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Alaska State Representative Ralph Samuels Information

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Illegally Obtained Evidence
Sponsor Statement for HB 349
Alaska State Legislature
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Attachments Attachments
 
Sponsored By:
Rep. Nancy Dahlstrom
Rep. Lesil McGuire
Rep. Ralph Samuels
Rep. Bill Stoltze
Last Updated:
January 31, 2004
Sara Nielsen
465-4230 (Jan-May)
269-0240 (Jun-Dec)

   

"An Act amending Rule 412, Alaska Rules of Evidence."

"Every criminal defendant has a constitutional right to testify in his defense. But that right must never be construed to include the right to commit perjury."
- Rep. Samuels

 

House Bill 349 is a bill that promotes truth telling by criminal defendants who choose to testify at trial.

Every criminal defendant has a constitutional right to testify in his defense. But that right must never be construed to include the right to commit perjury. Alaska's current law prevents courts from using suppressed prior inconsistent statements to challenge the credibility of defendants. This perverts the truth-finding process. It gives those who would lie under oath in a bid to escape justice a license to deceive jurors and judges as happened in a recent murder trial in Anchorage.

Under the supervision of a judge, a new law will permit prosecutors to cross-examine defendants using prior suppressed statements and evidence. Passage of HB 349 will bring Alaska into the mainstream of American and federal jurisprudence where such rules have been the law for years.

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