Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/18/2003 10:45 AM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 85 - REPEAT SERIOUS SEX OFFENSES                                                                                           
[Contains  adoption of  HCR 23  for the  purpose of  changing the                                                               
title of SB 85.]                                                                                                                
Number 0582                                                                                                                     
CHAIR McGUIRE announced that the  next order of business would be                                                               
CS FOR  SENATE BILL NO.  85(STA), "An Act relating  to sentencing                                                               
and to  the earning  of good time  deductions for  certain sexual                                                               
Number 0556                                                                                                                     
SENATOR HOLLIS  FRENCH, Alaska  State Legislature,  sponsor, said                                                               
that SB  85 is  designed to  do two  things.   One, it  will take                                                               
repeat sex offenders, those individuals  who've been convicted of                                                               
qualifying  prior felony  sex crimes,  and  put them  into a  new                                                               
sentencing range - a more severe  sentencing range.  Two, it will                                                               
take  away the  "good time"  [sentence reduction]  of those  same                                                               
individuals,  those  repeat  sex  offenders.   He  remarked  that                                                               
currently, the law does not account  for the type of prior felony                                                               
a person is convicted of.                                                                                                       
[Tape ends early; no testimony is missing.]                                                                                     
TAPE 03-72, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 0015                                                                                                                     
SENATOR FRENCH  went on to say  that currently, if one  is a two-                                                               
time felon, and  the second felony is a rape  conviction, the law                                                               
makes  no distinction.   He  offered his  belief that  a two-time                                                               
rapist is not the same as  any other two-time felon; he/she needs                                                               
to  be  put  in  a   separate,  more  stringent  category.    The                                                               
sentencing scheme outlined  in SB 85 is intended  to address that                                                               
concern.   He remarked  that for  the past  26 years,  Alaska has                                                               
been at the top, nationwide, for  reported rapes.  Although SB 85                                                               
is not the entire answer,  it will put hardcore, repeat offenders                                                               
away for longer  periods of time.  In response  to a question, he                                                               
said  that  nationwide,  about 10-25  percent  of  convicted  sex                                                               
offenders will  go on to commit  and be convicted of  another sex                                                               
offense within about five years of their first conviction.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE HOLM surmised  that SB 85 is  addressing the issue                                                               
of predators,  and opined  that there is  a difference  between a                                                               
sex offender and a rapist and that  the two are not the same.  He                                                               
said he would like to have  those terms defined a little bit, and                                                               
that he wanted  to know how many people are  rapists and how many                                                               
people are just perverts.                                                                                                       
CHAIR  McGUIRE said  she strongly  disagrees with  Representative                                                               
Holm, adding that  rapists are predators and are  among the worst                                                               
of  people and  it  is therefore  irrelevant  whether the  person                                                               
being taken  advantage of  sexually is  a woman or  a child  or a                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  HOLM  said  he  just  wanted  to  know  what  the                                                               
difference is  between the different classes  of sexual predator.                                                               
Are they all the same under the law?                                                                                            
SENATOR  FRENCH explained  that there  are two  broad categories.                                                               
One is sexual assault  - known as rape - and  the other is sexual                                                               
abuse of  a minor.  The  latter often involves the  same behavior                                                               
as the former  but it is committed against a  child under the age                                                               
of 16.  Those two categories  are not exactly the same, he noted,                                                               
but added that  it is so very difficult  to differentiate amongst                                                               
them that, for purposes of SB 85, "we simply say this."                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE HOLM surmised:  "Treat them all the same."                                                                       
Number 0335                                                                                                                     
SENATOR FRENCH  clarified that if  someone is a  repeat offender,                                                               
"we're going to  treat you the same and we're  going to spank you                                                               
hard."   He referred  to a newspaper  clipping, which  he relayed                                                               
said  that a  27-year-old  Fairbanks man  was  convicted on  five                                                               
counts after molesting two teenage girls  last year.  The man was                                                               
found guilty  of fondling his  wife's 15-year-old sister  and her                                                               
16-year-old friend after  giving them alcohol.   He was convicted                                                               
on one  count each of first  and second degree sexual  abuse of a                                                               
minor and  one count of third  degree sexual assault, and  is now                                                               
facing sentencing on those charges.                                                                                             
