Legislature(1993 - 1994)

01/28/1994 01:15 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  HB 162 - CAPITAL PUNISHMENT FOR MURDER                                       
  Number 107                                                                   
  MAYDULENO ROSE-AUILA, Regional Director, Amnesty                             
  International, testified against HB 162.  Mr. Rose-Auila                     
  said capital punishment shows evidence of racism and the                     
  cost is excessive.  He cited a study that shows more people                  
  in favor of life without parole than capital punishment.                     
  Number 213                                                                   
  WEV SHEA, an Anchorage attorney and former U.S. attorney,                    
  testified against HB 162.  He indicated that he had                          
  recommended the death penalty in two cases at the federal                    
  level.  Mr. Shea said the Department of Law and the                          
  governor's office were not qualified to carry out capital                    
  punishment.  He also said Alaska does not need a death                       
  penalty at this time, and that HB 162 is unconstitutional.                   
  Number 331                                                                   
  REP. PORTER discussed HJR 43, relating to victims rights,                    
  and said it was going through the process.                                   
  Number 337                                                                   
  REP. KOTT asked when and if Alaska would need a death                        
  MR. SHEA discussed checks and balances, and said the federal                 
  system provides excellent checks and balances in death                       
  penalty issues.                                                              
  Number 440                                                                   
  MARIETTA JAEGER, representing Murder Victims Families for                    
  Reconciliation, testified against HB 162.  Ms. Jaeger shared                 
  her experience with the committee as the mother of a seven                   
  year old daughter that was kidnapped and murdered in                         
  Montana.  Her daughter's killer was offered the alternative                  
  of life in prison without the possibility of parole, which                   
  he accepted, and then confessed to her daughter's murder and                 
  MS. JAEGER continued, saying proponents of the death penalty                 
  say it is for the benefit of the family, and she strongly                    
  disagrees, saying it is vindictive and adds to the violence                  
  Number 562                                                                   
  STEVE McCOY, an elementary school teacher in Anchorage,                      
  testified against HB 162.  He related experiences his                        
  students had with the death penalty and the harm he felt it                  
  caused them.                                                                 
  Number 613                                                                   
  JEFF SILVERMAN testified on behalf of the Alaska Federation                  
  of Natives (AFN) in opposition to HB 162.  Mr. Silverman                     
  stated that the death penalty is unfair to minorities and                    
  Number 634                                                                   
  PAT RAWERT of Fairbanks testified against HB 162.  Ms.                       
  Rawert stated that society is becoming more like criminals,                  
  and the death penalty would only reinforce violence in                       
  Number 661                                                                   
  DALEE SAMBO testified on behalf of the Alaska Intertribal                    
  Council in opposition to HB 162.  Ms. Sambo told the                         
  committee that it is critical to point out that indigenous                   
  people are distinct people with distinct rights and only by                  
  population are a minority.  She said in the event of a death                 
  penalty that it would disproportionally fall on Native                       
  Number 789                                                                   
  SCOTT STERLING, an Anchorage attorney, testified against                     
  HB 162 and asked that his written statement be added to the                  
  TAPE 94-11, SIDE B                                                           
  Number 108                                                                   
  NANCY SHAFER, Justice Center, University of Alaska,                          
  Anchorage, said she was asked to testify about deterrence                    
  studies.  Ms. Shafer explained how the studies are conducted                 
  and briefly discussed a number of studies that find little                   
  or no impact on deterrence in states that have the death                     
  penalty.  Ms. Shafer suggested very strongly that virtually                  
  every study is flawed in some fashion because of incomplete                  
  data from the 1930's through 1950's, and also because there                  
  is no way to know how aware the public is regarding the                      
  status of the death penalty in their state.                                  
  Number 262                                                                   
  JIM CANNON, a Fairbanks attorney, said that he was                           
  testifying against HB 162 as his personal opinion.  Mr.                      
