Legislature(1993 - 1994)

05/08/1994 01:30 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  CSHB 334(FIN) am:   An Act relating to  criminal sentencing;                 
                      relating  to  the availability  for good                 
                      time credit for  offenders convicted  of                 
                      certain first  degree murders;  relating                 
                      to  definite  30-  to  99-year terms  of                 
                      imprisonment for offenders  convicted of                 
                      an unclassified  or class A  felony that                 
                      is  a  homicide,   assault,  kidnapping,                 
                      sexual offense, or robbery and who  have                 
                      at least  two prior most  serious felony                 
                      convictions;  relating  to  parole, good                 
                      time  credit,  pardon,   commutation  of                 
                      sentence, modification  or reduction  of                 
                      sentence,   reprieve,   furlough,    and                 
                      service  of  sentence at  a correctional                 
                      restitution center for offenders with at                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
                      least   three   most    serious   felony                 
                      convictions;   defining  `most   serious                 
                      felony'  as an  unclassified or  class A                 
                      felony  offense  that  is   a  homicide,                 
                      assault, kidnapping, sexual  offense, or                 
                      robbery or  an attempt or  conspiracy to                 
                      commit, or criminal solicitation  of, an                 
                      unclassified or class A felony that is a                 
                      homicide,  assault,  kidnapping,  sexual                 
                      offense, or robbery; and amending Alaska                 
                      Rule of Criminal Procedure 35.                           
                                                                               
                      Representative Con Bunde, sponsor  of HB
                      334, testified  in support of  the bill.                 
                      Dean   J.   Guaneli,   Chief,  Assistant                 
                      Attorney    General,    Legal   Services                 
                      Section,  Criminal Division,  Department                 
                      of  Law, also  spoke  in support  of the                 
                      bill.       Diane   Schenker,    Special                 
                      Assistant, Officer of  the Commissioner,                 
                      Department of Corrections, spoke  to the                 
                      zero fiscal note in  that the Department                 
                      of  Corrections  would  not be  effected                 
                      until  the  15th  or 16th  year.    CSHB
                      334(FIN)   am   was   REPORTED  out   of                 
                      committee with  a  "do  pass,",  a  zero                 
                      fiscal  note  for   the  Department   of                 
                      Corrections,  and  fiscal notes  for the                 
                      Department   of  Administration   (UPA)-                 
                      $181.1, PDA-$207.3, Alaska  Court System                 
                      - $78.1, and for the Department of Law -                 
                       $112.6.                                                 
                                                                               
  CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 334(FIN) am:                                           
                                                                               
       An Act relating to criminal sentencing; relating to the                 
       availability  for   good  time  credit   for  offenders                 
       convicted of certain first degree murders;  relating to                 
       definite  30-  to  99-year terms  of  imprisonment  for                 
       offenders  convicted  of  an  unclassified  or  class A                 
       felony that is a  homicide, assault, kidnapping, sexual                 
       offense,  or robbery  and who have  at least  two prior                 
       most serious  felony convictions;  relating to  parole,                 
       good  time  credit,  pardon, commutation  of  sentence,                 
       modification  or  reduction   of  sentence,   reprieve,                 
       furlough,  and service  of sentence  at a  correctional                 
       restitution center  for offenders with  at least  three                 
       most serious felony convictions; defining `most serious                 
       felony' as an  unclassified or  class A felony  offense                 
       that  is   a  homicide,  assault,   kidnapping,  sexual                 
       offense,  or  robbery or  an  attempt or  conspiracy to                 
       commit, or criminal solicitation of, an unclassified or                 
       class A felony that is a homicide, assault, kidnapping,                 
       sexual offense, or robbery; and amending Alaska Rule of                 
       Criminal Procedure 35.                                                  
                                                                               
  Co-chair Pearce invited Representative Con Bunde, sponsor of                 
  HB 334, to speak to the bill.                                                
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE  said that HB 334 had  been reported on                 
  in the  media but  wanted to  point out  that  the bill  was                 
  different than the press presented it.  The bill was crafted                 
  narrowly  to  address  only  repeat  offenders  that  commit                 
  serious   crimes.     Accordingly   to  the   Department  of                 
  Corrections, this  bill would  impact approximately  3 to  5                 
  individuals  a year.   If  an individual  had  committed two                 
  serious  felonies,  the  prosecutor  then  could  choose  to                 
  prosecute under the provisions of HB 334.                                    
                                                                               
