Legislature(1993 - 1994)

01/21/1994 09:05 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN brings up SJR 2 as the first order of business                 
 before the committee today.  The Chairman calls Senator Donley as             
 the first witness.                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 027                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR DONLEY, prime sponsor of SJR 2 states that SJR 2 will do              
 two things: one, it will set out specific rights in the                       
 constitution of victims of crime; two, it will make changes                   
 regarding penal administration.  Currently, penal administration              
 guidelines list the principal of reformation and public safety as             
 the basis for penal administration and do not specify which aspect            
 of administration is more important.                                          
                                                                               
 SJR 2 would list several other aspects for consideration in penal             
 administration and would prioritize those aspects.  Those aspects             
 are, in order of importance: public safety, rights of victims, and            
 the principal of reformation.                                                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 061                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR DONLEY declared that to that list, he would like to add               
 community condemnation of the offender as second in the order of              
 importance.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 070                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN suggests also adding restitution to the previous               
 list of aspects of penal administration.  He suggests inserting it            
 just before reformation.  The list would be as follows: public                
 safety, community condemnation of the offender, rights of victims,            
 restitution, and the principal of reformation.                                
                                                                               
 Number 101                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR DONLEY agrees with Chairman Leman regarding adding                    
 restitution as an aspect of penal administration.                             
                                                                               
 Number 112                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN calls for the representative from the Department of            
 Law to testify.                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 113                                                                    
                                                                               
 MARGO KNUTH, Criminal Division, Department of Law, announces that             
 the Department of Law supports victim's rights but is concerned               
 with the proposed constitutional amendment as it is currently                 
 drafted.  The department believes the constitutional amendment                
 would do three things, one of which it is in favor, the other two             
 of which it is not in favor.  The effect of the constitutional                
 amendment the department favors would balance some of the                     
 constitutional rights the defendant has with rights of the state              
 and rights of the victim.  The aspects which the department is not            
 in favor of are creating rights that victims would be able to                 
 enforce against prosecutors, and creating tort liability against              
 the state when a failure in the process occurs.  Ms. Knuth comments           
 that she does not see the language where it is suggested                      
 restitution be inserted.                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 176                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN notes that it has not been put in writing, but there           
 is reference to it under (paragraph) 8, page two.  He proposes that           
 it be inserted in (page 1, section 1) line nine (or ten).  He asks            
 whether Ms. Knuth is able to comment on the insertion.                        
                                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 196                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. KNUTH replies that she would appreciate the chance to think               
 about the insertion before commenting.  She is aware that                     
 Representative Porter has legislation that intends to reorder the             
 criteria also, and she would like to examine his legislation before           
 commenting.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 200                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ELLIS asks Senator Donley if victim's rights under this               
 legislation will take affect after the defendant has been                     
 convicted, or if it will take affect during the prosecution.                  
                                                                               
 Number 220                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR DONLEY responds the victim's rights will be in effect                 
 throughout the process.  He thinks it might be advisable to take              
 out the penal administration reference in the constitution so it              
 will apply to the entire criminal justice system.  His                        
 understanding is the legislation will affect sentencing through the           
 end of the defendant's probation or parole term.                              
                                                                               
 Number 233                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asks Senator Donley where the trigger is, where                
 these rights would begin.  Is it after conviction or before                   
 conviction?                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 241                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR DONLEY replies that the rights set forth in section two               
 would apply throughout the criminal justice process, while section            
 one would apply after sentencing of the defendant.                            
                                                                               
 Number 254                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN suggests that members think about and discuss the              
 legislation and be prepared to decide by Wednesday morning on                 
 language changes that might clarify what part of the criminal                 
 justice process SJR 2 would affect.  He then asks if Ms. Lienhart             
 is ready to testify from Anchorage.                                           
                                                                               
 Number 263                                                                    
                                                                               
 JANICE LIENHART, Victim's for Justice, says she is grateful for the           
 support on SJR 2 from Senator Leman and Senator Donley.  She states           
 that it is traumatic for victims to realize that there are laws to            
 protect defendants, but not very much protection for victims.  The            
 victim's rights movement is working to get laws passed to give                
 victims equal rights to defendants.  Victims deserve equal rights             
 under the constitution.                                                       
 Number 296                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN thanks Ms. Lienhart for her testimony and repeats              
 the changes that have been suggested to the legislation.                      
                                                                               
 Number 314                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asks Ms. Knuth to what extent the notification of              
 victims will fiscally affect the state.                                       
                                                                               
 Number 326                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. KNUTH replies that fiscal impact is a concern, in addition to             
 the concern of increased liability to the state.  The state cannot            
 be a guarantor of safety.                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 350                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. LIENHART comments that since victims are already being informed           
 of their rights, she doesn't think it will add very much to the               
 fiscal impact.                                                                
                                                                               
 Number 363                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asks Ms. Lienhart if she thinks it will cause a                
 fiscal impact on the Department of Public Safety if the department            
 is required to notify a victim every time there is a hearing on a             
 specific case.  He is concerned that department personnel would               
 spend more time tracking down victims for notification, which would           
 result in less personnel time being spent tracking down criminals.            
                                                                               
 Number 379                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR DONLEY thinks Senator Taylor has a good point and that the            
 legislation should be amended so as to set out specific parameters            
 regarding notification of victims.                                            
                                                                               
 Number 328                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks Senator Donley to work with Ms. Babcock and Ms.           
 Knuth on language to accommodate the aforementioned concerns.                 
                                                                               
 Number 385                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR DONLEY asks Senator Taylor if he thinks the format in                 
 SJR 2 is appropriate.                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 391                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR thinks the format is clearer to list out the rights,           
 one-by-one, rather than enclosed in a single paragraph.                       
                                                                               
 Number 394                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN agrees that he thinks it is more clear to have the             
 rights listed out, rather than in a single paragraph.  He then asks           
 Ms. Knuth if she will be able to join the committee for their                 
 meeting on Wednesday.                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 396                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. KNUTH responds that she will be able to do so, and that if                
 input from the Department of Law is desired on SJR 39 RIGHT TO KEEP           
 AND BEAR ARMS, to contact Mr. Guinelli in the department.                     
                                                                               
 Number 400                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks if there is anyone else who wishes to testify             
 on SJR 2.  He announces that SJR 2 will be held until Wednesday's             
 meeting.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 418                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHARLES MCKEE states he thinks victims of misdemeanors should also            
 be included in victim's rights legislation.                                   
                                                                               

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