SENATOR FRENCH said that if such  a situation is a onetime event,                                                               
the perpetrator  will be  sentenced like  every other  first time                                                               
offender.   However,  if the  perpetrator is  convicted again  of                                                               
such crimes, he  offered his belief that  that perpetrator should                                                               
be treated more harshly.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE   SAMUELS  mentioned   that  "good   time"  is   a                                                               
management  tool for  the Department  of Corrections  (DOC).   He                                                               
asked  how  many people  will  be  affected  by the  "good  time"                                                               
provision of  SB 85  and what  will happen to  the DOC  when that                                                               
tool is taken away.                                                                                                             
SENATOR FRENCH  posited that most  sex offenders don't  need that                                                               
tool:  "In  a disciplined, orderly setting, they seem  to be rule                                                               
followers; they seem  to conform their behavior  to the structure                                                               
they find themselves  in."  He acknowledged,  however, that there                                                               
is a cost  aspect to eliminating "good time."   He opined that SB                                                               
85 will save  money in the long run just  by keeping perpetrators                                                               
of sexual offenses  in jail longer, rather than  letting them out                                                               
sooner and  then having to  reprocess them into  the correctional                                                               
system when they are convicted again.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  asked for a  comparison between  the current                                                               
sentencing structure and  that proposed by SB 85.   He also asked                                                               
whether "statutory rape"  is included in SB 85, and  what the age                                                               
difference  is that  results in  a crime  being called  statutory                                                               
SENATOR FRENCH, with  regard to age differences  between a victim                                                               
and a perpetrator,  said that the victim would be  either 13, 14,                                                               
or 15  years old, with  the perpetrator being three  years older.                                                               
So  statutory  rape would  involve  a  16-, 17-,  or  18-year-old                                                               
having  consensual  sex with  someone  three  years younger,  and                                                               
he/she would be  guilty of committing sexual abuse of  a minor in                                                               
the third degree,  which is a class  C felony.  He  noted that if                                                               
someone is convicted  of statutory rape, by the  time he/she gets                                                               
out of  prison, it is unlikely  that he/she will still  be in the                                                               
same age category whereby a  second conviction for statutory rape                                                               
is possible.  With regard  to the differences between the current                                                               
sentencing structure and that proposed  by SB 85, he relayed that                                                               
a  handout detailing  those differences  is included  in members'                                                               
packets; the handout is titled  "Sentencing Guidelines for Repeat                                                               
Sexual Offenders."                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE HOLM  asked whether the offenses  covered under SB                                                               
85 include all the offenses in AS 11.41.410 - AS 11.41.470.                                                                     
SENATOR  FRENCH said  yes.    He added  that  "sexual felony"  is                                                               
defined on  page 8 [lines  1-6] of SB 85,  and is meant  to cover                                                               
"just about every sexual felony in our code."                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE GARA, after  reviewing the aforementioned handout,                                                               
remarked that SB 85 seems to add five years.                                                                                    
CHAIR McGUIRE, after  ascertaining that no one  wished to testify                                                               
on SB 85, closed public testimony.                                                                                              
Number 0914                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  SAMUELS  made  a  motion to  adopt  Amendment  1,                                                               
labeled 23-LS0512\U.2, Luckhaupt, 5/18/03, which read:                                                                          
     Page 1, line 1, following "Act":                                                                                         
          Insert "relating to the factors that may be                                                                         
        considered in making a crime victim compensation                                                                      
     Page 8, following line 6:                                                                                                  
          Insert a new bill section to read:                                                                                    
        "* Sec. 10.  AS 18.67.080(c) is amended to read:                                                                    
          (c)  In determining whether to make an order                                                                          
     under  this  section,  the  board  shall  consider  all                                                                    
     circumstances  determined  to  be  relevant,  including                                                                    
     provocation,  consent, or  any  other  behavior of  the                                                                    
     victim that  directly or indirectly contributed  to the                                                                    
     victim's  injury or  death, the  prior  case or  social                                                                    
     history, if any,  of the victim, the  victim's need for                                                                    
     financial  aid, and  any other  relevant  matters.   In                                                                
     applying this subsection,                                                                                              
               (1)   the board may  not deny an  order based                                                                
     on  the  factors  in   this  subsection,  unless  those                                                                
