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Tuesday, January 22, 2019
HomePolitics and PolicyMicciche, Lincoln file bills to close sexual assault loophole

Micciche, Lincoln file bills to close sexual assault loophole

NEW BILLS INCLUDE ‘SCHNEIDER LOOPHOLE’ LEGISLATION

Dozens of bills were filed in advance of the Jan. 15 start of the legislative session, but none are more likely to get more bipartisan support than Senate Bill 12.

Sen. Peter Micciche of Soldotna filed SB 12 to close what he’s calling the “Schneider Loopholes” in Alaska’s criminal code. Rep. John Lincoln of Kotzebue has filed a similar bill on the House side.

The bills resulted from the case of Justin Schneider, who walked free after strangling a woman to the point of unconsciousness and then ejaculating on her. The judge in that case was not retained by voters, but the case itself exposed serious shortcomings in the laws dealing with sexual assault in Alaska.

[Read: Former prosecutor says sentence makes no sense]

“Last year, Alaskans were horrified to learn that a guilty violent sexual perpetrator, Justin Schneider, walked without adequate consequences,” Micciche said. “Serious crimes were ignored and an inappropriate plea deal allowed the perpetrator to serve a portion of the sentence of the single conviction at home with his family. In a state number one in the U.S. for sexual assault, we are making the statement that there will be ‘no more free passes’ for perpetrators of such crimes.

SB 12 has three main changes to law. The bill will:

  • Classify unwanted contact with semen as a sexual crime, which means perpetrators can be required to register as sex offenders for this crime;
  • Require that strangulation to the point of unconsciousness is defined as assault in the first degree, which carries a sentence of 5 to 20 years; and
  • Eliminate credit toward time served for electronic monitoring for sexual assault convictions.

“In recent years, one outrageous story after another about criminals getting a slap on the wrist has dominated our headlines,” said Sen. Micciche. “The case of Justin Schneider, however, forced us to confront just how badly our criminal justice system has been failing victims and survivors of sexual assault. SB 12 represents an urgently needed fix to a glaring loophole, but it is only the beginning.”

[Read: Hard cases make bad laws]

The public was incensed when Schneider received no sentence for his crime. But his victim was not located by state prosecutors, which may have led to the lenient sentence.

Before Gov. Bill Walker left office, he promised to fix the loophole, and Gov. Mike Dunleavy is also on the record saying he supports tightening the law.

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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

  • And Schneider responds to the civil suit filed by “Jane Doe”. What an absolute pig. If you haven’t already, check out https://www.ktva.com/story/39721855/justin-schneider-responds-to-civil-suit-denies-strangling-victim-unconscious
    .
    He denies strangling her to unconsciousness; denies misleading her regarding the destination (huh? he told her he was taking her to a dead-end street?); denies, denies, denies…. Karma, please come and get this guy. Now, please.

    .
    Maybe this lawsuit needs to extend beyond Justin Schneider.

  • I believe that he did sexually assault her. He allegedly told her when she recovered consciousness that he needed her to believe she was dying for his sexual fulfillment. Therefore, choking her was sexual assault- for him anyway. I do not know WHAT the prosecution was thinking. I am GLAD that somebody hooked up the victim with an attorney. Sexual assault is a tort as well as a crime. People don’t always know that. I hope she bleeds him dry! Also I have seen movements to raise choking to felony assault – thinking of domestic violence incidents. I hope SB 12 passes.

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