Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/03/1995 01:05 PM House JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                              
                         April 3, 1995                                         
                           1:05 p.m.                                           
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
 Representative Brian Porter, Chairman                                         
 Representative Con Bunde                                                      
 Representative Al Vezey                                                       
 Representative Cynthia Toohey                                                 
 Representative David Finkelstein                                              
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                
 Representative Joe Green, Vice Chairman                                       
 Representative Bettye Davis                                                   
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
 HB 234:        "An Act relating to administrative adjudication                
                under the Administrative Procedure Act."                       
                PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                        
 CSSB 14(JUD):  "An Act relating to criminal mischief."                        
                PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                        
 HB 87:         "An Act authorizing youth courts to provide for peer           
                adjudication of minors who have allegedly committed            
                violations of state or municipal laws, and renaming            
                the community legal assistance grant fund and                  
                amending the purposes for which grants may be made             
                from that fund in order to provide financial                   
                assistance for organization and initial operation of           
                youth courts."                                                 
                PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                        
 HB 201:        "An Act relating to prisoner litigation,                       
                post-conviction relief, sentence appeals, amending             
                Alaska Administrative Rule 10, Alaska Rules of                 
                Appellate Procedure 204, 208, 209, 215, 521, 603,              
                and 604, and Alaska Rules of Criminal Procedure 11,            
                33, 35, and 35.1; and providing for an effective               
                SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                        
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
 TERESA WILLIAMS, Assistant Attorney General                                   
 Commercial Section                                                            
 Civil Division                                                                
 Department of Law                                                             
 P.O. Box 1031                                                                 
 West 4th Avenue, Suite 200                                                    
 Anchorage, AK 99501-1994                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 269-5100                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in favor of HB 234                             
 MARY VOLENDORF, Administrative Assistant                                      
   to Senator Leman                                                            
 State Capitol, Room 113                                                       
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
 Telephone:  (907)  465-2095                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Gave sponsor statement for SB 14                         
 MARGOT KNUTH, Assistant Attorney General                                      
 Criminal Division                                                             
 Department of Law                                                             
 P.O. Box 110300                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-0300                                                         
 Telephone:  (907)  564-3428                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in favor of SB 14                              
 ELIZABETH ROBERTS, Legislative Aide                                           
   to Representative Bettye Davis                                              
 State Capitol, Room 430                                                       
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
 Telephone:  (907)  465-3875                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced HB 87                                         
 ELMER LINDSTROM, Special Assistant                                            
 Office of the Commissioner                                                    
 Department of Health and Social Services                                      
 P.O. Box 110600                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-0600                                                         
 Telephone:  (907)  465-3030                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 87                            
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
 BILL:  HB 234                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUDICATIONS                                     
 SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                  
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG                  ACTION                                   
 03/06/95       590    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 03/06/95       590    (H)   STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY                          
 03/06/95       591    (H)   14 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (ADM, DEC, F&G)              
 03/06/95       591    (H)   (DHSS, LABOR, LAW, DPS, DOT)                      
 03/06/95       591    (H)   (4-DCED, 2-DOE)                                   
 03/06/95       591    (H)   GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                     
 03/08/95       665    (H)   ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DNR) 3/8/95                     
 03/14/95              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 03/14/95              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 03/16/95              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 03/16/95              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 03/18/95              (H)   STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 03/18/95              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 03/20/95       810    (H)   STA RPT  3DP 1NR                                  
 03/20/95       810    (H)   DP: JAMES, GREEN, ROBINSON                        
 03/20/95       810    (H)   NR: IVAN                                          
 03/20/95       810    (H)   14 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (4-DCED, 2-DOE)              
 03/20/95       810    (H)   (ADM, DEC, F&G, DHSS, LABOR, LAW, DPS)            
 03/20/95       810    (H)   (DOT) 3/6/95                                      
 03/20/95       810    (H)   ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DNR) 3/8/95                     
 03/31/95              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 03/31/95              (H)   MINUTES(JUD)                                      
 BILL:  SB 14                                                                
 SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) LEMAN, Halford, Miller, Pearce, Taylor,                
             Kelly, Green                                                      
 REPRESENTATIVE(S) Finkelstein, Toohey                                         
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG                  ACTION                                   
 01/06/95        16    (S)   PREFILE RELEASED 1/6/95                           
 01/16/95        17    (S)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/16/95        17    (S)   JUD, FIN                                          
 02/01/95              (S)   JUD AT 01:45 PM BELTZ ROOM 211                    
 02/01/95              (S)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 02/03/95       166    (S)   COSPONSOR: MILLER                                 
 02/06/95              (S)   JUD AT 01:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211                    
 02/06/95              (S)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 02/08/95              (S)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 02/15/95              (S)   JUD AT 01:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211                    
 02/22/95              (S)   JUD AT 01:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211                    
 02/27/95              (S)   JUD AT 01:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211                    
 02/27/95              (S)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 03/01/95              (S)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 03/06/95       491    (S)   JUD RPT  CS  1DP 3NR      SAME TITLE              
 03/06/95       491    (S)   FISCAL NOTES TO SB (COURT #1, CORR #4)            
 03/06/95       491    (S)   ZERO FNS TO SB (DPS #2, #3, LAW #5)               
 03/06/95       491    (S)   FNS TO CS (COURT #6, DPS #7, LAW #10)             
 03/06/95       491    (S)   ZERO FNS TO CS (DPS #8, CORR #9)                  
 03/15/95       617    (S)   FIN RPT  4DP 3NR (JUD)CS                          
 03/15/95       617    (S)   FN  (ADM #11)                                     
 03/15/95       617    (S)   PREVIOUS FNS (COURT #6, DPS #7, LAW               
 03/15/95       617    (S)   PREVIOUS ZERO FNS (DPS #8, CORR #9)               
 03/15/95              (S)   FIN AT 09:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                
 03/15/95              (S)   MINUTE(FIN)                                       
 03/16/95              (S)   RLS AT 12:00 PM FAHRENKAMP ROOM 203               
 03/16/95              (S)   MINUTE(RLS)                                       
 03/20/95       697    (S)   RULES TO CALENDAR  3/20/95                        
 03/20/95       703    (S)   READ THE SECOND TIME                              
 03/20/95       703    (S)   JUD  CS ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT                      
 03/20/95       703    (S)   COSPONSOR(S)  PEARCE, TAYLOR,                     
 03/20/95       703    (S)   KELLY, GREEN                                      
 03/20/95       703    (S)   ADVANCED TO THIRD READING UNAN CONSENT            
 03/20/95       703    (S)   READ THE THIRD TIME  CSSB 14(JUD)                 
 03/20/95       704    (S)   PASSED Y18 N- E2                                  
 03/20/95       709    (S)   TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                
 03/22/95       833    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 03/22/95       833    (H)   JUDICIARY, FINANCE                                
 03/22/95       869    (H)   CROSS SPONSOR(S): FINKELSTEIN                     
 03/24/95       920    (H)   CROSS SPONSOR(S): TOOHEY                          
 04/03/95              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 BILL:  HB 87                                                                
 SHORT TITLE: AUTHORIZING YOUTH COURTS                                         
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) B.DAVIS,Davies,Robinson,Brown,James             
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG                  ACTION                                   
 01/17/95        51    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/17/95        51    (H)   HES, JUD, FIN                                     
 01/18/95        76    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): DAVIES                              
 02/06/95       256    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): ROBINSON                            
 03/23/95              (H)   HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 03/23/95              (H)   MINUTE(HES)                                       
 03/24/95       889    (H)   HES RPT 6DP                                       
 03/24/95       889    (H)   DP: G.DAVIS, BUNDE, ROKEBERG, TOOHEY              
 03/24/95       889    (H)   DP: ROBINSON, BRICE                               
 03/24/95       889    (H)   4 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (COURT, 3-DHSS)               
 04/03/95              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 BILL:  HB 201                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: PRISONER LITIGATION AND APPEALS                                  
 SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                  
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG                  ACTION                                   
 02/27/95       488    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/27/95       488    (H)   STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY, FINANCE                 
 02/27/95       488    (H)   3 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (LAW, CORR, DPS)              
 02/27/95       488    (H)   2 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (ADM)                         
 02/27/95       488    (H)   GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                     
 03/07/95              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 03/07/95              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 03/14/95              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 03/14/95              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 03/16/95              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 03/16/95              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 03/18/95              (H)   STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 03/18/95              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 03/20/95       807    (H)   STA RPT  3DP 1NR                                  
 03/20/95       807    (H)   DP: JAMES, GREEN, ROBINSON                        
 03/20/95       807    (H)   NR: IVAN                                          
 03/20/95       808    (H)   3 ZERO FNS (LAW, CORR, DPS) 2/27/95               
 03/20/95       808    (H)   2 ZERO FNS (ADM) 2/27/95                          
 03/27/95              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 03/27/95              (H)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 03/29/95              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 03/29/95              (H)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 04/03/95              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
 TAPE 95-41, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
 The House Judiciary Standing Committee was called to order at 1:05            
 p.m. on Monday, April 3, 1995.  A quorum was present.                         
