Legislature(1997 - 1998)

05/07/1998 04:10 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
         CSHB 122(JUD) - PRISONERS: LITIGATION & DEBTS                         
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR announced HB 122 to be up for consideration.                   
MS. ANNE CARPENETI, Department of Law, said HB 122 has two basic               
themes relating to laws that were passed in 1995 regarding                     
prisoner litigation.  These laws limit frivolous lawsuits and                  
require 20 percent of a prisoner's jail account for a filing fee,              
a system that has worked fairly well.  HB 122 adds to the                      
information prisoners must submit when they apply for an exemption             
from a filing fee to include money in accounts outside the prison              
and expands the definition of litigation against the State to                  
specifically include particular forms of appellate litigation. It              
also addresses the DNA testing bill making it easier for the State             
to introduce DNA profile evidence in a prosecution.  It also set up            
a DNA bank in the Department of Public Safety but it did not                   
provide any enforcement procedures to get people to submit to DNA              
testing and prisoners are refusing to submit samples.  HB 122                  
provides enforcement mechanisms to get those samples: it is a                  
required condition of parole and probation; and it requires the                
court to order a convicted felon to submit a sample for the DNA                
bank as a part of sentencing.  Cheek swabs are normally used, so               
it's not an intrusive procedure.  DNA evidence has been helpful in             
solving crimes.                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS asked if the DNA collection was strictly prospective.            
MS. CARPENETI said it applies to people who convicted of certain               
crimes after the passage date.                                                 
SENATOR ELLIS asked if there is a plan to collect evidence that                
might exonerate people who may have been wrongly convicted.  He                
said this is very important if the death penalty is reinstated in              
MS. CARPENETI answered this bill does not address that issue and               
she wasn't aware of any plans in that area.  It applies to people              
who convicted of a crime after 1995.                                           
SENATOR ELLIS asked if this kind of measure had been challenged and            
upheld through the federal courts.                                             
MS. CARPENETI said she would find that out for him.                            
SENATOR PARNELL added that hundreds of samples had been collected              
to date and asked how widespread the problem is.                               
MS. CARPENETI replied that some people are cooperating, but it is              
a significant enough problem.  They were unable to get it ordered              
in a case last September and were getting less cooperation as a                
TAPE 98-54, SIDE B                                                             
Number 579                                                                     
SENATOR PARNELL moved to pass CSHB 122(Jud) from committee with                
individual recommendations.  There were no objections and it was so            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects