Legislature(1997 - 1998)

05/07/1998 09:09 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE BILL 245                                                               
     "An  Act  relating  to assault  in  the  fourth  degree;                  
     relating   to  the   definition   of  'crime   involving                  
     domestic  violence'  in  AS  11;  relating  to  unlawful                  
     contact   with  a   victim  or   witness;  relating   to                  
     rehabilitation  programs  for perpetrators  of  domestic                  
     violence; amending  Rule 5(b), Alaska Rules  of Criminal                  
     Procedure  and Rule  404(b), Alaska  Rules of  Evidence;                  
     and providing for an effective date."                                     
REPRESENTATIVE FRED  DYSON, SPONSOR, explained  that the bill                  
would accomplish  four things  related to domestic  violence.                  
First,  it  would  prohibit  domestic  violence  perpetrators                  
from using  their one allowed  phone call to call  the victim                  
or witnesses  in order  to intimidate  them between  the time                  
of arrest  and arraignment. He  pointed out that  the problem                  
had been a significant one.                                                    
Representative  Dyson continued that  second, the  bill would                  
provide for  progressively stiffer presumptive  sentences for                  
repeat  offenders.  Third, it  would  set standards  for  the                  
batterers  and anger  management programs  that judges  often                  
assigned  for perpetrators.  Fourth,  it  would allow  (under                  
carefully controlled  circumstances) that prior  related acts                  
were  admissible.  The prosecution  could  ask  the judge  to                  
admit prior acts  (out of the presence of the  jury) if there                  
had  been a  pattern of  abuse  by the  perpetrator that  the                  
prosecution wanted to bring forward.                                           
Jayne  Andreen,  Council  on  Domestic  Violence  and  Sexual                  
Assault,  testified  in  support   of  HB  245.  The  council                  
believed  the four  things  defined by  Representative  Dyson                  
were important  to strengthen  the protection  of victims  of                  
domestic   violence.   The  first   issue   (preventing   the                  
perpetrator from  having phone  contact with the  victim) had                  
been brought to  the council's attention by  a police officer                  
who believed  there was a problem.  She noted that  often two                  
officers  would  be called  to  a  scene. When  the  officers                  
determined there  was probable cause and made  an arrest, one                  
officer would  take the  alleged offender  back to  be booked                  
and to  make a phone  call. Sometimes  the other  officer was                  
at  the  scene  taking  the  statement   of  the  victim  and                  
collecting  evidence.  In current  statute,  within 12  hours                  
after an arrest,  the alleged offender must  be arraigned; at                  
that  point  the court  would  decide  whether or  not  there                  
should be contact  with the victim. The council  believed the                  
12 hours  was important  to protect  the victim from  further                  
intimidation or coercion.                                                      
Ms.  Andreen  continued  that  the item  related  to  minimum                  
prison  terms  for offenders  would  apply  to  fourth-degree                  
assault.  The council  believed  the  item was  important  in                  
terms  of giving  offenders the  information  that the  crime                  
was  serious   and  had  further   consequences  if   it  was                  
repeated.  The  part  of  the  bill  addressing  the  court's                  
ability to  approve programs  such as anger-management  would                  
strengthen  language already  in statute  so that the  courts                  
would only used approved programs.                                             
VIOLENCE  AND SEXUAL  ASSAULT,  voiced support  for the  bill                  
and noted written testimony submitted.                                         
Senator  Donley  pointed  to  page  4,  lines  2  through  4,                  
related to  prohibiting the  defendant from indirect  contact                  
with the  witness. He  asked about  the constitutional  right                  
to contact witnesses to find out what they would say.                          
replied  that the  provision on  page 4, lines  4 through  7,                  
gave  authority  to  the judge  in  sentencing  a  defendant.                  
After  the  defendant  was  convicted,  the  court  would  be                  
allowed, although  not mandated, under certain  circumstances                  
[interruption by tape ending].                                                 
[SFC-98, Tape 160, Side B]                                                     
Senator  Parnell MOVED  to REPORT  SCS CSHB  245(HES) out  of                  
committee  with   individual  recommendations   and  attached                  
fiscal notes. There being no objection, it was so ordered.                     
SCS CSHB  245(HES) was REPORTED  out of committee with  a "do                  
pass" recommendation  and two  indeterminate fiscal  notes by                  
the  Department  of  Administration  and  the  Department  of                  
Corrections  and   two  zero  notes  by  the   Department  of                  
Administration and the Department of Public Safety.                            
RECESSED 10:10 AM.                                                             

Document Name Date/Time Subjects