 Representatives Davis, Finkelstein, and Green were absent.                    
 CHAIRMAN BRIAN PORTER stated that the following bills would be                
 heard:  HB 234, SB 14, and HB 87.  He announced that HB 201 was               
 pulled off of the schedule for further changes.  He also mentioned            
 that at the last meeting, when the committee passed out HB 125,               
 they had attached a fiscal note from the Court System, which was              
 actually nullified, because the committee substitute took the Court           
 System out of the loop.  The courts did not have any part in                  
 juvenile records notification, and therefore would not have a                 
 fiscal note.  With the committee's permission, he would not forward           
 that fiscal note on, which is now irrelevant.                                 
 HB 234 - ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUDICATIONS                                       
 TERESA WILLIAMS, Assistant Attorney General, Commercial Section,              
 Civil Division, Department of Law testified via teleconference.  It           
 is the position of the Administration that administrative                     
 adjudications should be faster and less costly to the parties and             
 to the state than court proceedings are.  Current provisions, which           
 are confusing and archaic, can cause delay.  She said the changes             
 were run through the Executive Committee of the Alaska Bar                    
 Association.  At that meeting, it was found that these changes                
 would be a major improvement, and would provide a great deal of               
 clarity.  One change would replace registered mail with certified             
 mail.  The provision for witness assistance has changed. Back in              
 1959, apparently $15 per day was adequate.                                    
 MS. WILLIAMS suggested the following change:  On page 3, line 17,             
 instead of the word `subsistence', change it to `food and lodging'.           
 That will eliminate any question that we are talking about fishing            
 rights here.  The discovery provision gives the agencies the                  
 discretion to allow reasonable discovery.  The agencies currently             
 only have the authorization to give reconsideration for 30 days               
 after a decision is entered.  Here we have used a comparable court            
 rule that says you have 15 days instead of 30 days, giving the                
 agency 15 days to reconvene and to give reconsideration to the                
 CHAIRMAN BRIAN PORTER asked Ms. Williams if changing subsistence to           
 food and lodging would include transportation costs.                          
 MS. WILLIAMS answered that transportation costs are addressed in              
 Section 2, starting at line 11.  She noted the word `subsistence'             
 is used on line 26 as well.                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY asked Ms. Williams about the 14 zero            
 fiscal notes.  She understood that to mean that this will not cost            
 anything more than it is costing already.                                     
 MS. WILLIAMS replied that is correct.                                         
 REPRESENTATIVE AL VEZEY felt this new language would take an                  
 extremely archaic statute and make it a little less archaic, but              
 archaic still.  He thought the language mandating where hearings              
 would be held was cumbersome.  He thought that language should be             
 made simpler.  It seems to require unnecessary traveling expenses.            
 He thought it should be in Juneau if it is in the First Judicial              
 District, Anchorage if in the Third Judicial District, and                    
 Fairbanks, unless agreed to by the parties otherwise.                         
 Number 300                                                                    
 MS. WILLIAMS did not have a position on that one way or the other.            
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said without the ability to talk to some of the               
 departments that hold these hearings, they at least have the                  
 ability to allow the parties to agree on a mutually acceptable                
 site, so short of hearing of any problems with it, he would be                
 hesitant to change it at this point.                                          
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked another question on the whole                      
 Administrative Procedures Act (APA).  Why don't we adopt or                   
 coordinate with the rules of uniform arbitration in Title IX?                 
 MS. WILLIAMS said that at some point, some wholesale changes will             
 be necessary to the APA, but the changes in this bill are ones that           
 could be made quickly, and that have a zero fiscal note.  In fact,            
 they will save the state money.  We needed changes we could make              
 quickly, recognizing we were going to eventually have to take a               
 much more serious look at the APA.  That is an excellent idea for             
 us to be looking at later, but she felt it would slow this bill               
 down if they tried to craft something like that at this point.                
 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE made a motion to adopt Amendment Number 1,           
 which would change the word `subsistence' to `food and lodging' on            
 page 3, lines 17 and 26.  Seeing no objection, it was so ordered.             
