Alaska man alleges AK Supreme Court corruption, stages protest

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 3:45 AM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - In recent weeks, the Alaska Supreme Court has entered the public eye over its relationship with grand juries in the state.

The controversy surrounding the state’s highest court culminated in a series of protests around Alaska on Wednesday, March 15, including in Fairbanks.

“If this doesn’t get dealt with, this is definitely going to affect future generations. I’m out here for my kids, basically,” said protestor Carmen Durham.

She was among a handful of Alaskans who gathered outside the Rabinowitz Courthouse in Fairbanks that morning to bring attention to the allegations made against the Alaska Supreme Court.

According to David Haeg, Co-Founder of the Alaska Grand Jurors Association, “There is systemic corruption, evidence of it, in government, but government will not investigate itself.”

Recently, Haeg has been traveling the state bringing awareness to what he sees as an unconstitutional action by the court. “The people who wrote Alaska’s Constitution said that grand juries that investigate have the ability to indict people that they’re investigating.”

Haeg said he has been following alleged corruption in state government, including the falsifying of investigations, since 2007. “We kept running into brick wall after brick wall, but the more we researched it, the more we realized that there shouldn’t have been a brick wall.”

In November of last year, the Alaska Supreme Court instituted a rule change that Haeg said barred grand juries in Alaska from traditional powers. “They stripped the power of the grand jury to investigate, indict, or make recommendations,” he alleged.

According to the Alaska Court System’s website, the Supreme Court’s orders did not suspend the grand jury’s powers, but instead created processes for how the grand jury functions.

The Alaska Court System released a statement about the controversy, saying the opposition to the Supreme Court’s action has been led by an individual who has alleged conspiracy theories since 2005.

The statement said, “As for the claims of ‘corruption,’ the court system has seen no evidence or documents in support, and there hasn’t been any mention of any specific statute or law that is claimed to have been broken. The court system is in the difficult position of trying to disprove something that is merely a vague, generalized assertion. The system is not corrupt. The allegations are unsupportable.”

However, Haeg argues this change crippled the power of a specific, ongoing grand jury that had been hearing evidence against judges on the court. “It’s fairly apparent to most people that the reason was because of this ongoing grand jury investigation,” he said.

In response, Haeg planned a sit-in around the state. “We’re trying to build momentum to oppose what almost certainly is going to happen when they try to issue indictments.”

However, in Fairbanks, the group assembled outside the courthouse. “I came to peacefully protest and hopefully bring more and more attention,” Durham said.

The Fairbanks protest joins others around the state, including in Juneau, Kenai, Palmer and Anchorage.

Haeg has called for the impeachment of all of Alaska’s Supreme Court justices. More information about his allegations can be found here.