                               
  Number 711                                                                   
                                                                               
  RICH CURTNER, an attorney from Anchorage, testified against                  
  HB 162.  He cited his experience in death penalty cases                      
  while he was practicing law in Ohio, and cited the cost and                  
  emotional toll as reasons to oppose the death penalty.                       
                                                                               
  Number 796                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. PORTER concluded the hearing on HB 162 and stated his                   
  intention to continue hearing the bill at the next meeting.                  

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