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Sunday, July 22, 2018
HomeNews and NotesBail or jail? Help legislators grow a spine on crime

Bail or jail? Help legislators grow a spine on crime

An excerpt from the Must Read Alaska Monday Newsletter (subscribe on the right side of the page. It’s free):

Must Read Alaska readers make a difference. Last week we learned that over 400 readers weighed in with the Alaska Parole Board and helped ensure that murderer Cordell Boyd stayed behind bars.

Today, we tackle of one of the most troubling aspects of SB 91 — the controversial criminal justice reform bill signed into law by Gov. Bill Walker in 2016.

Your help is needed to move an important set of fixes.

Hawkins

This is not wholesale reform of SB 91, but takes care of a disastrous loophole.

SB 150 and HB 295 strengthen the pretrial process, giving judges back some of the discretion they had in determining if a suspect should be held or released, and under what conditions.

The current process doesn’t even take into account a criminal’s out-of-state arrest record, something these bills seek to remedy. Alaska has gang members arriving from other states, committing serious crimes here, and getting released quickly because they have no prior Alaska arrest records. Yes, 80 percent of the criminals in this category are in Anchorage, but it is spreading across the state.

THE PROBLEM: THE CATCH-AND-RELEASE CLUB

SB 91 changed how courts set bail and release conditions, creating a “Catch-and-Release Club.”

Since Jan. 1, release decisions have been based on “risk level,” as determined by a pretrial services officer and an off-the-shelf risk assessment tool that the Department of Corrections must have found at the Dollar Store.

The officer’s bail and release decision limits judges’ discretion in setting bail amounts in some cases. Many career criminals are walking free.

THE SOLUTION

SB 150 restores judges’ flexibility in considering a person’s out-of-state criminal history for those persons who fall into certain categories of serious crimes, but not for crimes like DUI.

SB 150 and HB 295 must be heardin their respective Judiciary Committees so this law can get signed before the summer crime season is upon us.

SB 150  was introduced by the governor in January and referred to Senate Judiciary. Sen. Coghill is chair of the committee.

HB 295is the same legislation that is dying in Rep. Matt Claman’s Judiciary Committee.

TAKE ACTION TODAY!

Contact Rep.Matt.Claman@akleg.gov and Sen.John.Coghill@akleg.gov and ask them to move the bills.

Type the word “Support” in the subject line.

BACKGROUND

This is an anti-crime swat team effort being spearheaded by Rebecca Logan, former candidate for Anchorage mayor, who gathered a group to get Anchorage, Mat-Su, Juneau, Fairbanks, and Kenai the help they need now.

“It’s critical to get this legislation passed and give the judges the discretion they need to make a good decision. If an MS-13 gang member comes before a judge covered with gang tattoos, and he or she has just been arrested for armed robbery, the judge needs to be able to make a decision on whether that person should be out on the street before trial, whether they will show up for their trial.” said Logan, who started “Advocates for Anchorage.”

“This would solve one of the hardest-to-understand parts of this mess. It would allow judges to be judges,” said Randy Ruedrich, who was among the 16 attending the organizational meeting Sunday night.

The group is concerned that although the city has three lobbyists, none has been tasked by Mayor Ethan Berkowitz with working on crime prevention law. It’s time for citizens to advocate for their own safety.

Donations Welcome
Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Need to drop SB 91, and all REFOMS of it since- take it back to the way it was. Then if and I use that word strongly IF it is voted on as a state- not by government officials, then we put something different in. But we MUST hear all the possible problems that can arise from said bill.

  • “Janis…an off the shelf risk assessment tool the the DOc must have found at the Dollar Store.” Best quote all day! Thank you, Suzanne! I am on it. Coghill won’t listen, though. I spent the better part of two days going round and round with Coghill in 2016 telling him and his staff about the loopholes and trying to get him to stop this bill from becoming law. He said, “We can fix it later.” What arrogance. to know he was making a grave mistake and to do it anyway because he didn’t want to admit he was wrong.

    These hills help but we still need a full repeal of this disastrous law that protects the lawless.

  • I agree there needs to be changes, but I’m personally for a full repeal of SB91 first. Unfortunately my opinion doesn’t count, and neither do many others who feel the same way. Coghill is in charge & making our decisions for us. Not that that matters either since voters can’t seem to get off their easychair to even mail in a ballot. Less than 37% (last time I checked) managed to vote for mayor. A lack of interest, other than complaining on Facebook, was shown by this. We should be ashamed of ourselves as a state, allowing these people to take over & make decisions that profoundly impact our lives without a whimper.

  • I say throw their butts Behind Bars. I was the first victim on this one woman’s record and the last time I went to court she had four pages. All those other people didn’t need to suffer the way I am because of this woman. SB-91 is a failure and needs to be resended. As I stated above if it wasn’t for holding this woman’s case until after the first of the year when SB-91 kicked in she’d actually been behind bars and saved all those other people their problems. Look at the time people have to take off of work and court cases the judges and everything else the cost is way more then what it would have been to put her in prison. Victim’S have no rights and get no justice under SB-91. I can’t even get restitution in my case. I wrote a letter and gave it to the district attorney’s office like I was told they stamped it November 5th and now it’s the 10th of April and I still haven’t heard anything at all. My case was open and closed right there when it happened I actually think the police sergeant that was involved with it that took the original statements probably seen the car driving away after the robbery he was there that quickly. They had full video with the make model of a tire license number the three people involved and their faces on video yet only to the people got charged the other one that was physically there there wasn’t enough evidence supposedly and the fourth one that gave them the key code to get into the storage area wasn’t even brought into court. It’s bad enough to lose your property but to be screwed by the court system to really sucks.