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY made a motion to pass HB 234 out of committee           
 with individual recommendations and zero fiscal notes.  Seeing no             
 objection, CSHB 234(JUD) moved out of committee.                              
 Number 370                                                                    
 SB 14 - INCREASED PENALTIES FOR JOYRIDING                                   
 MARY VOLENDORF, Administrative Assistant to Senator Leman, sponsor            
 of CSSB 14(JUD), described the bill.  This bill was introduced                
 because of a recent increase in auto theft, especially in urban               
 areas, and the lack of convictions.  Under the current law, this              
 type of joyriding is a class A misdemeanor, and for a second                  
 offense, it is a class C felony.  Joyriding is commonly associated            
 with juveniles, and SB 14 targets that group.  Juveniles account              
 for many of the joyriding offenses.  Without SB 14, there is no               
 means to prosecute juveniles for this crime.  Instead, they are               
 brought into the juvenile system and no real penalty is inflicted.            
 Although locking juveniles away for this offense is not necessarily           
 the answer, this is a good start in making them responsible for               
 their actions.  The juvenile would be prosecuted, charged and                 
 sentenced the same as an adult would.  More importantly, the                  
 juvenile will also be responsible for paying restitution to the               
 victim.  This bill will help decrease the number of vehicles stolen           
 and the tremendous dollar losses by insurance companies and the               
 victims of theft.                                                             
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if the age of majority in Alaska was 21            
 for felonies.                                                                 
 CHAIRMAN PORTER answered it is 18.                                            
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY did not understand the purpose of this.                  
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said their was someone from the Department of Law             
 who could answer questions.                                                   
 Number 425                                                                    
 MARGOT KNUTH, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division,                  
 Department of Law, came forward to testify on the substantive                 
 issues of this bill.  She said the Department of Law supports SB
 14.  In Anchorage there has been an explosion of car theft                    
 offenses.  The number of incidents has doubled in a two year time             
 period.  There are now 2,000 to 3,000 car thefts per year.                    
 Anything related to those thefts is going to cost the state money.            
 This bill started out simply raising the offense of joyriding to a            
 felony for even a first offense.  The Department of Law was                   
 concerned about taking that approach for several reasons.  One is             
 that it costs substantially more to prosecute felonies, and the               
 second is that we have finally realized that approximately one half           
 of the offenders here are juveniles, and to increase an offense to            
 a felony level does not address the juvenile problem at all.  What            
 it does is put a burden on Health and Social Services to have                 
 petitions to have adjudications filed for a property offense. This            
 is fairly low on the spectrum of offenses that juvenile delinquency           
 proceedings have resources to deal with, so our proposal was to try           
 to realistically deal with the juvenile offenders by reducing the             
 age of majority for this offense.                                             
 MS. KNUTH stated this is meant to be a deterrent bill rather than             
 a punitive bill.  Our purpose is to try to catch the attention of             
 juveniles who are committing these offenses with an emphasis on               
 restitution and revocation of driving privileges.  Currently, until           
 you reach 18 years of age, you are being handled through Health and           
 Social Services in juvenile matters, and very little is happening             
 because of the tremendous resource difficulties they have.  This              
 would allow kids to be cited by officers, or complaints could be              
 filled out by district attorneys that would bring them into                   
 district court, were they will be brought before a judge who, we              
 hope, will impress them with the seriousness of the offense.  We do           
 not expect jail time to be imposed for this age group.  We do not             
 feel that is appropriate.  It is an option.                                   
 MS. KNUTH said the legislature has been addressing joyriding                  
 progressively for several years, and one of the first things that             
 was done, is that second offenses became felonies.  Another thing             
 that was done is there was a mandatory jail sentence, even for                
 first offenders, and as the problem has been growing, so have the             
 efforts to address it.  For juveniles, we have taken out the                  
 mandatory jail sentence, which is three days.  That is in Section             
 3 of SB 14.  A mandatory minimum three days sentence will apply               
 only for juveniles who are 18 years of age or older.  A judge could           
 order a juvenile to incarceration time which would be served in a             
 detention facility, but not in a jail with other adults.  It is an            
 option, but it would not be appropriate if this is a first offense            
 for the juvenile.  It is a property offense.  The emphasis should             
 be on deterrence and rehabilitation instead.  What we would expect            
 is Suspended Imposition of Sentences (SIS) to be granted to these             
 juveniles with an order of restitution.  With an SIS hanging over             
 a kid's head, that will provide a motivation for making restitution           
 that has probably been lacking in the juvenile proceedings simply             
 because of the work load that they have and the limited resources.            
