Blocks Amendment Alleged Unconstitutional by Defense Lawyers
July 06, 2010
The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska Foundation (ACLU), attorneys for the AKACDL argued to the court that, as the Alaska Constitution guarantees the right to bail, allowing the Bail Bill to be implemented would have improperly denied Alaskans charged with certain crimes of their liberty, and that such a denial required emergency action.
The court agreed as to a provision mandating exclusion of those accused of domestic violence from homes or places of employment.
Tom Stenson, attorney with the ACLU, stated: "We are pleased that the court today recognized that a provision of the Bail Bill is so egregious that the State must be ordered not to enforce it. We feel that confident that, when the court has reviewed all of our claims at more length, we will prevail on all of them. In the meantime, the rights of some Alaskans accused of certain crimes will be protected against infringement by an unconstitutional law."
The legislation, HB 324, the Governor's "Bail Bill", is a revision of bail statutes. Significant provisions of the bill require persons charged with an unclassified or Class A felony and certain other crimes to bear the burden of proving conditions or bail amounts are sufficient to protect the public and reasonably assure their appearance in court. The bill would also prohibit a court from releasing a defendant found guilty of a sexual felony pending imposition of sentence or an appeal.
HB 324 also changes from 24
to 48 hours the deadline for bringing a person before a judicial
officer after arrest resulting what was proposed to be better
charging decisions, more coherent bail arguments, and ultimately
fewer bail hearings. The bill was signed by Governor Sean parnell
on May 14, 2010.
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