Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/23/1995 09:30 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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       SENATE BILL NO.  7                                                      
                                                                               
       "An Act relating  to bail after conviction  for various                 
  felonies        if the defendant has certain previous felony                 
  convictions."                                                                
                                                                               
  Co-chair Halford invited Senator Salo to join the committee.                 
  Senator  Salo,  as sponsor  of SB  7,  testified that  it is                 
  identical to  the legislation completed last year as SB 228.                 
  This legislation is to add to the list of offenses for which                 
  bail is not  available.   Currently, those  convicted of  an                 
  Unclassified or Class A felony are prohibited of having bail                 
  following conviction.   This would  prohibit the release  on                 
  bail following conviction for those defendants who have been                 
  convicted of a  Class B or C felony, and who have a previous                 
  conviction  for  an  Unclassified  or Class  A  felony.   In                 
  general, this adds  to the  lists of crimes  for which  bail                 
  would be denied.  She noted that last year SB 228 passed the                 
  Senate 19-0  vote. SB 7  carries 5 zero  fiscal notes.   She                 
  stated that based  on whether the  time of incarceration  is                 
  now or later, there is no additional cost.                                   
                                                                               
  Senator Salo defined  the statutes mentioned in the bill: AS                 
  11.41.260,  stalking  in  the  first  degree;  AS  11.41.420                 
  through AS 11.41.425, sexual assault in the  second or third                 
  degree, a Class B  or C felony; and, AS 11.41.436 through AS                 
  11.41.438, sexual abuse  of a minor  in the second or  third                 
  degree, a Class B or C felony.                                               
                                                                               
  Margo Knuth, Department of Law, Criminal Section, stated the                 
  purpose   of  this  legislation  is  to  deny  bail  to  the                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  individual  who  has been  convicted  of  a  crime,  and  is                 
  awaiting  an  appeal.    Existing  law  allows  that  as  an                 
  Unclassified  felony or a  Class A  felony, bail  is denied.                 
  She said that a  conviction as a Class B or  C felony, which                 
  is a lesser offense,  should still deny bail.   She cited  a                 
  case  in Kenai:  The offender  had a  conviction for  sexual                 
  assault, subsequently was prosecuted  for burglary, appealed                 
  the conviction and was released on  bail.  While that appeal                 
  was  pending,  he raped  another  person.    This bill  will                 
  prohibit judges from making such a mistake again.                            
                                                                               
  Senator Salo cited  the case that  was the impetus for  this                 
  bill.    She  said  the  offender  had a  previous  list  of                 
  convictions  both  in Alaska  and  California that  was very                 
  extensive, including statutory rape.   His crime, before the                 
  court,  was  a  felony  drug  offense.   He  was  convicted.                 
  Pending an appeal,  he was released  on $5,000 bail.   While                 
  out on bail,  he raped 2 women.   Those are two  women whose                 
  lives are  forever changed,  by an  offender who should  not                 
  have been out  on bail. That is a mistake that should not be                 
  made again.  She  stated, it was this man's  background that                 
  made him  dangerous relative to his being  released on bail.                 
  This is  the reasoning  behind not  limiting the  bill to  a                 
  crime against the  person.  The  bill is defining a  conduct                 
  dangerous enough, to keep them off the streets.                              
                                                                               
  Senator  Sharp stated  he is  against  designing laws  for a                 
  specific situation. He asked if this person was on parole or                 
  probation  from  a  previous  crime  when he  was  arrested?                 
  Senator Rieger  asked  how felonies  track on  record.   Ms.                 
  Knuth stated that felonies stay on  a record for a lifetime.                 
  When a Suspended Imposition of  Sentence (SIS) is completed,                 
  law enforcement is aware that there were felony proceedings,                 
  but it would not count as a prior conviction for purposes of                 
  presumptive sentencing.   Anyone who  successfully completed                 
  the SIS would not be effected by this legislation.                           
  Co-chair Halford asked Ms.  Knuth if it could be  written to                 
  say  that as  a matter of  policy there  will be no  bail on                 
  appeal following conviction?   Ms. Knuth responded  that she                 
  did not know  the answer  to that question.   Senator  Sharp                 
  said  he could  support a  universal application of  no bail                 
  after a second conviction of a felon.                                        
  Ms. Knuth clarified that after the  first conviction, for an                 
  Unclassified or  Class A felony,  there is  no bail  pending                 
  appeal.                                                                      
  Meaning, if  there is  assault in  the first degree,  sexual                 
  assault in the first degree, sexual abuse of a minor in  the                 
  first degree, misconduct of drugs  in the first degree,  and                 
  if there is  a conviction while  appeal is pending, bail  is                 
  denied.  This is  addressing those on second offenses.   Ms.                 
  Knuth stated that even  now, on first offenses, if  they are                 
  Class A or Unclassified, bail is denied. This bill is saying                 
  that if it  is a second  felony conviction, and a  defendant                 
  has one of the above convictions already, then the defendant                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  will be placed  in the  same position on  this new  offense,                 
  even if it is a B or C felony.  The second part to  this, is                 
  the length of sentence that the defendant can be expected to                 
  receive.    With a  first-time conviction  of  a Class  A or                 
  Unclassified offense,  there is  going to  be a  presumptive                 
  five, eight,  or up  to twenty  years.   On a  first offense                 
  conviction of a Class B or C felony, it is likely there will                 
  be no jail time or minimal  amount of jail time.  But,  when                 
  there is  a prior  felony conviction,  then the  presumptive                 
  sentencing scheme  is in  place for  two years  for Class  C                 
  felony.   Class  B is  4 years.   She  reiterated that  time                 
  served before sentencing will count toward the time required                 
  after sentencing.                                                            
                                                                               
  Senator Sharp questioned  the zero  fiscal notes. Ms.  Knuth                 
  explained that the person  convicted is going to  spend time                 
  in jail as a matter of his sentence on the offense.  Senator                 
  Salo interjected  that the  Department of  Law reviewed  100                 
  cases and found that 100% of the cases resulted in sentences                 
  of incarceration.  She stated  that annually  the number  of                 
  people that this will affect is a guess.  Her guess is under                 
  20.                                                                          
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Senator Phillips MOVED for  passage of SB 7  with individual                 
  recommendations.  No objection having been raised, SB  7 was                 
  REPORTED OUT of committee with 5  zero fiscal notes from the                 
  Dept. of Administration, Dept. of  Public Safety, Council on                 
  Domestic Violence, and Troopers, Dept.  of Law, and Dept. of                 
  Corrections.                                                                 
  Co-chairs  Halford and  Frank  along  with Senators  Rieger,                 
  Phillips  and   Donley  signed  "do   pass"  recommendation.                 
  Senators Zharoff and Sharp signed "no recommendation".                       
                                                                               

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