 We have also taken out for the juvenile offenders that a second               
 offense is an automatic felony, and instead, as long as the                   
 juvenile is under the age of 18, these offenses are misdemeanors.             
 When they do turn 18, any joyriding offense they have will count as           
 the first offense, and for the very next offense they commit over             
 the age of 18, they will be subject to the felony provisions.  If             
 we have an unusual case in which the kid has a long record of                 
 problems like this, (most joyriding offenses do involve some damage           
 to the vehicle or loss of use), there is a criminal mischief                  
 provision that says if more than $500 damage is done or economic              
 loss is sustained, then that is a separate form of criminal                   
 mischief, and that is being left open as an offense that is being             
 pursued against the juvenile that could go into the felony                    
 disposition.  That would go through Health and Social Services'               
 juvenile delinquency proceedings.                                             
 MS. KNUTH mentioned that also you could charge it as just theft of            
 property valued at over $500; and that could also be on that felony           
 track, if an unusual case where it seemed to be appropriate.  In              
 the majority of circumstances, it is a crime of opportunity.  A               
 great many of these offenses have been committed when keys have               
 been left in the car, or it has been otherwise easy to do, and it             
 was not a premeditated thing.  We do not have a lot of juvenile car           
 rings, who are dedicated to an economic crime.  We believe that by            
 revocation of driving privileges, by emphasizing restitution, we              
 are creating the potential that this will result in a conviction on           
 the record if an SIS is not completed satisfactorily.  We hope to             
 finally start deterring more of these offenses and we hope to see             
 a reduction in the number of joyriding offenses.  Anchorage has one           
 half of all the offenses that are occurring statewide.  As a                  
 misdemeanor offense, the state will still be prosecuting unless the           
 municipality of Anchorage amends its ordinance so that they can               
 prosecute somebody under the age of 18.  She expected their                   
 ordinance to be limited to adult offenders at this point.                     
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY asked if there was any requirement for a cost           
 to receive the drivers license back again in this bill.                       
 MS. KNUTH answered that the revocation would be the same as it is             
 now, so the reinstatement of the license would fall under existing            
 law, which does have that requirement.                                        
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY said SB 14 will be almost impossible to pass            
 with this high of a fiscal note, but the state desperately needs              
 this law.  She suggested taking away their permanent fund dividend            
 MS. KNUTH said there is that option, but she was not sure the                 
 assumption could be made that the person would be eligible for the            
 PFD.  Her first choice for use of the PFD would be for restitution,           
 and that would not be reflected in the fiscal notes.                          
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVID FINKELSTEIN mentioned that the movement of               
 money would not flow in only one direction.  It would not only flow           
 from the state to the program, but from the juveniles paying                  
 restitution back out into the community.  We do not weigh that                
 factor into the fiscal notes.  Sometimes when we pass these bills,            
 the fiscal notes do not always make it into the budget.  He feared            
 that may happen in this case.  He felt the fiscal note was high,              
 but inappropriate.  If we want to enforce the law, it is going to             
 cost a little bit of money.  Many people in his district feels this           
 is a priority.                                                                
 Number 600                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE said his constituents are clearly irritated              
 that car theft is "joyriding."  Car theft is a pretty serious                 
 crime.  Kids are renting stolen cars from each other.  He felt it             
 should be grand theft auto, and he would be willing to pay the                
 fiscal note on that.  This bill is only a slap on the hand.  The              
 problem of using the PFD, is that if the perpetrator decides not to           
 apply for his PFD, the victim gets nothing.                                   
 MS. KNUTH said for the under 18 age group, the license revocation             
 is going to be meaningful.  One half of joyriding offense are                 
 committed by juveniles under age 18.  It may be too little too                
 late, but it also may not be.  The state is very wary of treating             
 those under 18 as adults for criminal offenses, and she did not               
 feel this would represent a new direction or trend.  The Department           
 of Law as a whole, believes that our criminal justice system is set           
 up appropriately.  The age of responsibility is 18.  You will not             
 see us coming in and taking this approach for other types of                  
 offenses, but for this particular offense, it seems worth                     
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said the bill also provides the ability to charge             
 the kids who are in the car with the person behind the wheel, so              
 there is additional incentive to stay away from those kinds of                
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked Ms. Knuth if she saw this bill working             
 together with the bill passed previously which would hold parents             
 of the juvenile responsible for up to $10,000 damage.                         
