Legislature(1999 - 2000)

02/23/2000 01:17 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
HB 366 - CRIME VICTIMS RIGHTS & DOMESTIC VIOLENCE                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT announced that the next item of business would be                                                                 
HOUSE BILL NO. 366, "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."  [The bill had been introduced by                                                              
the House Rules Committee at the request of the Governor.]                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 0663                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ANNE CARPENETI, Assistant Attorney General, Legal Services Section-                                                             
Juneau, Criminal Division, Department of Law, came forward on                                                                   
behalf of the Governor to present HB 366.  She explained that this                                                              
is a cleanup bill in a sense.  It takes care of four areas that                                                                 
have been problematic in terms of victims in Alaska.  She said she                                                              
would describe those briefly and then answer any questions.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. CARPENETI reported that the first area deals with consequences                                                              
for violation of a protective injunction in a children's case.                                                                  
Title 47 allows a court to enjoin an adult from having contact with                                                             
a child if there is established the fact that the adult has                                                                     
sexually or physically abused the child or has put the child in                                                                 
serious danger.  Currently there are no consequences other than                                                                 
contempt of court.  As in a violation of a protective order in a                                                                
domestic violence (DV) case, the bill provides that it is a class                                                               
A misdemeanor to violate a court order that a person not contact a                                                              
child after a finding that the person has caused sexual or physical                                                             
abuse to the child.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. CARPENETI explained that second, the bill adopts a less formal                                                              
procedure for an owner of property, which was seized by the police                                                              
from a pawnbroker, to get it back when the pawnbroker wants a                                                                   
hearing because of uncertainty as to who is the owner.  Right now,                                                              
the alleged owner has to file a lawsuit.  This bill adopts a                                                                    
procedure by which a person can file a form supported by an                                                                     
affidavit; it also gives the pawnbroker an opportunity to be heard                                                              
and to file a supporting affidavit.  To get property back under                                                                 
these circumstances, therefore, one doesn't have to hire a lawyer                                                               
and participate in a lawsuit.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 0780                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. CARPENETI advised members that third, the bill cleans up                                                                    
something that she believes was overlooked in 1996 when the                                                                     
legislature adopted the domestic violence and victim protection                                                                 
Act.  She explained:                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     We tried, in those cases, to go back into the statutes                                                                     
     outside Title 11 and outside Title 18, where there are                                                                     
     ... family relationships described, and just use the                                                                       
     definition of "domestic violence."  In this particular                                                                     
     case, right now ... our statutes allow for civil                                                                           
     compromise of certain misdemeanors, and that is when ...                                                                   
     the defendant and the victim come in and say, "We've                                                                       
     compromised this case; would you please dismiss it,                                                                        
     judge?"  And it's not an appropriate thing in domestic                                                                     
     violence cases, just because of the power and the                                                                          
     manipulation that's a part of that offense.  So although                                                                   
     ... the current statute does forbid civil compromise in                                                                    
     most of our domestic violence relationships, it doesn't                                                                    
     include all of them.  So we have ... in this bill                                                                          
     substituted a crime involving domestic violence for these                                                                  
     particular relationships.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. CARPENETI reported that fourth, the bill adopts a mitigating                                                                
factor - which has already been recognized by the courts as a                                                                   
nonstatutory mitigator - when a defendant in a criminal case                                                                    
behaves in a way that mitigates the crime's effect on the victim by                                                             
pleading guilty within 30 days after the defendant is arraigned.                                                                
She concluded that these are not major changes in law but are                                                                   
cleanups.  This adopts it as a statutory mitigator rather than a                                                                
nonstatutory mitigator, which would require that the case be sent                                                               
to a three-judge panel for sentencing if the court were to consider                                                             
that particular factor.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 0899                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT asked whether there were any questions and whether                                                                
anyone else wanted to testify; there was no interest shown.  He                                                                 
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked Chairman Kott whether he had                                                                      
contacted any pawnbrokers about this bill.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT said no and added that he assumes they are okay with                                                              
it.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 0940                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN made a motion to move HB 366 out of the                                                                    
committee with individual recommendations and the attached zero                                                                 
fiscal note(s).  There being no objection, it was so ordered and HB                                                             
366 was moved from the House Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                      

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