Alaska Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

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Alaska Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers The Alaska Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Inc. (“AKACDL”) is a non-profit association of criminal defense lawyers in Alaska.

28/08/2018

QUARTERLY UPDATE:

AKACDL looks forward to hosting several Fall CLEs with more updates to follow. You can look forward to a September session on using technology in trial, and a possible November CLE co-hosted with the Alaska Native Justice Center focusing on prisoner re-entry. As always, AKACDL will host a Christmas party with a date and location TBD.

AKACDL recently donated $500 to a ANJC fundraiser, and $250 to the Alaska Innocence Project. Our member numbers continue to be strong, and we are in good financial standing.

AKACDL founder and past-president Darrel Gardner moderated a discussion with retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy at the Nin...
28/07/2018
Retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy Discusses Legacy

AKACDL founder and past-president Darrel Gardner moderated a discussion with retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy at the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference in Anaheim on July 26. At approximately 27:00, Darrel asks Kennedy about his experience representing criminal defendants. Kennedy reflects on Government overcharging. https://www.c-span.org/video/?448660-1/retiring-supreme-court-justice-anthony-kennedy-discusses-legacy

Retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and others discuss judicial matters at the annual Ninth Circuit Judicial conference in Anaheim, California. Justice Kennedy announced his retirement in…

Derrick Jamison talks about his time on death row in Ohio at the 22nd Annual Alaskans Against the Death Penalty fish fry...
28/07/2018

Derrick Jamison talks about his time on death row in Ohio at the 22nd Annual Alaskans Against the Death Penalty fish fry. Jamison was exonerated on October 25, 2005, twenty years to the day after he was sentenced to death.

Congratulations to AKACDL’s 2018 Champion of Liberty award winners! Ben Muse, a public defender in Anchorage, won an a...
12/07/2018

Congratulations to AKACDL’s 2018 Champion of Liberty award winners! Ben Muse, a public defender in Anchorage, won an award, along with Megan Newport, who is a social worker in Bethel. Megan was given the non-member award, which is not bestowed every year, but only when the AKACDL board has determined that an individual has made significant contributions to the cause of criminal justice in Alaska.

06/07/2018

AKACDL QUESTIONS GOVERNOR’S RECALL OF JUDICIAL APPOINTEE

The Alaska Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (“AKACDL”) is a statewide non-profit organization whose goal is “to represent the association before the legislative, executive, and judicial bodies which determine policy for the state and federal governments in a manner that promotes the mission of the association and its objectives and purposes. To preserve, protect, and defend the adversary system of justice and the Alaska and U.S. Constitutions."

AKACDL is very concerned about Governor Walker’s recent action rescinding a judicial appointment made to a highly qualified attorney on the basis of her advocacy in a single criminal case. After attorney Julie Willoughby was recommended to the Governor to serve as a Juneau Superior Court Judge by the Alaska Judicial Council, Governor Walker called her and told her he had selected her. Ms. Willoughby’s application for the Juneau Superior Court judgeship went through Alaska’s widely praised constitutional and merit-based process for the selection of judges. She was rated by her peers as the most qualified person applying for the job; the Alaska Judicial Council, which is made up of the Chief Justice of the Alaska Supreme Court, three attorney members and three public members, one of whom is a retired law enforcement officer, recommended Ms. Willoughby and one other applicant to the Governor. Governor Walker interviewed both applicants and then offered Ms. Willoughby the job.

But then, according to a July 2, 2018 article published in the Juneau Empire, an unnamed staff member provided Governor Walker a brief Ms. Willoughby wrote while defending a client in a s*x abuse of a minor case. According to Scott Kendall, the Governor’s Chief of Staff, Ms. Willoughby’s brief, filed in the summer of 2015, shocked the Governor’s conscience. Mr. Kendall further accused Ms. Willoughby of “attacking a child victim and misstating statutory r**e laws.” Governor Walker then rescinded the appointment of Ms. Willoughby and selected another candidate.

The brief Mr. Kendall referred to is a 44-page memorandum in support of a motion to dismiss for constitutional violations and prosecutorial failure to follow guidelines. Far from attacking the child victim or misstating the law, Ms. Willoughby raised a number of complex constitutional challenges to Alaska’s criminal sentencing statutes as they existed at the time. Ms. Willoughby argued that her client, who was 18 at the time the crimes were allegedly committed in 2013, would likely die in jail should he be convicted of all counts. That outcome, and the manner in which Ms. Willoughby believed the case was being prosecuted, raised due process, cruel and unusual punishment, and equal protection concerns. The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eight Amendments of the United States Constitution, whose protections are applied to state governments through the Fourteenth Amendment, protect the rights of criminal defendants, including the rights of the clients Ms. Willoughby has well and ably served. And that is what Ms. Willoughby argued in the memo that the Governor took offense to.