 MS. KNUTH said yes, she does.  If you can motivate parents through            
 this economic sanction to exercise more control, that would be a              
 good thing.  At least we will get restitution for the victims in              
 these cases.                                                                  
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY asked if a juvenile can be charged with a               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER answered that a juvenile can be charged with any              
 criminal offense, depending on which court jurisdiction they are              
 into.  We are excluding them from being charged with a felony under           
 this bill, but there are options.                                             
 Number 825                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked Ms. Knuth if juveniles are tried in                
 adult court if they violate this law under current statute.                   
 MS. KNUTH answered yes, under this bill.                                      
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY thought she had said the purpose of this bill            
 was so that they would not be charged as adults.                              
 MS. KNUTH apologized for the confusion.  It is so that they would             
 be, because right now they are only being handled by the Division             
 of Family and Youth Services.  The purpose of this bill is to                 
 instead send them to district court as an adult charged with a                
 misdemeanor.  Section 6 of the bill refers to AS 47.10.010 and that           
 is the juvenile jurisdiction statute.  What Section 6 says is that            
 if you are a minor accused of violating this now, we are adding to            
 it, criminal mischief, joyriding.  That is what the two new                   
 provisions are here.  Then the procedures of juvenile delinquency             
 of AS 47.10.010, may not be followed, except that a parent,                   
 guardian, or legal custodian shall be present at all proceedings.             
 The minor accused of the offense specified in the subsection shall            
 be charged, prosecuted, and sentenced in the district court in the            
 same manner as an adult.  That is the section of the bill making              
 that change that says, "You, who were treated as a juvenile, will             
 now be treated as an adult for joyriding."  One of them is simply             
 joyriding, and the other is for the passengers in the car.                    
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if he was correct in saying we are                 
 making the change here to bring a juvenile misdemeanor into adult             
 MS. KNUTH answered that is correct.                                           
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said that means we are taking persons under              
 age 18 out of the category of a felony.                                       
 MS. KNUTH said that is correct.                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said that is where he is lost.                           
 MS. KNUTH clarified this.  The reason is essentially philosophical.           
 We do not think it is appropriate to treat, as an adult, somebody             
 who is 14, 15, or 16 years old on a felony offense, for a property            
 offense, not a crime of violence, and to have all of the                      
 consequences of a felony conviction happening to somebody who is              
 under the age of responsibility in most circumstances.  It is such            
 a big step away from what our current practice is, to be facing               
 adult consequences on a misdemeanor offense where the emphasis is             
 on deterrence, license revocation, and restitution.  It is a big              
 TAPE 95-41, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
 MS. KNUTH continued to say that the only offense we have automatic            
 waivers for are only for 16 years and older, and they are for                 
 murder or class A felony offenses against a person.  We have a very           
 small category of automatic waivers into adult court.                         
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said it seems like we are taking away an option,              
 because we are being told that now this would mean an automatic               
 waiver situation, and he did not see that, frankly.  In the section           
 for a second offense of joyriding becoming a felony, as the law               
 exists now, a juvenile offender who was charged for the second                
 offense of joyriding, could be adjudicated as a felon through the             
 juvenile court system.                                                        
 MS. KNUTH said that was correct.                                              
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said we are now removing the ability to do that.              
 MS. KNUTH said the Department of Law does not have any opposition             
 to the concept he was putting forward, but the Legal Services                 
 drafted it that way.                                                          
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said we were told that we have to do that because             
 otherwise the wording we have added someplace else would make this            
 become an automatic waiver into adult court for juveniles in this             
 circumstance.  He did not feel that would be right at all.                    
 MS. KNUTH said her one thought on that is that if it were a second            
 offense, and we did want to prosecute them in district court.                 
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said first of all we could not do that because it             
 is a felony, and that would be heard in superior court.                       
 MS. KNUTH answered that he was exactly right.  She would hate for             
 district court to be the most effective place to have these kids,             
 and to lose the ability to send them there because now they have to           
 go to the Division of Family and Youth Services (DFYS) on a felony            
 that DFYS cannot do very much about, because with their limited               
 resources.  They have to be dealing with guns on school grounds and           
 serious assaults.  That may have been the consideration for Legal             
 Services.  They may have wanted a way by which we could keep going            
 back to district court, because at that point, district court can             
 impose jail.  They have a broader panoply of sanctions available to           
 them than DFYS does.                                                          
 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked Ms. Knuth if the committee removed Section 1            
 from the bill and it passed, would a minor who was apprehended in             
 his/her second joyriding offense be charged with a felony, as an              
 MS. KNUTH thought not.  She thought they could under charge and say           
 that we were treating them as if it were their first offense.                 
