Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/27/1995 01:30 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 SJUD - 2/17/95                                                                
                SB  10 CRIMINAL DISCOVERY RULES                               
                                                                              
 The committee took up SB 10 as the next order of business.  SENATOR           
 MILLER moved the adoption of Version K, dated February 27, 1995, as           
 the working version.  There being no objection, the motion passed.            
                                                                               
 SENATOR ADAMS questioned the need for SB 10 in light of the Supreme           
 Court ruling.                                                                 
                                                                               
 DEAN GUANELI, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Law,                  
 testified.  He explained that the Supreme Court reviewed and                  
 adopted the Criminal Rules Committee recommendations and further              
 revised them.  He noted some people, including John Salemi, felt              
 those changes did not go far enough, especially in the area of                
 criminal discovery rules.  Neither the Criminal Rules Committee nor           
 the Supreme Court adopted Mr. Salemi's ideas.  In addition, some of           
 the revisions the Supreme Court adopted make it even more difficult           
 for the prosecution to use information acquired from the defense.             
 For example, the Supreme Court included a sentence that reads,                
 "Information obtained by the prosecutors under this rule may be               
 used only for cross examination or rebuttal of defense testimony."            
 Mr. Guaneli explained that the prosecution could not use                      
 information acquired by the defense on expert testimony until cross           
 examination or rebuttal occurs, which prevents prosecutors from               
 using such information in structuring cases.  A second revision               
 affects expert testimony and requires the defense attorney to write           
 a summary of the expert's testimony for the prosecution.  Mr.                 
 Guaneli felt the summary to be of little use to the prosecution.              
 He felt these practices were objectionable.                                   
                                                                               
 MR. GUANELI explained that Version K of CSSB 10 (JUD) repeals and             
 reenacts Rule 16 of the Alaska Rules of Criminal Procedure instead            
 of setting out the new rule and showing the specific changes, which           
 is a change from previous versions.                                           
                                                                               
 Number 136                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ADAMS again questioned the need for SB 10.                            
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR commented that SB 10 would make a subtle,                      
 sophisticated policy change and he noted a bill requiring a two-              
 thirds majority vote recently failed on the Senate floor.  He                 
 commented that unless the committee is successful in achieving                
 something that has a strong working relationship on both sides of             
 the aisle, it would be a waste of time to put it to a full vote.              
 Secondly, he expressed concern that if the bill was passed into               
 law, the Supreme Court might rewrite the rule under the separation            
 of powers.  He noted the Supreme Court was gracious in                        
 accommodating the legislature by addressing the issue in a timely             
 manner.                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 176                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR MILLER reiterated the concern of adequate support for the             
 measure on the Senate floor.                                                  
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR stated the bill would be held in committee.                    

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