Legislature(2009 - 2010)SENATE FINANCE 532

04/13/2009 09:00 AM Senate FINANCE

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Recessed to 1:30 pm --
Scheduled But Not Heard
Heard & Held
Moved CSSB 133(HSS) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
SENATE BILL NO. 110                                                                                                           
     "An Act relating to the preservation of evidence."                                                                         
9:29:13 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HOLLIS FRENCH,                                                                                                          
     The American  system of justice is founded  on balancing                                                                   
     the twin  protections of the  rights of those  harmed by                                                                   
     crimes,  and  the  rights  of  the  accused.    Criminal                                                                   
     convictions  are  guided  by evidence  of  innocence  or                                                                   
     guilt, and  no one in the criminal justice  system wants                                                                   
     innocent people  to be convicted of crimes  they did not                                                                   
     commit.   The availability and use of  physical evidence                                                                   
     at trials  and during appeals  is a critical piece  of a                                                                   
     meaningful justice system.                                                                                                 
     Modern    DNA   technology,    coupled   with    today's                                                                   
     comprehensive     information     and     communications                                                                   
     technologies, has  exponentially increased the  power of                                                                   
     preserved  evidence. Preserved  evidence can solve  cold                                                                   
     cases and prove or disprove  claims of innocence in ways                                                                   
     unimaginable  just a  few years  ago.   The problem  is,                                                                   
     however,  that  evidence   collection  and  preservation                                                                   
     policies  have  not  always  kept pace  with  these  new                                                                   
     Senate  Bill  110  begins   to  address  this  issue  by                                                                   
     requiring that biological  evidence in murder and sexual                                                                   
     assault  cases  is  properly retained  while  cases  are                                                                   
     unsolved and during the period  after conviction that an                                                                   
     offender is imprisoned or  required to register as a sex                                                                   
     offender.     The   bill  still   provides  for   police                                                                   
     departments to  return or dispose of evidence  too large                                                                   
     to  keep  after  portions  of  the  material  likely  to                                                                   
     contain  biological  evidence   have  been  removed  and                                                                   
     preserved.   The bill provides  for a notice  process in                                                                   
     cases  where   evidence  will   be  destroyed,   and  it                                                                   
     establishes  a temporary  task  force to  look at  other                                                                   
     issues  involved in  this emerging  field of  technology                                                                   
     and make  recommendations on standards and  practices in                                                                   
     cataloging and handling evidence.                                                                                          
Senator French shared a story  about a boy in Denver Colorado                                                                   
convicted  of   murder  at  age   15  that  spent   10  years                                                                   
incarcerated.    Following     the    boy's    release    the                                                                   
deoxyribonucleic   acid   (DNA)   evidence,   retrieved   and                                                                   
preserved from the  crime scene revealed that he  was in fact                                                                   
innocent. He  informed that cases  such as the  one mentioned                                                                   
led him  to sponsor  the bill.  He continued  that this  bill                                                                   
requires   police  officers   to  retain   evidence  in   two                                                                   
categories, physical  and DNA. Once a person  is convicted of                                                                   
a  crime  and incarcerated,  the  small  bits  of  biological                                                                   
evidence remain  preserved in  a crime laboratory.  The bulky                                                                   
material is  retained until the  time of the trial.  The bill                                                                   
only applies  to the most serious  of crimes. The idea  is to                                                                   
retain  evidence and  ensure that  incarcerated citizens  are                                                                   
indeed guilty.                                                                                                                  
Chair Stedman asked for a sectional  analysis. Senator French                                                                   
complied.  He referred  to  Section 1,  which  creates a  new                                                                   
provision  in  the  criminal code  for  the  preservation  of                                                                   
evidence   requiring  state   agencies   and  municipal   law                                                                   
enforcement agencies  to preserve  all evidence that  relates                                                                   
to  unsolved cases  of  murder in  the  first degree,  sexual                                                                   
assault,  and first  degree sexual  assault of  a minor.  The                                                                   