  Representative Bunde wanted  the committee to know  that, at                 
  present, an individual  convicted of a third  serious felony                 
  would spend between 12 to 15 years in jail.  With this bill,                 
  an individual would spend between 30 to 99, with a provision                 
  that said  after half  a sentence was  served, the  Governor                 
  could waive the  rest of  the sentence if  the prisoner  was                 
  geriatric and no longer a threat to society.  He noted  that                 
  the fiscal notes were  a concern but the rationale  was that                 
  these  individuals would  be in the  system anyway  and this                 
  bill could  serve as a  deterrent.   He felt money  would be                 
  saved by not having to arrest  and try these individuals for                 
  the fourth, fifth, etc. time, and  he asked the committee at                 
  what cost did the state place personal loss to victims.                      
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative Bunde asked Dean J. Guaneli, Chief, Assistant                 
  Attorney General, Legal Services Section, Criminal Division,                 
  Department of Law, to join him at the table.                                 
                                                                               
  DEAN  GUANELI said  the  department supported  HB  334.   He                 
  agreed that this version of the bill was much more narrow in                 
  the number of crimes it covered, the way it considered prior                 
  convictions, the way  it gave discretion to  the prosecutor,                 
  and the type of sentence that could be imposed.  He  felt it                 
  was a more narrow bill than any across the country.                          
                                                                               
  In answer to  Co-chair Frank, Mr. Guaneli  described serious                 
  crimes  as  homicides,  rape,  murder,  manslaughter,  armed                 
  robbery, felony assault, shootings, and serious child abuse.                 
  It did not include  such crimes as theft, burglary,  or drug                 
  dealing.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Senator Kerttula pointed out this bill was not an attempt at                 
  prevention but it  just got the  bad guys "off the  street."                 
  Mr.  Guaneli   said  that   a  sentence   could  involve   a                 
  psychiatrist,  or  a lesser  sentence  could be  imposed for                 
  vehicular manslaughter  since the prosecution would be given                 
  such discretion in the bill.                                                 
                                                                               
  In  answer   to  Co-chair  Frank   regarding  fiscal  notes,                 
  Representative Bunde  said that  public defenders  felt more                 
  cases would be  heard because of HB  334.  He felt  that was                 
  erroneous.   Mr. Guaneli believed  the potential of going to                 
  jail  for  a longer  period of  time  made the  tendency for                 
  individuals to fight harder, and the department estimated at                 
  least work for one more attorney in their fiscal note.                       
                                                                               
  Senator Sharp observed that if an individual was facing life                 
  imprisonment that they may leave  the state.  Representative                 
  Bunde  said  that  in some  instances  individuals  could be                 
  counseled  out  of  a life  of  crime  because  of the  long                 
  sentence they would face.  Mr. Guaneli said that individuals                 
  that commit such felonies were out  of control and unable to                 
  conform to what  society wanted  regardless of the  penalty,                 
  and those were  the ones that  were better off behind  bars.                 
  Senator Sharp  said that  some money  must be  saved by  the                 
  absence of the "revolving door."                                             
                                                                               
  Senator Kerttula asked if offenders may become more violent,                 
  for example,  in  a  sexual  assault,  if  they  knew  their                 
  sentence would  be more severe  or the same as  murder.  Mr.                 
  Guaneli said it  was hard to assess  that sort of thing.   A                 
  third time rape offense  brought a 25 year sentence  now and                 
  with this bill it would  range from 30 to 99 years.   He did                 
  not feel that those offenders  were thinking about sentences                 
  when they were  being violent.   Senator Kerttula  commented                 
  that the state did not do much for prevention.                               
                                                                               
  DIANE   SCHENKER,   Special   Assistant,  Officer   of   the                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Commissioner,  Department  of  Corrections,  said  that  the                 
  effect of HB  334 would not be  felt for 10 to  15 years and                 
  there was no way to reflect that in a fiscal note.                           
                                                                               
  Senator  Kelly MOVED  for passage  of CSHB 334(FIN)  am from                 
  committee  with individual  recommendations.   No  objection                 
  being heard,  CSHB 334(FIN)  was REPORTED  out of  committee                 
  with a  "do pass," a zero fiscal  note for the Department of                 
  Corrections, and fiscal notes for the following departments:                 
  Department of  Administration (OPA)  -$181.1; Department  of                 
  Administration (PDA) - $207.3; Alaska  Court System - $78.1;                 
  and the Department  of Law -  $112.6.  Co-chairs Pearce  and                 
  Frank, Senator Kerttula, Kelly, Sharp and Jacko signed a "do                 
  pass."                                                                       
                                                                               

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