So, let’s talk about domestic violence in Alaska . Apparently, Alaska is simply awash in violence. We are all going to be burned in our beds tonight. The Supreme Court just used domestic violence as an excuse to gut our right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. Some make the claim that there is more domestic violence in Alaska than any other State. Really? The state with the 3rd smallest population, has more domestic violence than any other place in this country. Is it that Alaskans are beating the hell out of each other OR is it that the law here is so broad that ‘domestic violence’ is all encompassing. Well take this little quiz. Don’t worry, it is true or false.

1. You have a few beers too many and decide you need cigarettes. You take the girlfriend’s car out. On the way home you damage the car. No one is injured. The girlfriend is in the house and doesn’t even see the damage being done. You just committed an act of ‘domestic violence’. (Comes from MY case of State v. Redmon, March 25, 2009)
2. An elderly uncle comes to visit his favorite nephew and, while lighting his pipe, recklessly scorches a table cloth or a chair, the old man has just committed an act of “domestic violence”. Comes from Bingaman v. State 76 P.3d 398 Alaska App., 2003.
3. A group of former college roommates decide to hold a twenty-year reunion at one of their homes, and one of the visiting former roommates gets drunk and recklessly jams his friend's CD player while trying to insert a CD into it, has this roommate just committed an act of “domestic violence”? Comes from Bingaman v. State 76 P.3d 398 Alaska App., 2003.

The answer is ‘true’ to all of these questions! The examples could go on and on and on. But here are some facts: in Alaska you do NOT need to physically violent to commit ‘domestic violence’. Oh no. Under AS 11.41.230 (3), assault can be committed “by words” alone if you “recklessly” place another person in fear of imminent physical injury. Be careful here…do NOT assume that an overt threat is necessary. It is not. Simply scaring someone is enough. Another fact is that the ‘victim’ need not even be present. Imagine this scenario. A step-sister you have not seen in 20 years calls you in Alaska from Florida . She tells you that she has squandered your entire inheritance on crack. In a rage you break a figurine that you know used to belong to her. You just committed an act of ‘domestic violence’ in Alaska (criminal mischief). The list of crimes that involve ‘domestic violence’ is significant. According to AS 18.66.990(3), the term “domestic violence” includes any of the following crimes (and attempts to commit any of the following crimes) when committed by one household member against another: any crime against the person under AS 11.41; burglary, criminal trespass, arson or criminally negligent burning, criminal mischief, terroristic threatening, violating a domestic violence [restraining] order and harassment. Likewise, under AS 18.66.990(5), the term “household member” includes: (A) adults or minors who are current or former spouses; (B) adults or minors who live together or who have lived together; (C) adults or minors who are dating or who have dated; (D) adults or minors who are engaged in or who have engaged in a sexual relationship; (E) adults or minors who are related to each other up to the fourth degree of consanguinity, whether of the whole or half blood or by adoption, computed under the rules of civil law; (F) adults or minors who are related or formerly related by marriage; (G) persons who have a child of [their] relationship; and (H) minor children of a person in a relationship that is described in [subparagraphs] (A)-(G)[.]
So, what does all this mean? It means that the Department of Law can demand more prosecutors. The Department of Public Safety can demand more cops. Prosecutors, judges and politicians can tell us in a soothing voice that if we surrender just a little more of our liberty, we will be safer. By making the definition of ‘domestic violence’ include many crimes against many people, Alaska can claim to have the highest rate of domestic violence in the country. Bullshit. I see no more REAL domestic violence here than I did when I practiced in California or British Columbia . But the incredibly sad thing is that the demand to surrender ever more liberty will be 100% successful. It always is. There will be more cops, more prosecutors and more prisons to keep us from all getting killed by a distant cousin or something. Now don’t get me wrong. Whether or not these acts should be illegal is not the question. The real question is whether they are acts of ‘domestic violence’. DV crimes have some horrendous collateral consequences. Some of those include a heinously expensive (and year long) “Batterer’s Intervention Program”. Under federal law those convicted of domestic violence crimes can never own firearms or ammunition again. Those serving jail time are not eligible for alternative sentencing. There are increased sentences for subsequent crimes. The list goes on. But the whole thing is a scam. Alaska ’s “ridiculously high’ rate of domestic violence is simply a matter of definition. And that definition is designed to give the Government ever more power over the people. Those of us who 'resist' will be labeled as uncaring or worse yet as sympathizers. Maybe we are even perps ourselves simply because we don't want the police in our lives! The fact is the Court in Miller bought it hook, line and sinker. Be careful who you argue with out there people. In Alaska you can commit ‘domestic violence’ by having an argument. How incredibly sad.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Jury Duty


AFFIDAVIT
(Request for Excuse from Jury Service for Case at Issue)

STATE OF MONTANA
County of Gallatin

I, ERIK ANTHONY SLYE, being first duly sworn upon oath, depose and say that jury service would entail undue hardship on me and that I request to be excused from jury service for the following reasons:

Apparently you morons didn’t understand me the first time. I cannot take time off from work. I am not putting my family’s well being at stake to participate in this crap. I don’t believe in our “justice” system and I don’t want to have a goddam thing to do with it. Jury duty is a complete waste of time. I would rather count the wrinkles on my dog’s balls than sit on a jury. Get it through your thick skulls. Leave me the Fuck alone.

Erik Slye
56 Tulip Ave.
Belgrade, MT 69714

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me this 15th day of January, 2009.

Susan M. Hedrick
Notary Public for the State of Montana
Residing at Belgrade
My Commission Expires 09-22-2009

Erik, if you have something you’d like to share, please do not hold back your feelings.

Say what is on your mind.

Don’t be so reticent.
As it turns out, however, Mr. Slye's Affidavit did not have EXACTLY the effect he had no doubt hoped for, because it resulted in the following Order from the Court:
CITATION FOR CONTEMPT

THE FREEDON AND LIBERTY THAT MR SLYE ENJOYS DEPENDS UPON THE VOLUNTARY SERVICE OF JURY DUTY, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT ERIC SLYE BE AND REMAIN IN THE COUNTY JAIL FOR 20 DAYS OR UNTIL HE RECANTS HIS CONTEMPTUOUS CONDUCT IN OPEN COURT. MR. SLYE'S FAMILY MAY VISIT HIM ON WEEKENDS BUT HIS DOG SHALL STAY AT HOME UNMOLESTED BY THE DEFENDANT.

Notwithstanding his rather direct (albeit foolhardy) approach, I am left to wonder: How many potential jurors in the box are truly on Mr. Slye's wavelength, but never express it?
Anonymous said…
Good post. You said what every Alaskan lawyer was thinking when "Dan the DA" made that comment re: Alaska is "awash in DV". Since I've practiced in two jurisdictions, I can say domestic violence in Alaska is primarily a figment of conservative alaskan's imagination.

It saddens me to see conservatives using the same type of inflammatory rhetoric as the left toward the same goal: extend the power of government. It is especially disheartening given that the conservative movement was virtually dead by the 70's until it revitalized itself under the theory of government minimalism.

We imprison more people than any other democracy. We imprison as many people as despotic regimes. And yet, I hear comments by supposed Americans proudly supporting ridiculously overbroad legislation to allow government to intrude on our lives and, in the case of DV crime, eliminate many of our fundamental rights.

Is this really our choice these days? More government or more government?
Yeah it is funny when I am called a "liberal". Those who know me know I am pretty darned conservative. These days being a Republican means wanting to break people's fingers and imposing more laws. When did that become conservative? And when "conservative" Alaskans push for more laws, despite the absurdly broad laws already in place, they are not being conservative at all. Well said Anon.
josh said…
Great post Ben, I'd like to see more of these.
Josh, from time to time I will write about the law. But I am really trying to capture my life. The ups and downs, the stuggles and triumphs. But I will try and write more about the law.
Tony said…
Ben,

Great post. When you have a chance, can you email us over at AlaskaDispatch.com (alaskadispatch@gmail.com)? I had a quick question.

Tony
Anonymous said…
http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/rural/story/790230.html

government creep in Alaska - now we have to register in Kotz! WTF?
Yeah having been in kotz, that is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. What the hell is happening to this State?
Anonymous said…
I'm kind of surprised that not one of those gutless bitches who have been making their little comments in previous posts have anything to say about this. Why the silence?
fdr said…
Ben, don't know you'll read this as it is so far back, but...

As a retired cop, I completely agree with you. Domestic violence political correctness is running amuck. I had a big issue with mandatory arrest laws. As a cop, if I got called to your house on a domestic, my repsonsibility (at least as I understood it and trained my people) was to make the situation better for ALL parties if we could. An arrest is the LAST resort.....and is often MORE HARMFUL than the issues the couple had. Now he (or somtimes she) has to get an attorney....miss work and incopme and possibly lose opportunity to gain income......she has to find child care to show up in court.....etc, etc.

Often the best thing to do is advise one party (and give them a ride if need be) to go somewhere else and sleep it off.

(Don't get me wrong, if some guy really is beating his wife, he is going off to the slammer....but its rarely that simple....)
fdr said…
I also agree with ytiour assesment that the Republican party is NOT conservative...

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