Legislature(2009 - 2010)SENATE FINANCE 532

04/12/2010 09:00 AM Senate FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSSB 174(FIN) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HOUSE BILL NO. 52                                                                                                             
     "An Act authorizing psychological counseling for                                                                           
     jurors serving in criminal trials who are traumatized                                                                      
     by graphic evidence or testimony."                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  BETH KERTTULA,  SPONSOR, explained  that the                                                                    
bill  was  proposed  as  a   result  of  a  very  courageous                                                                    
constituent  and  her  involvement  as a  juror  in  a  very                                                                    
traumatic court case.  Representative Kerttula explained the                                                                    
process of  trying to  find counseling  for jurors  who have                                                                    
experienced trauma. She concluded  that legislation would be                                                                    
the best course of action.  She reported that she has worked                                                                    
with the courts  to come up with a plan  for counseling if a                                                                    
judge  feels   the  trial   was  a   particularly  gruesome,                                                                    
difficult case.                                                                                                                 
Senator  Olson  asked if  other  states  have this  type  of                                                                    
legislation. Representative  Kerttula shared that  Texas has                                                                    
legislation pending,  but has not  implemented it  yet. King                                                                    
County also has a juror counseling program.                                                                                     
Co-Chair Stedman noted a fiscal  note for $15,000 in general                                                                    
9:28:39 AM                                                                                                                    
MINDY LOBAUGH, JUNEAU, read a prepared statement:                                                                               
     Mr. Chairman  and members of  the committee,  thank you                                                                    
     for this  opportunity and all  you do for the  State of                                                                    
     This  bill represents  a bridge,  a bridge  that I  and                                                                    
     many other  jurors did not  have at  the end of  a very                                                                    
     traumatic trial.  You arrive  at the  courthouse, given                                                                    
     detailed instruction  of what is  expected of you  as a                                                                    
     juror and  how the process  of a trial works.  What the                                                                    
     court system  does not do  is transition the  juror out                                                                    
     of  the  trial.  It  is  not  uncommon  to  have  major                                                                    
     criminal trials run for many days.                                                                                         
     I served  as a juror  on the Rachelle Waterman  trial 4                                                                    
     years ago and  it lasted approximately 10  days. For me                                                                    
     I  arrived open  and ready  to do  my civic  duty as  a                                                                    
     Juror.   And  for   10  days   prosecutors  went   into                                                                    
     excruciating  detail  to  help the  jurors  relive  the                                                                    
     events of an unsuspecting  Mother getting abducted from                                                                    
     her home, tortured and finally murdered.                                                                                   
     It  was then  our duty  as jurors  to determine  if the                                                                    
     defendant,  her daughter  was  guilty of  masterminding                                                                    
     this tragedy against her own  mother, a woman who was a                                                                    
     pillar  of her  community. By  the end  of the  trial I                                                                    
     left  there  as  a   victim  feeling  closed,  mentally                                                                    
     battered  and   very  traumatized  by  the   burden  of                                                                    
     knowledge I now carried.                                                                                                   
     I am  here to  tell you  the media  does not  even come                                                                    
     close to  covering the depth  of this trial.  As jurors                                                                    
     we had access to piles  of emails detailing out various                                                                    
     ways these men planned to  kill the mother, in addition                                                                    
     to  physical evidence,  photographs and  of course  the                                                                    
     hours of testimony.                                                                                                        
     For  quite some  time during  and following  that trial                                                                    
     eating for me  was a near impossibility  because of the                                                                    
     constant  nausea I  felt. To  my friends  and family  I                                                                    
     became a  stranger….and each night  I prayed  myself to                                                                    
     One  of my  fellow  jury mates  was  pregnant with  her                                                                    
     second  child.  She  had   shared  her  excitement  and                                                                    
     ultrasound pictures  with us  early on.  By the  end of                                                                    
     the trial she lost her baby  and had to be excused from                                                                    
     the trial.                                                                                                                 
     When  this trial  finally ended,  with a  hung jury,  I                                                                    
     turned to  the presiding  judge and  ask if  the courts                                                                    
     offer  some  kind  of counseling  or  process  to  help                                                                    
     jurors deal with all  this traumatizing information and                                                                    
     help to  transition us  back to  our lives?  The answer                                                                    
     was NO.                                                                                                                    
     For me  it was like having  a door slammed in  my face.                                                                    
     There  would be  no help  in transitioning  back to  my                                                                    
     life before this trial, no  bridge. Rather I would have                                                                    
     to  move  forward  with   this  dark  knowledge  deeply                                                                    
     entrenched  in  my mind  and  the  minds of  my  fellow                                                                    
     jurors. And  I will never  forget the feeling  and look                                                                    
     of disappointment and confusion  in my fellow jurors as                                                                    
     we  wondered  how we  would  come  to terms  with  this                                                                    
     trial. It  was at  this point I  felt the  court system                                                                    
     had failed me as a juror doing my civic duty.                                                                              
     Mr. Chairman, members of the  committee, please help me                                                                    
     to build  this bridge  by supporting  HB 52  Post Trial                                                                    
     Jury Counseling.   I  may not  have found  closure with                                                                    
     respects to  this trial, but  maybe you can  help build                                                                    
     that bridge  for future Jurors  doing their  civic duty                                                                    
     by passing HB 52.                                                                                                          
Representative  Kerttula commented  on personal  experiences                                                                    
as a  lawyer and  cases of  traumatized jurors.  She related                                                                    
the importance of the bill.                                                                                                     
HB  52  was   heard  and  HELD  in   Committee  for  further                                                                    
9:33:13 AM                                                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 20 2010 0412 Proposed SCS Version T.pdf SFIN 4/12/2010 9:00:00 AM
HB 20
SB 174 2010 0412 Proposed CS SFIN Version D.pdf SFIN 4/12/2010 9:00:00 AM
SB 174