Legislature(1999 - 2000)

2000-02-11 House Journal

Full 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                     

2000-02-11                     House Journal                      Page 2178
HB 366                                                                       
was read the first time and referred to the Judiciary and Finance              
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             
"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.                                     
							Tony Knowles