Legislature(1999 - 2000)
2000-02-11 House JournalFull Journal pdf
2000-02-11 House Journal Page 2177 HB 366 HOUSE BILL NO. 366 by the House Rules Committee by request of the Governor, entitled: "An Act relating to the rights of crime victims, the crime of violating a protective order or injunction, mitigating factors in sentencing for an offense, and the return of certain seized property to victims; expanding the scope of the prohibition of compromise based on civil remedy of misdemeanor crimes involving domestic violence; amending Rules 10, 11, 13, 16, and 17, Alaska District Court Rules of Civil Procedure and Rule 9, Alaska Rules of Administration." 2000-02-11 House Journal Page 2178 HB 366 was read the first time and referred to the Judiciary and Finance Committees. The following fiscal notes apply: Indeterminate fiscal note, Dept. of Administration, 2/11/00 Indeterminate fiscal note, Dept. of Corrections, 2/11/00 Zero fiscal note, Dept. of Law, 2/11/00 Zero fiscal note, Dept. of Public Safety, 2/11/00 The Governor's transmittal letter dated February 10, 2000, appears below: "Dear Speaker Porter: The Victims' Rights Amendment (art. I, sec. 24, of the Alaska Constitution) was approved by 87 percent of Alaskan voters, and has been in effect since December 30, 1994. Since then, our knowledge of both the difficulties that a crime victim suffers and efforts to minimize the effects of victimization continues to grow. This bill I am transmitting today results from this increased knowledge. It contains four proposals, which are described in further detail below. Allowing a mitigated presumptive sentence for speedy no contest or guilty pleas; Simplifying procedures for victims to recover stolen property; Establishing a crime for violating protective injunctions in child in need of aid cases; Extending current disallowance of civil compromise in some domestic violence cases to all domestic violence cases. Mitigated Presumptive Sentences. The bill allows the court to mitigate a presumptive sentence when the defendant pleads no contest or guilty within 30 days after being charged. The reasoning is that early admission on the part of the defendant relieves the victim of some of the suffering involved in long, drawn out court procedures. This concept has already been recognized by the courts as a non-statutory mitigating factor. State v. McKinney, 946 P.2d 456 (Alaska 1997). 2000-02-11 House Journal Page 2179 HB 366 Recovering Stolen Property. The bill establishes a simplified procedure for theft victims to recover property that is in the possession of a law enforcement agency after having been recovered from a pawnshop or secondhand dealer. The current process is based on federal procedure and requires the victim to initiate formal legal proceedings to recover property. Under this less formal procedure, the victim could file a petition in state court supported by affidavit of ownership. The pawnshop or secondhand dealer can file a response supported by affidavit. Ownership may then be decided based on the information in the affidavits. Protective Injunction Violations. Alaska law authorizes the court to issue a protective injunction in child in need of aid (CINA) proceedings that orders perpetrators to stay away from a child. These are similar to protective orders in domestic violence cases. Unlike domestic violence protective orders, however, it is not a separate crime to violate a protective injunction for a child in a CINA proceeding. The bill corrects this unjust inconsistency by making it a class A misdemeanor for a perpetrator to violate the CINA injunction. Civil Compromise in Domestic Violence Cases. Alaska allows a person charged with a misdemeanor that harms a person or property to enter into a civil compromise by agreeing to pay the victim for personal costs, such as medical expenses or property damage. If the victim appears in court and acknowledges in writing that the defendant has paid the damages, the court may dismiss the charges, even if the prosecution objects to the dismissal. There are several exceptions in the statute allowing for civil compromise. One of the exceptions disallows compromise of cases between spouses and former spouses, or persons living together in a family or spousal relationship. The exception does not, however, include all domestic violence crimes. For example, it does not include domestic violence by a person who lived with another person if the court determines that the relationship was not a spousal relationship. This bill extends the disallowance of civil compromise to all cases involving domestic violence as defined in the Domestic Violence Prevention and Victim Protection Act of 1996. Civil compromise is not appropriate in domestic violence cases. This bill ensures that it will not occur. 2000-02-11 House Journal Page 2180 HB 366 This bill continues the state's efforts to better protect victims of crimes and deserves your favorable consideration. Sincerely, /s/ Tony Knowles Governor"