section further  requires that  biological evidence  in these                                                                   
crimes  be retained  while a  person is  incarcerated in  the                                                                   
custody of the Department of Corrections (DOC).                                                                                 
9:33:30 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator  French continued  that  if a  piece  of evidence  is                                                                   
physically  large, the  portions likely  to contain  relevant                                                                   
evidence remain  preserved. A notice procedure  found on Page                                                                   
2, Subsection D  of the bill outlines the  proper destruction                                                                   
of  evidence. The  Section further  provides  the method  for                                                                   
court ordered remedies if evidence  is destroyed in violation                                                                   
of the Section.                                                                                                                 
9:34:48 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator  French   continued  with  the  Sectional   analysis.                                                                   
Section 2,  Page 4 and Section  3, Page 4 refer to  the codas                                                                   
sections  that the  Department  of Law  (DOL) requested.  The                                                                   
codas give  DOL the ability to  remove DNA data taken  from a                                                                   
suspect found  innocent. This allows prosecution  of a person                                                                   
whose DNA  is retained  on the  data base in  the event  of a                                                                   
subsequent crime. He provided an example.                                                                                       
9:35:21 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator  French explained  that the  DOL has  the ability  to                                                                   
remove  DNA data  taken from  a  suspect who  is later  found                                                                   
innocent. The state  is allowed to prosecute  if the evidence                                                                   
is still  on the  database when  a person  is arrested  for a                                                                   
subsequent crime.  He continued that Section  5 establishes a                                                                   
task force for the preservation of evidence.                                                                                    
9:37:10 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator  French expressed  that  the legislation  will  prove                                                                   
effective throughout  all areas of the state.  He mentioned a                                                                   
letter  from Angela  Long, chief  of  the police  association                                                                   
opposing the bill. He stated that  since changes were made in                                                                   
the  judiciary   committee,  Ms.   Long  has  withdrawn   her                                                                   
opposition. He informed of the  close contact between DOL and                                                                   
the  Department   of  Public  Safety.  He  opined   that  the                                                                   
collaboration provides a good piece of legislation.                                                                             
9:38:45 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Stedman  asked about  the  current  process of  DNA                                                                   
storage.  Senator French  answered that  the DNA evidence  is                                                                   
retained until a  person is released from prison  and removed                                                                   
from the registry. He mentioned  that the state complies with                                                                   
the  established  legislation.  He  shared a  story  about  a                                                                   
murder case during his time as  district attorney. The police                                                                   
departments  recognize the importance  of retaining  evidence                                                                   
and  essentially   perform  already  that  which   this  bill                                                                   
9:40:43 AM                                                                                                                    
SUE  STANCLIFF,  SPECIAL  ASSISTANT,   DEPARTMENT  OF  PUBLIC                                                                   
SAFETY, testified about data storage  and use of DNA samples.                                                                   
ORIN  DYM, FORENSIC  LAB  SUPERVISOR, CRIME  LAB  SUPERVISOR,                                                                   
DEPARTMENT OF  PUBLIC SAFETY (testified via  teleconference).                                                                   
He spoke in reference to the question  about DNA sampling and                                                                   
the  current  status  of  retaining   samples  of  biological                                                                   
evidence  indefinitely. He  informed  that this  bill has  an                                                                   
impact  on   the  crime  laboratory   in  the   retention  of                                                                   
biological evidence and the number  of samples identified. He                                                                   
recognized  that  in  order  for  an  agency  to  dispose  of                                                                   
evidence, they  must sample it  prior to disposal.  Depending                                                                   
on  the case,  clothing and  bedding might  not be  analyzed.                                                                   
With  this   legislation,  all   items  are  identified   for                                                                   
biological  importance in  the crime  laboratory. The  change                                                                   
induces  a  dramatic  increase   in  the  number  of  samples                                                                   
retained and evidence submitted.  He mentioned the additional                                                                   
funds required for storage space  and an employee responsible                                                                   
for  sample  collection and  additional  workload  associated                                                                   
