Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/03/2003 09:12 AM Senate JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
              HB   1-STALKING & PROTECTIVE ORDERS                                                                           
CHAIR  SEEKINS  announced  HB  1,   version  \H,  to  be  up  for                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE CHERYL HEINZE,  sponsor of HB 1, said  it closes a                                                               
dangerous  loophole  in  the  Alaska  statutes  by  allowing  the                                                               
victims  of  stalking,  the security  of  a  judicial  protective                                                               
order. Any  person who believes  he is  a victim of  stalking not                                                               
related to domestic violence may  file a petition in the district                                                               
or Superior Court and receive  a stalking protective order. Under                                                               
current law, protection  to a stalking victim  is only associated                                                               
with  domestic violence  cases.  This bill  also streamlines  the                                                               
process  for   public  safety   and  judicial   practitioners  by                                                               
harmonizing  the arrest  and  notification  procedures to  mirror                                                               
those already in place for domestic violence.                                                                                   
SENATOR OGAN  asked her to  explain why  they are using  ex parte                                                               
MR.  BRUCE   ROBERTS,  District  Attorney,  City   of  Anchorage,                                                               
explained that  ex parte  means that one  party can  have contact                                                               
with a judge.  Ordinarily a judge, being a  neutral party, should                                                               
not speak to one party without  the other one present. This would                                                               
allow  the  petitioner not  to  actually  have a  hearing  behind                                                               
closed doors.  She fills out a  form, presents that to  the court                                                               
with  the  facts  and  is  then sworn  under  oath  and  provides                                                               
testimony or answers  questions in support of  that affidavit. It                                                               
is a  public record.  One of  the reasons  to make  a restraining                                                               
order ex parte is because it  couldn't be accomplished if you had                                                               
to wait for  the respondent or the batterer  or whoever. However,                                                               
the defendant has  an opportunity to respond to  the order within                                                               
20 days.                                                                                                                        
CHAIR  SEEKINS   said  that  Representative  Holm   submitted  an                                                               
amendment that would remove a  defendant from the registry if the                                                               
protective order  is found to  be without merit and  dissolved by                                                               
the court, which  protects people from the  frivolous or spiteful                                                               
order request.                                                                                                                  
CHAIR SEEKINS asked  Representative Heinze if she  wanted to work                                                               
on that language with Representative Holm.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE HEINZE  was surprised she hadn't  heard about this                                                               
amendment and said  she would work on it with  him. There are all                                                               
kinds of  protective laws associated with  domestic violence, but                                                               
this bill  is mainly for  someone being  stalked who has  no idea                                                               
who the person is that is stalking them.                                                                                        
SENATOR OGAN  asked what are  the typical cases of  stalking that                                                               
the city deals with.                                                                                                            
MR.  ROBERTS  replied   that  he  had  been   with  the  District                                                               
Attorney's  Office   for  15  years   and  that  stalking   is  a                                                               
misdemeanor   within  the   municipality   and   the  state   has                                                               
misdemeanor  and  felony  stalking (violation  of  a  restraining                                                               
order). He  was a little  leery of  the amendment because  if the                                                               
petitioner applies  for the  order, she  has to  prove as  of now                                                               
that she  is in need  of protection and  that an act  of domestic                                                               
violence    has   been    committed   against    her.   Sometimes                                                               
reconciliation takes  place or one  or both people don't  show up                                                               
at  the hearing.  He  didn't know  if an  order  could be  issued                                                               
against someone who was unknown.                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS noted  that AS 18.65.540, the  Department of Public                                                               
Safety  shall maintain  a central  registry of  protective orders                                                               
issued or  filed with the  court that  must include the  names of                                                               
the  petitioner, the  respondent, their  dates of  birth and  the                                                               
conditions and duration  of the order. The  registry shall retain                                                               
a  record  of   the  protective  order  after   it  has  expired.                                                               
Representative  Holm  is  suggesting  the  Department  of  Public                                                               
Safety should  remove from  the registry  an ex  parte protective                                                               
order that  is dissolved  by the court  or expires  without being                                                               
issued. He thought the idea might have some merit.                                                                              
MR. ROBERTS said the registry is  a public record, but one of the                                                               
reasons for it is that it  is shared between states. There may be                                                               
some federal requirements and the amendment might need review.                                                                  
SENATOR OGAN said he was concerned about due process.                                                                           
CHAIR SEEKINS said he agreed with  the intent of the bill, but he                                                               
wanted  to  examine that  question  so  that they  didn't  unduly                                                               
burden someone who was not a stalker.                                                                                           
MS. MARY WELLS  said she is the reason this  bill is before them.                                                               
She and her entire family,  including her husband, was stalked by                                                               
an individual who befriended her  children and called them at all                                                               
times  of the  day and  night with  threats. She  felt this  bill                                                               
would have provided  her with a lot of protection  and hoped that                                                               
it would pass this year.                                                                                                        
CHAIR SEEKINS  thanked everyone for  their comments and  said the                                                               
bill would be held for further work.                                                                                            

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