Alaska lawyers, including Ms. Willoughby, are bound by the Rules of Professional conduct. The Rules explain that as an advocate, “a lawyer zealously asserts the client’s position under the rules of the adversary system.” According to Alaska Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2(b), “[a] lawyer’s representation of a client, including representation by appointment, does not constitute an endorsement of the client’s political, economic, social, or moral views or activities.” Read in full and in context, it is challenging to comprehend how Governor Walker (or his staff) conflated Ms. Willoughby’s advocacy of her client’s constitutional rights with an endorsement of child s*xual abuse. The Governor’s decision to punish her for this advocacy is contrary to our system for judicial selection.

Governor Walker’s action reveals a lack of recognition for the important role of the defense lawyer in our criminal justice system. More broadly, such action sends a chilling message to any lawyer who might aspire to the bench—be meek in your advocacy and avoid the hard cases or unpopular issues. This cuts to the core of what it should mean to be a lawyer. Throughout our history, it has been the bravery of lawyers who have taken the hard or unpopular cases that have protected and expanded liberty in this country and especially in Alaska. Lawyers have always been at the forefront of civil rights movements, of curbing governmental excess, and of assuring that the promises of our constitution to due process and equal rights under the law are fulfilled. In Alaska, lawyers have been at the forefront of protecting our rights of privacy against government intrusion. Lawyers are frequently tasked with representing the “undesirable.” If the only judges the Governor will appoint are those who have avoided controversy or watered down their ethical obligations, he will have created a weakened judiciary.

It is the role of the lawyer in such cases to make what may be unpopular arguments. To punish a lawyer for doing so is wrong and denotes a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of the defense lawyer. If lawyers are vilified for accepting unpopular clients, the entire system is damaged. Those who are viewed as unpopular clients are the most likely to face bias and suffer injustice in our imperfect legal system. And it is the honorable role of defense counsel to protect the rights of the unpopular. Under Governor Walker’s short sighted and ill-informed conduct here, if Atticus Finch, the brave lawyer who represented a black man charged with a s*x crime in the book To Kill A Mockingbird applied for a judgeship, he would be rejected not based upon his qualifications, but because he had taken on the difficult case.

Our judicial selection process was deliberately created by the founders of the Alaska Constitution to promote a process for selecting judges that avoids political favoritism by requiring the input of the judicial council and its recommendation process. Governor Walker’s conduct here, rejecting the most qualified applicant based upon selected excerpts from a single memorandum she wrote on behalf of an unpopular client, has seriously eroded that process and threatens to impact the quality of our judiciary.

Jeff Robinson
President, AKACDL

19/05/2018
So many thanks to Samantha Cherot for her dedicated and superlative efforts as a member of AKACDL's board of directors. ...
03/03/2018

So many thanks to Samantha Cherot for her dedicated and superlative efforts as a member of AKACDL's board of directors. Bravo!

04/02/2018

Don't forget to pay your dues before the final cutoff date! You will be terminated from the listserv and no longer attend the All*Stars Conference at the discounted member price. You will not be able to attend the free holiday party with a guest, nor will you be able to attend the many free yearly CLEs also with free food and beverage, and certified Bar CLE credit. Don't miss out!

Spread the word!
31/12/2017

Spread the word!

29/10/2017

Piper Kerman, author of "Orange is the New Black," will be speaking at the 2018 Alaska Bar Convention, along with Andy Fastow, the former CFO of Enron, who served a six year federal prison sentence and now lectures on corporate business practices and ethics.

AKACDL is a proud sponsor at the AK Native Justice Center fundraiser. Pictured: Roy Huhndorf.
18/10/2017

AKACDL is a proud sponsor at the AK Native Justice Center fundraiser. Pictured: Roy Huhndorf.

21/09/2017

‪Save the date: The 2018 All*Stars Conference is July 12-13 at Alyeska Resort! ‬

17/09/2017

Congrats to AKACDL founder and former president Darrel Gardner, who was just installed as Ninth Circuit Vice President of the Federal Bar Association at its annual convention. In the 97 year history of the FBA, Gardner is the first Alaskan to be elected to a national office. The FBA currently has more than 19,000 members. Fba Alaska Chapter

27/12/2016

Season's greetings from AKACDL. And justice for all.

The Alaska Bar Association has recently launched an online service offering free civil (no criminal law) legal advice to...
04/11/2016
Alaska

The Alaska Bar Association has recently launched an online service offering free civil (no criminal law) legal advice to qualified low income Alaskans. Check it out at: Alaska.freelegalanswers.org

Alaska.freelegalanswers.org

19/10/2016

If you're a member feel free to attend the Board meeting this Thursday at 4:30 PM at Tetlow & Christie. We're looking for volunteers and doers to help build and grow our association!

10/10/2016

New CLE coming in October - "Concurrent and Consecutive State and Federal Sentencing and Custody Issues," presented by Darrel Gardner at the 49th State Brewing Company on October 27th at 4:00 PM. The interplay and pitfalls surrounding state and federal sentences and
client custody status. Refreshments provided.

05/05/2016

Be sure to visit the AKACDL table at the Alaska Bar Convention next week! Sign up a colleague as a new member and receive a $25 dues rebate!

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