with the bill.                                                                                                                  
9:43:54 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair   Stedman   requested  information   regarding   the                                                                   
attached  fiscal  note. He  asked  about integration  of  the                                                                   
crime laboratory.  Mr. Dym responded that  additional storage                                                                   
space  is  necessary   regardless  of  when   the  new  crime                                                                   
laboratory  is   constructed.  He  explained  the   need  for                                                                   
additional personnel  to aid in  sampling the  evidence prior                                                                   
to disposal. He  opined that the provided fiscal  note offers                                                                   
the best estimate with the best vision of the future.                                                                           
Co-Chair  Hoffman  asked  for  justification  of  the  travel                                                                   
request. Mr. Dym explained the  travel request was for agency                                                                   
training   regarding   proper   storage  of   evidence.   The                                                                   
requirements for an accredited  laboratory include the proper                                                                   
storage and handling of evidence.  He stressed the importance                                                                   
of sharing  the knowledge with  the state's user  base, which                                                                   
requires travel.                                                                                                                
9:46:22 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stedman asked  if a task force was  necessary to the                                                                   
process of  the legislation.  Mr. Dym  explained that  he was                                                                   
not responsible for the requisition  of a task force. Senator                                                                   
French stated  the necessity  of the  task force because  the                                                                   
obligation  is  new  for  both  the  crime  labs  and  police                                                                   
departments  across  the  state.   He  suggested  a  careful,                                                                   
considerate,  and  collaborative  process  for  a  beneficial                                                                   
beginning.  Co-Chair  Stedman asked  if  the  task force  was                                                                   
suggested  at the request  of the  department or through  the                                                                   
creation  of  the  bill. Senator  French  answered  that  the                                                                   
creation of a  task force existed in the initial  language of                                                                   
the bill.                                                                                                                       
Senator  Olson asked  about private  laboratories that  might                                                                   
store  and process  the samples  without  the cost  of a  new                                                                   
facility.  Senator  French answered  that  state  prosecution                                                                   
evidence must  be housed  in a  state facility. He  suggested                                                                   
that  expanding   the  existing   crime  laboratory   without                                                                   
building a new $100 million facility may suffice.                                                                               
9:48:27 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator  Olson  asked  about  the  American  Civil  Liberties                                                                   
Union's    (ACLU)   standpoint    regarding   the    proposed                                                                   
legislation.  Senator French  stated that  the Department  of                                                                   
Law (DOL)  was in  support of the  bill because this  process                                                                   
offers the ability to prove guilt versus innocence.                                                                             
Co-Chair Stedman  asked if the department supports  the bill.                                                                   
Ms. Stancliff  answered that yes  the Departments of  Law and                                                                   
Public  Safety support  the  bill. Senator  French  clarified                                                                   
that ACLU also supports the bill.                                                                                               
9:50:01 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator  Huggins  asked about  the  detractors  of the  bill.                                                                   
Senator  French   responded  that  resistance,   rather  than                                                                   
outright  detraction  existed   from  agencies  commanded  to                                                                   
retain  evidence. He  stated that concerns  of police  chiefs                                                                   
across the state were since alleviated.                                                                                         
Senator Huggins asked about prisoners  and the bill. He asked                                                                   
if prisoner's  DNA was obtained.  Senator French  stated that                                                                   
the  bill does  not  address  prisoners. He  understood  that                                                                   
previous legislation addressed DNA obtained from prisoners.                                                                     
Senator  Huggins asked  about Page  3, Line  21 and the  term                                                                   
"unintentional."  He  asked  why   not  substitute  the  term                                                                   
"intentional."   Senator   French  understood   the   concern                                                                   
initially.   He   explained   the   meaning   of   the   word                                                                   
"unintentional",   as   "only  intentional   destruction   of                                                                   
evidence can  result in civil  liability." Anything  short of                                                                   