    I say repeal SB-91 and lets get these criminals off the streets.

  • I want to thank you for all you do Suzanne, we live on S.S. and are so limited, what you are showing out about Coghill and the CLEAR CORRUPTION in this state is so amazing.
    God Bless you, for those of us that stand staunchly behind CONSERVATIVE thinking.

  • To: Sen.John.Coghill@akleg.gov; Rep.Matt.Claman@akleg.gov
    Subject: Support

    Good morning from Anchorage,

    I would like to express my deep concerns about the changes in my dear city where I was born and raised and have made my home for most of my adult life. I want you to see three instances of high profile crime in the last 48 hours here in Anchorage and a lower profile case that could have ended the life of a friend from high school.

    1) Duane’s Antique Market has been in business in Anchorage and doing charity work around the state for the last 35 years. Thankfully their security system captured excellent quality video of this thief and he was caught. Will the pre-trial risk assessment tool find him worthy of the current “catch and release?”

    298 Shares 17,529 Views
    KTVA 11 News added a new video: Video of Duane’s Antique Market burglary.
    April 7 at 4:08pm ·

    Do you recognize this man?

    Duane’s Antique Market has released surveillance video of the suspect who stole $50,000 in ivory goods Saturday. APD asks anyone with information on the case to call police at 311. STORY: bit.ly/2qaUk9w

    2) Paige Alms is visiting Anchorage, Alaska from Hawaii where she is a competitive surfer. Her facebook profile shows over 4500 friends with an additional 1300+ followers. This hurts the image of Alaska and I expect tourism will take a hit if this type of crime keeps happening, especially to people with internationally recognized personas and accomplishments.

    Paige Alms is at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.
    20 hrs · Instagram · 227 Shares

    This is the bag that was stolen right next to the baggage carousel right off the plane in Anchorage, Alaska. My computer, wallet, DJI Mavic pro, brand new sonicare toothbrush, Patagonia jacket, essential oils, jewelry, and my prized possession hard drive with irreplaceable footage and photos where all in the bag. If anyone has an info, or has friends in Anchorage, please tag or share this post. REWARD happily given for the return!!!

    3) A young man who was not challenged when he entered a woman’s bathroom in the 5th Avenue Mall ended up being caught on video engaging in lewd behavior. This will likely impact business at our flagship mall in Anchorage. Another person who shared this had this to add from Becca’s comments-

    “Leo Ebue shared Becca Evelyn Tokeinna’s video.
    14 hrs ·

    This was taken at the 5th avenue mall today. This was in the woman restroom, the guy was [masterbating] while peeking at some one using the bathroom on the next stall. Be aware protect yourself and your family when you’re in public.”

    Becca Evelyn Tokeinna added a new video.
    20 hrs · 866 Shares 45,399 Views

    4) Last night a friend from high school confronted burglars who were back for the third time to steal liquor from his store. He had had enough and gave chase. He had a gun pointed at his head and he was able to get away and duck behind the vehicle and get the license plate. APD took his report and shook his hand for his bravery and friends from all over the country have commented how glad we are he is okay after such a horrible incident.

    The use of social media has been put to good use by caring Alaskans. The Stolen Vehicles of Alaska page shows 26 New posts today and 204 in the last 30 days. The much more active Stolen in Alaska had so many posts, Facebook placed a cap on the page and they had to create this permanent link. https://www.facebook.com/groups/stoleninalaska/permalink/1675629625866244/ shows between April 8-9, 2018, sixteen vehicles have been stolen. That’s 16 families who in two days time need to find some other way to get to the store for food, get their kids to school or daycare, get to work, after dealing with law enforcement and insurance companies. I know of one insurance company is raising rates for certain zip codes in Anchorage.

    Action must be taken now to end the incentivizing of crime in our city and around the state. SB91 did exactly that, incentivize criminals to come to Alaska for a free ride and do what they do; terrorize, pillage, steal and harm the law-abiding citizens, your constituents. SB54 was a start to correct this wrong but it did not go far enough as the four examples I have provided show. Judges need the flexibility in considering a person’s out-of-state criminal history for those persons who fall into certain categories of serious crimes.

    I call on everyone who has a part in this to do what is best for Alaskans. My fear is that the crime will only escalate, more people will be hurt and our state’s economy will suffer from a further decline in reputation as a safe place to visit or do business. SB 150 and HB 295 must be heard in their respective Judiciary Committees so this law can be passed and signed before the uptick in crime of summer is upon us.

    Sincerely,
    Brenda Rhodes

  • The record shows we cannot persuade fools to abandon their folly. What seems to happen is that Cities or states become more and more anarchistic because liberal minds believe government can solve can solve social problems. Problem is, the government attacks the problem with the big brutal bulldozer-blade of bureaucracy…. treating all criminals with the same policies, all welfare recipients as have the same needs, all businesses with the same red-tape, etc, etc. The bureaucrats just punch the time clock and wile away the hours. End result: exodus of taxpayers. See Detroit, Chicago, LA, SanFrancisco. Crime hollows out the economy of any culture run by the liberal mind-set. It will happen in Alaska.