Location: HCR 0112
BILL SUMMARY for HB17-1150
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
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01:36 PM -- HB17-1150
The committee was called to order. A quorum was present. Representative Navarro, prime sponsor, presented House Bill 17-1150, concerning disallowing a court from granting bail to offenders who have committed certain crimes. Representative Navarro discussed certain crimes for which bail is not granted under current law, and explained the effect of the bill. She also discussed the need for the legislation. The following persons testified regarding HB 17-1150:
01:39 PM -- Mr. Scott Turner, representing the Office of Attorney General and the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance, testified in support of the bill. Mr. Turner discussed the dangers associated with the crimes addressed by the bill, and explained why bail is not granted under certain circumstances. He discussed the benefits of the bill. Mr. Turner responded to questions regarding the scope of the definition of stalking, and the potential for the bill to apply to individuals for whom the legislation is not intended. Mr. Turner clarified the effect of the bill, and responded to questions regarding the time period for which an offender might be confined to jail under the bill. Discussion ensued regarding a comparison between the crimes for which bail is prohibited while awaiting sentencing or appeal and the crimes invoked by HB 17-1150. Discussion followed regarding discretion on the part of the court in granting bail for stalking and domestic violence crimes. Mr. Turner responded to questions regarding the ability of defendants to be released on bond for the subject crimes prior to conviction.
Mr. Turner responded to questions regarding whether stalking constitutes habitual conduct, and the potential for amending the bill to address domestic violence as habitual conduct. Discussion returned to the unintended capture of certain offenders by the bill, and statistics associated with those who receive probation as punishment for stalking. Mr. Turner responded to questions regarding how severe emotional distress is determined, and the elements required as evidence of stalking. Discussion followed regarding data pertaining to continued stalking after law enforcement contact, and the types of behaviors associated with stalking.
02:08 PM -- Ms. Beth McCann, Denver District Attorney, testified in support of HB 17-1150. Ms. McCann recounted an instance when she prosecuted a stalking case, and discussed the rate of homicide associated with domestic violence in Denver. Ms. McCann responded to questions regarding her experience in prosecuting the case she referenced, and the time frame associated with the stalking post-conviction period. Discussion ensued regarding the likelihood of a felony charge resulting for stalking, and the frequency with which district attorneys argue against granting bail.
02:25 PM -- Ms. Maureen Cain, representing the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar and the Office of the State Public Defender, testified in opposition to the bill. Ms. Cain provided her position on some forthcoming amendments, and discussed research about effective methods for addressing specific crimes. Ms. Cain responded to questions regarding how risk is assessed for offenders, and cited figures for the rate of felony stalking convictions, and subsequent punishment. She explained why the mandatory nature of the bill may not achieve its intended results.
Discussion ensued regarding the unique nature of the crime of stalking, and the potential for victims to be harmed by the mandates of the bill. Ms. Cain returned to providing her position on some forthcoming amendments. She responded to questions regarding stalking legislation adopted in 2010, and the removal of court discretion by the bill. Discussion returned to the statistics on stalking crimes cited by Ms. Cain earlier.
03:02 PM -- Ms. Tara Mallett, representing Isabelle Wolfe, testified in support of the bill. Ms. Mallett read the testimony of Ms. Wolfe, whose sister was murdered by a stalker while out of jail awaiting sentencing. Ms. Mallett responded to questions regarding contacts she has with stalking cases as a Fountain police officer, and the circumstances surrounding the case she recounted involving Ms. Wolfe's sister. Discussion ensued regarding the effect of a forthcoming amendment.
03:12 PM -- Mr. Jeff Lindsey, representing the Fourth Judicial District, testified in support of HB 17-1150. Mr. Lindsey provided input on stalking from his perspective as a prosecutor, and explained why the crime should be treated differently from others for the purposes of granting bail while awaiting sentencing. Mr. Lindsey responded to questions regarding the ability of a prosecutor to request refusal of bail in the circumstances covered by the bill, and the reoffending rate for stalkers.
03:22 PM -- Ms. Joy Mitchell, representing the Fourth Judicial District, testified in support of the bill. Ms. Mitchell discussed her experiences as a victim advocate on stalking cases, and the nature of stalking. Ms. Mitchell responded to questions regarding what happens for the victims after a judgment is rendered in a stalking or domestic violence case.
03:30 PM -- Ms. Lydia Waligorski, representing the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence, testified in support of HB 17-1150. Ms. Waligorski discussed the intersection of stalking and domestic violence. Ms. Waligorski responded to questions regarding potential impacts of denying bail on victims.
03:36 PM -- Mr. Tom Raynes, representing the Colorado District Attorneys' Council, testified in support of the bill. Mr. Raynes discussed the types of crimes for which bail is not an option after conviction, and the seriousness of stalking and domestic violence crimes. Mr. Raynes responded to questions regarding the unique nature of the crime of stalking.
03:40 PM -- Ms. Janet Huffor, representing the El Paso County Sheriff's Office and the County Sheriffs of Colorado, testified in support of the bill. Ms. Huffor discussed circumstances in which bail is denied after conviction under current law, and explained why stalking should have a similar status.
The committee recessed.
The committee returned to order. Representative Salazar, acting as chair, laid the bill for future consideration.