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said that is the same as it currently is.  Under              
 existing law, if a juvenile was apprehended on their second                   
 joyriding offense, they could be charged with a felony through the            
 juvenile system.  If we took this section out, they still could.              
 MS. KNUTH said the questions would be, "Could we under charge them,           
 as a first offender, and make them go to district court, as an                
 adult?"  She believed the answer is yes, so we would have two                 
 options available.                                                            
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE wished to hear from the bill sponsor's                   
 representative as to why this was initially included in the bill.             
 He wondered what the rationale was.                                           
 MS. VOLENDORF understood that they would have the language in there           
 for the person 18 years of age and older, just so that an adult               
 would be charged with a class A felony, and it would give                     
 discretion to the prosecution to charge a juvenile with either a              
 felony in the juvenile delinquency court, or with a class A                   
 misdemeanor again, in district court.  In taking that out, she                
 guessed that a juvenile could be charged with a class A felony.               
 Number 150                                                                    
 MS. KNUTH said if you look at Section 6, the offense is 11.46.484             
 (a),(2), which is the joyriding offense.  She and the first bill              
 drafter, Jerry Luckhaupt, agreed that Section 6 is waiving you as             
 an adult for (a),(2), which is the joyriding offense.  Paragraph              
 (c) is just a sentencing provision, and it is not a different                 
 crime, it just states what you do given the same crime, as to                 
 whether the sentence will be a misdemeanor or a felony.  It would             
 automatically waive a juvenile if it were a second 484 (a),(2)                
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked if the last three lines shed light on              
 the subject.  "The minor accused of the offense specified in this             
 subsection shall be charged and prosecuted as an adult."                      
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said, no, that only applies to this subsection.               
 Number 180                                                                    
 MS. KNUTH said we initially had a new crime called "juvenile                  
 joyriding" which was parallel, and Legal Services merged it with              
 the existing statute.  To answer your question, there is a way to             
 create the option of a juvenile delinquency for a second offense as           
 a felony, but it would not be simply by removing Section 1.  They             
 would have to do some other drafting to take care of that problem.            
 CHAIRMAN PORTER did not think the bill sponsor intended what Ms.              
 Knuth was describing for Section 1 to do.  He asked Ms. Volendorf             
 if that was correct.                                                          
 MS. VOLENDORF answered that it was fine with Senator Leman to have            
 them charged with a class A misdemeanor each time, even on a                  
 repetitive offense until they turn 18.                                        
 MS. KNUTH said it was upon the Department of Law's assurance that             
 we could charge them with a felony and go that route by using one             
 of the other options.                                                         
 CHAIRMAN PORTER mentioned that there are two other elements of a              
 felony that a juvenile could be charged with, but what we are doing           
 is allowing juveniles to be charged as adults for a misdemeanor               
 crime, whereas, currently, what they are getting is what can amount           
 to a letter of reprimand three to six months later from DFYS, which           
 is not accomplishing a thing.  Also keep in mind that joyriding is            
 joyriding, whether it is a juvenile or an adult, and a 25-year old            
 who is caught joyriding is still just joyriding, unless these other           
 elements come into effect - economic damage over $500, it is still            
 just a misdemeanor crime.                                                     
 MS. KNUTH said this is an incremental approach, and if treating               
 joyriding as a misdemeanor turns out not to be the answer, she has            
 no doubt that the legislature will be motivated to revisit the                
 issue.  We may decide later that more measures are appropriate.               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE made a motion to move CSSB 14(JUD) out of                
 committee with individual recommendations and fiscal notes as                 
 attached.  Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.                           