     factors  relate significantly  to  the occurrence  that                                                                
     caused the victimization  and are of such  a nature and                                                                
     quality that a reasonable  or prudent person would know                                                                
     that the  factors or  actions could  lead to  the crime                                                                
     and the victimization;                                                                                                 
               (2)   with regard  to circumstances  in which                                                                
     the  victim  consented  to, provoked,  or  incited  the                                                                
     criminal   act,   the    board   may   consider   those                                                                
     circumstances only if  the board finds that  it is more                                                                
     probable  than not  that  those circumstances  occurred                                                                
     and were the cause of the crime and the victimization;                                                                 
               (3)   the board  may deny  an order  based on                                                                
     the victim's involvement with illegal drugs, only if                                                                   
               (A)     the  victim   was  involved   in  the                                                                
     manufacture or  delivery of  a controlled  substance at                                                                
     the time  of the crime  or the crime  and victimization                                                                
     was  a  direct  result  of  the  prior  manufacture  or                                                                
     delivery  of a  controlled substance;  the evidence  of                                                                
     this manufacture  or delivery  must be  corroborated by                                                                
     law enforcement or other credible sources; and                                                                         
               (B)  the evidence  shows a direct correlation                                                                
     linking  the   illegal  activity  and  the   crime  and                                                                
     victimization; or                                                                                                      
               (4)    if  a  claim   is  based  on  a  crime                                                                
     involving  domestic violence  or on  a crime  of sexual                                                                
     abuse of a minor or sexual assault and the offender is                                                                 
               (A)    convicted  of  one  of  those  crimes,                                                                
     notwithstanding  (1)  -  (3) of  this  subsection,  the                                                                
     board may not deny an  order based on considerations of                                                                
     provocation,  the  use  of  alcohol  or  drugs  by  the                                                                
     victim, or the prior social history of the victim; or                                                                  
               (B)  not convicted of one of those crimes,                                                                   
          the board may not deny an order based on the                                                                      
     involvement or behavior of the victim."                                                                                
     Renumber the following bill sections accordingly.                                                                          
Number 0920                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GARA objected to ask what Amendment 1 does.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  SAMUELS  said that  Amendment  1  "goes into  the                                                               
criteria that  can be used  by the [Violent  Crimes] Compensation                                                               
Board, and  what it does is  it makes sure that  they cannot deny                                                               
for alcohol  use, [or] drug use  unless drug use was  part of the                                                               
crime itself."                                                                                                                  
CHAIR  McGUIRE mentioned  that the  language in  Amendment 1  was                                                               
suggested by Senator Gretchen Guess.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE GARA withdrew his objection.                                                                                     
Number 0959                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  McGUIRE asked  whether there  were  further objections  to                                                               
Amendment 1.  There being none, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG   noted  that  with  the   adoption  of                                                               
Amendment 1,  a concurrent resolution  is now necessary  in order                                                               
to change the title of SB 85.                                                                                                   
Number 1010                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SAMUELS moved to  report CSSB 85(STA), as amended,                                                               
out  of   committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  the                                                               
accompanying fiscal  notes.  There  being no objection,  HCS CSSB                                                               
85(JUD)   was  reported   from  the   House  Judiciary   Standing                                                               
Number 1024                                                                                                                     
CHAIR McGUIRE announced that the  committee now had before it for                                                               
consideration the  proposed House Concurrent  Resolution, version                                                               
23-LS1164\A, Luckhaupt, 5/17/03.                                                                                                
Number 1039                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  SAMUELS moved  to adopt  and report  the proposed                                                               
House  Concurrent  Resolution,  version  23-LS1164\A,  Luckhaupt,                                                               
5/17/03,  out  of   committee  with  individual  recommendations.                                                               
There being no objection, the  House Concurrent Resolution [which                                                               
later  became HCR  23] was  adopted and  reported from  the House                                                               
Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                                                   
[HCS CSSB 85(JUD) was reported from committee.]                                                                                 

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