BILL SUMMARY for HB09-1181
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
|Adopt prepared amendment L.001 (Attachment F) The
Refer House Bill 09-1181, as amended, to the Commi
|Pass Without Objection
04:19 PM -- House Bill 09-1181
Representative McCann, prime sponsor, presented House Bill 09-1181 concerning the right of a victim to make a statement at a community corrections hearing. The bill authorizes a victim to make statement at the community corrections board hearing concerning an offender's placement in community corrections. Current law affords victims of crime the right to provide a written statement, an oral statement, or both concerning an offender's referral to community corrections. The community corrections board then has the discretion to determine whether the victim may make a separate oral statement to the board concerning the offender's placement in community corrections. This bill removes the board's discretion as to whether the victim may make a statement or not.
Representative McCann responded to questions from the committee.
04:25 PM -- Leslie Hansen, 18th Judicial District Attorneys Office, spoke in support of the bill. Ms. Hansen stated her belief that victims deserve to have their voices heard at every stage of the process. She is a representative on the 18th Judicial District community correction board and she explained the process followed by offenders when they are applying to be accepted into community corrections. She indicated that offenders have ample opportunities to communicate with the community corrections boards, while victims do not have the same opportunities. Ms. Hansen provided anecdotal evidence about the amount of time it takes to allow various parties to make verbal statements. She discussed the process of a community corrections board hearing. She responded to questions from Representative Levy, stating that if victims were allowed to speak, she believed there would be safeguards on the process. She further stated that defense attorneys can participate if asked a question. Ms. Hansen responded to questions from Representative Waller, stating that this hearing is not considered a critical stage in the process.
04:38 PM -- Randall Raizen, representing himself, described his family's experiences as victims of crime. He testified in favor of the bill. He stated that if an inmate is not eligible for parole, he shouldn't be eligible for placement in a halfway house. He stated that victims should be allowed to speak.
04:41 PM -- Diane Raizen, representing herself, spoke in support of the bill. Ms. Raizen discussed her experience as a family member of a victim of violent crime.
04:43 PM -- Steve Siegel, Denver District Attorney's Office and Colorado Organization for Victims Assistance, spoke in support of the bill. Mr. Siegel stated that victims rarely have any power in a criminal case, but are significantly affected by the process. He urged the committee's support.
04:45 PM -- Sheri Rojo, representing herself, described her experience as a family member of a murder victim. She discussed her involvement in the process and expressed her desire to have more of a voice.
04:48 PM -- Pamela Martinez, representing himself, spoke in support of the bill. Ms. Martinez described her experience as a family member of a murder victim. Her case is in the City and County of Denver, where victims are permitted to make statements to the community corrections boards. She stated her belief that this should be a right given to victims across the whole state.
04:51 PM -- Scott and Lisa Brody, representing themselves, spoke in support of the bill. Ms. Brody read a written statement concerning their experience as family members of victims of sexual assault.
04:53 PM -- Joe Cannata, Voices of Victims, spoke in support of the bill . Mr. Cannata is a victims advocate and is the family member of a murder victim. He expressed his belief that all victims should have equal rights and an equal voice.
04:57 PM -- Rob Jump , representing himself, spoke in support of the bill. Mr. Jump described his experience with the community corrections board in Jefferson County.
04:59 PM -- Cathy Kohl, representing herself, spoke in support of the bill. Ms. Kohl described her experience with the community corrections board in Jefferson County. She filed a grievance under the Colorado Victims Rights Act.
05:01 PM -- Ted Tow, Colorado District Attorneys Council (CDAC), spoke in support of the bill. Mr. Tow talked about critical stages in a criminal case, which carry the right of a victim to speak. He discussed the ability of an offender to be placed in community corrections before the offender is eligible for parole. This bill would put a community corrections board hearing in the same category as any other hearing at which an offender's status may be changed. He responded to questions from the committee concerning the information provided to a community corrections board.
05:07 PM -- Joscelyn Martell, representing herself, spoke in support of the bill. Ms. Martell described her experience as a family member of a murder victim. She feels it is important to allow victims to speak.
05:08 PM -- Paul Prendergast, representing himself, spoke in opposition to the bill. Mr. Prendergast is a member of the Arapahoe County Community Corrections Board and has experience with the process of referring an individual to community corrections. He discussed the packets of information received by board members. Offenders who do not spend time in community corrections are generally just released into the community with no treatment and training. He stated that parole has much less supervision than community corrections and he believes that community corrections helps to stabilize offenders. He believes that the board is put in a position to retry a case if the victims are allowed to speak. He also stated his belief that offenders will almost always be rejected when victims are allowed to speak. He discussed the role of the board in terms of whether the offender presents a danger to the community and whether the offender is amenable to treatment. Mr. Prendergast responded to questions from the committee about training received by board members and the ability of board members to make impartial decisions when victims speak at the hearings. The committee continued to discuss the process of transitioning an offender to community corrections.
05:30 PM -- Diane Tremutola-Lawson, Colorado Association of Community Corrections Boards (CACCB), spoke in opposition to the bill. Ms. Tremutola-Lawson distributed a fact sheet about the bill (Attachment E). The CACCB voted unanimously to oppose the bill. She responded to questions from the committee about the process for filing a grievance against a board. She stressed that community corrections boards are structured in such a way to allow maximum local control of offenders.
Representative McCann wrapped up her presentation of the bill and asked for a favorable recommendation. Members commented about their positions on the bill and asked additional questions of the sponsor.
05:41 PM -- Ted Tow returned to respond to questions about control over procedures and criteria for the community corrections.
05:42 PM -- Leslie Hansen responded to questions about whether state statutes control community corrections or if that is a matter of local control. Ms. Hansen stated that it is a mixture of state and local control.
05:44 PM -- Fran Coleman, Denver Community Corrections Board, spoke about the control of community corrections board procedures and criteria.
The committee continued to comment about their positions on the bill.
| 05:51:36 PM
|Refer House Bill 09-1181, as amended, to the Committee of the Whole with a favorable recommendation. The motion passed on a vote of 8-1, with 2 excused.
Final YES: 8 NO: 1 EXC: 2 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS
Representative Levy adjourned the committee.