intentional  destruction  of  evidence  can result  in  civil                                                                   
9:52:26 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator Thomas  asked why the  DNA retained in the  record is                                                                   
retained while the paper record is destroyed.                                                                                   
Senator French explained that  Senator Thomas is referring to                                                                   
the data  base. He explained that  a swab is obtained  from a                                                                   
prisoner and analyzed in the laboratory  which then takes the                                                                   
sequence of  DNA genes  for entry into  a database  where the                                                                   
information  sits as  a method  of  generating evidence.  The                                                                   
data  is then  purged if  the  person is  found innocent.  He                                                                   
stated that  the DNA is retained  because it is  personal and                                                                   
valuable information.                                                                                                           
9:54:16 AM                                                                                                                    
ANNE CARPENETI,  ASSISTANT ATTORNEY  GENERAL, LEGAL  SERVICES                                                                   
SECTION-JUNEAU,   CRIMINAL  DIVISION,   DEPARTMENT  OF   LAW,                                                                   
explained that the adoption of  the obligations for the state                                                                   
police required much work. She  stated that the bill does not                                                                   
change  the reasons  for the  DNA  collection. She  explained                                                                   
that the legislature adopted a  provision that allowed police                                                                   
to obtain samples  from those persons arrested  for a felony.                                                                   
The legislature also adopted a  procedure for people arrested                                                                   
for a  felony not  resulting in  the collection  of DNA.  The                                                                   
legislature  neglected  to  provide   removal  from  the  DNA                                                                   
database people who were arrested  for a felony, charged with                                                                   
it  and  acquitted   after  trial.  This  bill   adopts  that                                                                   
procedure.   The   Federal  Bureau   of   Investigation   has                                                                   
recommended  the   adoption  of  the  procedure   for  people                                                                   
acquitted  of  a  crime  for   removal  their  DNA  from  the                                                                   
Co-Chair  Stedman  asked  if  the  criminal  division  is  in                                                                   
support of the bill. Ms. Carpeneti answered yes.                                                                                
9:56:28 AM                                                                                                                    
BILL  OBERLY,   ALASKA  INNOCENCE   PROJECT  (testified   via                                                                   
teleconference),  spoke  in support  of  the legislation.  He                                                                   
stated that the  support of strong evidence  management helps                                                                   
to  solve  cases. Regarding  the  task  force, the  data  and                                                                   
information  gathered  by  the  task  force  will  allow  for                                                                   
necessary changes and improvements.                                                                                             
JOHN   LUCKING,   POLICE  CHIEF   SOLDOTNA   (testified   via                                                                   
teleconference),  in  support  of  SB  110. He  spoke  of  an                                                                   
opposition letter, now null because  Senator French and staff                                                                   
have worked with the Department  of Public Safety to overcome                                                                   
initial  concerns regarding  liability of  personnel and  the                                                                   
maintenance  of bulky  evidence.  He voiced  support for  the                                                                   
task force as an important component of the bill.                                                                               
9:59:20 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator French concluded that  he appreciated support for the                                                                   
SB  110  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in  Committee   for  further                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Articles.pdf SFIN 4/13/2009 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 3/12/2010 9:00:00 AM
SB 110
Amendment_Explanation_CSSB 133(HSS).doc SFIN 4/13/2009 9:00:00 AM
SB 133
SB 171 Supt email Palmer.pdf HFIN 2/12/2010 1:30:00 PM
SFIN 4/13/2009 9:00:00 AM
SB 171
CSSB 171 Memo on changes 04072009.pdf HFIN 2/12/2010 1:30:00 PM
SFIN 4/13/2009 9:00:00 AM
SB 171
SB 171 Supt email Kajikawa.pdf HFIN 2/12/2010 1:30:00 PM
SFIN 4/13/2009 9:00:00 AM
SB 171
SB 171 Support Article JNU Empire.pdf HFIN 2/12/2010 1:30:00 PM
SFIN 4/13/2009 9:00:00 AM
SB 171
CSSB 171 Memo on changes 04092009.pdf SFIN 4/13/2009 9:00:00 AM
SB 171
CSSB171(STA)-DOR-PFD-04-09-09.pdf SFIN 4/13/2009 9:00:00 AM
SB 171
CSSB 171 CS Draft for Senate Finance.pdf SFIN 4/13/2009 9:00:00 AM
SB 171
CSSB 133(HSS) - Amendment - 26-LS0489-P.2.pdf SFIN 4/13/2009 9:00:00 AM
SB 133
SB 133 - Revised Fiscal Note - 4-10-09.pdf SFIN 4/13/2009 9:00:00 AM
SB 133
CS SB 177 Version E.pdf SFIN 4/13/2009 9:00:00 AM
SB 177
SB 171 Supt email Smith.pdf HFIN 2/12/2010 1:30:00 PM
SFIN 4/13/2009 9:00:00 AM
SB 171
SB 171 Supt Ltr Mason.pdf HFIN 2/12/2010 1:30:00 PM
SFIN 4/13/2009 9:00:00 AM
SB 171
SB 171 Supt Ltr Neher.pdf HFIN 2/12/2010 1:30:00 PM
SFIN 4/13/2009 9:00:00 AM
SB 171
SB 177 Sponsor Statement.pdf SFIN 4/13/2009 9:00:00 AM
SB 177
SB 177 Supt Ltr KRSA.pdf SFIN 4/13/2009 9:00:00 AM
SB 177
SB 177 Supt Ltr PCBA.pdf SFIN 4/13/2009 9:00:00 AM
SB 177
SB 177 Supt Ltr SEAGO.pdf SFIN 4/13/2009 9:00:00 AM
SB 177
SB110 Sectional Analysis.pdf SFIN 4/13/2009 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 3/12/2010 9:00:00 AM
SB 110
SB110 Sponsor Statement.pdf SFIN 4/13/2009 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 3/12/2010 9:00:00 AM
SB 110
SB177 Support Resolution.pdf SFIN 4/13/2009 9:00:00 AM
SB 177