  Cannon discussed a book which concludes there is no known                    
  deterrence for murder because of the death penalty, and                      
  cited other studies that draw the same conclusion.  He                       
  concurred with Mr. Shea's assessment that the Attorney                       
  General's Office does not have the expertise to prosecute                    
  death penalty cases.  Mr. Cannon asked the committee to                      
  consider if we are morally entitled to make a decision of                    
  this kind.                                                                   
  Number 383                                                                   
  KIM McGEE testified from Anchorage against HB 162 on behalf                  
  of the Religious Society of Friends, better known as                         
  Quakers.  Ms. McGee said the death penalty is an affront to                  
  life and devalues life.                                                      
  Number 437                                                                   
  BRANT MCGEE, Director, Office of Public Advocacy (OPA),                      
  testified that there is no evidence that the death penalty                   
  saves money, and asked the committee to take note of OPA's                   
  fiscal note.                                                                 
  Number 510                                                                   
  ROBERT ANDERSON of Fairbanks testified that he is in favor                   
  of HB 162.                                                                   
  Number 567                                                                   
  KEVIN McCOY, an Anchorage attorney, testified against HB
  162.  Mr. McCoy endorsed Mr. Shea's comments and pointed out                 
  that Alaskan judges don't hesitate to use sentencing to                      
  ensure the offender will die in jail.                                        
  Number 678                                                                   
  AVERIL LERMAN testified against HB 162 and supported Rep.                    
  Bettye Davis' earlier request to study the impact of the                     
  death penalty on minorities.  Ms. Lerman discussed Alaska's                  
  historical relationship with the death penalty and cited                     
  statistics on whites versus minorities in Alaska given the                   
  death penalty.                                                               
  Number 799                                                                   
  RACHEL KING, Alaskans Against the Death Penalty (AADP),                      
  testified against HB 162.  Ms. King stated that AADP is a                    
  group of people that joined together to opposed HB 162 for                   
  the following reasons:  excessive cost, the fact that the                    
  death penalty does not deter murder, and racial disparity.                   
  Ms. King added that there are better alternatives to the                     
  death penalty.                                                               
  Number 842                                                                   
  CYNTHIA STREET, an Anchorage attorney, addressed concerns                    
  relating to minors under the proposed juvenile waiver.  Ms.                  
  Street said that HB 162 doesn't exempt minors, and she                       
  doesn't believe society should be executing sixteen year                     
  olds.  She said she opposes HB 162.                                          
  TAPE 94-12, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 002                                                                   
  MARY GEDDES, an Anchorage attorney, testified against                        
  HB 162.  Ms. Geddes cited the economic costs, psychic, and                   
  emotional toll the death penalty exacts on society.                          
  Number 145                                                                   
  JANA VARRATI testified from Anchorage against HB 162.  She                   
  asked about the cumulative costs of the fiscal notes for                     
  HB 162 and said the costs are mind boggling.  Ms. Varrati                    
  proposed putting the issue on the ballot with a special                      
  dedicated tax to support the executions, with the point                      
  being an execution couldn't be carried out until there was                   
  enough money.                                                                
  Number 238                                                                   
  BARBARA HOOD, area coordinator for Amnesty International,                    
  testified in opposition to HB 162 and endorsed the testimony                 
  of Mr. Rose-Auila.                                                           
  Number 334                                                                   
  FRANK SMITH testified from Barrow against HB 162.  Mr. Smith                 
  described his corrections background and presented a                         
  historical review of the death penalty.  He said the death                   
  penalty does not deter capital crimes.                                       
  Number 433                                                                   
  JOHN CREIGHTON testified from Bethel on behalf of Amnesty                    
  International in opposition to HB 162.                                       
  Number 550                                                                   
  Rep. Porter concluded the teleconference and public                          
  testimony and indicated that the committee would rap up the                  
  hearing on HB 162 on Monday, January 31.                                     
  CHAIRMAN PORTER adjourned the meeting at 3:45 p.m.                           

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