 HB 87 - AUTHORIZING YOUTH COURTS                                            
 Number 350                                                                    
 ELIZABETH ROBERTS, Legislative Aide to Representative Bettye Davis,           
 bill sponsor, introduced HB 87.  She first mentioned the Close Up             
 students who came in by the dozens to visit Representative Bettye             
 Davis and to talk about this particular bill.  The Close Up                   
 students were told to select a bill that they wanted to be passed             
 more than any other bill this session.  HB 87 was it because the              
 concept of literally being tried by their peers sounded like real             
 democracy to them.  They felt that it took the grown-ups out of the           
 judging position and put the kids where the grown-ups had been                
 MS. ROBERTS informed the committee that youth courts have been in             
 effect in Anchorage since 1989.  It is an extremely successful                
 program.  Of the youth court participants, 188 were given an award            
 by the American Bar Association and $5,000 was given to the program           
 for having the best youth court partnership system in the United              
 States.  It is an eight to ten week course in which all of the high           
 schools participate.  There are 248 students in the youth court               
 system at the moment who act as judges, jurors, prosecutors, and              
 defense attorneys.  It not only helps the defendant by allowing               
 him/her to be tried by his peers, and then not have anything on his           
 record, but it enables the students who are participating in youth            
 courts to get a real idea of what democracy in government and the             
 court system is all  about.  This legislation carries a zero fiscal           
 note.  It is ideally suited for rural Alaska, because either one              
 community or several communities can participate.  You can have as            
 many as 500 kids or as few as 30 involved.                                    
 MS. ROBERTS stated that the first youth court started in 1983 in              
 Augusta, Texas and is still running.  There are four others, but              
 Anchorage has the most sophisticated one.  It is the only one where           
 the students are the judge, the jury, and the prosecutors.  They              
 have their own constitution and bylaws, and they meet quarterly               
 with various adult judges and pro-bono attorneys to talk about                
 fiscal responsibility and to plan their caseload.  They have a                
 youth bar association that meets weekly to discuss issues.  They              
 have to pass a test to be admitted into this association.  This               
 does not cost any money, generates a great deal of community                  
 enthusiasm, has a recidivism rate of 50 percent less than kids who            
 go through the regular juvenile system, gives the defendant a                 
 second chance, and it works well.  It has been working in Anchorage           
 for six years.  Juneau is already discussing the possibility of               
 having one.  It is a nice bill which helps a lot of people and does           
 not cause any problems.                                                       
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY mentioned to the committee members who were             
 not on the HESS Committee, that they saw a very interesting film              
 supporting this bill.  She felt it had a lot of merit and urged               
 passage of HB 87.                                                             
 ELMER LINDSTROM, Special Assistant, Office of the Commissioner,               
 Department of Health and Social Services, stated that the                     
 department supports HB 87.  They have had success working with the            
 program in Anchorage.  The department has enjoyed success with the            
 youth model court in Anchorage as an alternative court process for            
 very young first time offenders who are arrested for less serious             
 offenses against property.  The model succeeded, for the most part,           
 as a function of the resources available in the Anchorage                     
 community.  The Department believes that the Anchorage program                
 could be replicated in other communities to the extent that there             
 is local community involvement that allows it to go forward.                  
 However, our relationship with the program is simply that of a                
 referral agency.  We do refer the juveniles to the program.                   
 Number 430                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked what the criteria for referral is in                    
 MR. LINDSTROM said he did not know in great detail, but he did know           
 it has to be a first offense and it has to be a very minor offense.           
 Usually they are offenses against property.  The DFYS would likely            
 send a letter of reprimand, sometimes far down the road in time.              
 This is an option that gets a youth's attention immediately and               
 some immediate reinforcement that what they did, they ought not to            
 have done.                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked if both the juvenile and the parents have to            
 agree to use the youth court system.                                          
 MR. LINDSTROM answered that yes, there has to be concurrence all              
 the way around to participate in the program.                                 
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked for examples and information on specific           
 cases that have been through the youth court.                                 
 MS. ROBERTS stated that the director of the youth court was not               
 able to release any details or any of the records of the defendants           
 who had been through youth court at this time.  They have been                
 having a small problem in Anchorage, because under the current                
 statutes, they do not have the ability to subpoena.  If someone               
 agrees to testify and then changes his mind, there is nothing a               
 youth court can do.  Under our bill, we have inserted the provision           
 for being able to subpoena a witness.                                         
 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked why this was being put into Title 18, rather            
 than Title 47.                                                                
 MS. ROBERTS said she did not know.                                            
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY noted that the bill drafter, Mr. Chenoweth,              
 had drafted it that way.                                                      
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said the bill goes to the Finance Committee next,             
 so he thought perhaps the sponsor could ask the drafter what the              
 rationale for that is.  He felt it would be more appropriate under            
 Title 47 rather than under Title 18.                                          
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY made a motion to move HB 87 out of committee            
 with individual recommendations and zero fiscal notes.  Hearing no            
 objection, it was so ordered.                                                 
 The House Judiciary Committee adjourned at 2:15 p.m.                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects