Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/15/2003 09:05 AM Senate STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
               HB 114-ISSUANCE OF SEARCH WARRANTS                                                                           
DOUG  WOOLIVER, Administrative  Attorney  with  the Alaska  Court                                                               
System, explained the  bill was introduced at the  request of the                                                               
Alaska Supreme Court to address  a technical problem with the way                                                               
judges are allowed  to accept testimony from  peace officers that                                                               
are requesting a  search warrant. Typically an  officer fills out                                                               
an affidavit, signs  it, takes it to court, and  is available for                                                               
questions. The  officer could  also drop  the affidavit  with the                                                               
court  and  the  judge  could   make  a  decision  based  on  the                                                               
application itself.  The problem  arises when  the judge  and the                                                               
officer  aren't  in the  same  community,  which is  frequent  in                                                               
Alaska.  In circumstances  where the  item to  be searched  is in                                                               
danger  of  being lost  or  destroyed  the  officer may  fax  the                                                               
application for  a search warrant and  testify telephonically. In                                                               
many cases that standard can't be met.                                                                                          
This bill  adds one sentence  to the law  that allows a  judge to                                                               
accept a  faxed affidavit  or telephonic  testimony so  the judge                                                               
can take into  account the practical impact the  delay would have                                                               
on the investigation. The language  adds "or would interfere with                                                               
an  ongoing  investigation".  It  in no  way  changes  all  other                                                               
factors that  govern the issuance  of a search warrant.  The bill                                                               
was  drafted  with  input  from the  Department  of  Law,  Public                                                               
Defender Agency, the Alaska Court System, and the Alaska State                                                                  
There were no questions or comments.                                                                                            
CHAIR GARY STEVENS asked for a motion.                                                                                          
SENATOR JOHN COWDERY made a motion  to move CSHB 114 (JUD) (title                                                               
am) from  committee with the  accompanying fiscal note.  He asked                                                               
for  unanimous  consent. There  being  no  objection, it  was  so                                                               

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