After grand jury proceedings were allowed to continue in June of this year, the Fairbanks District Court has decided to once again temporarily suspend proceedings due to rising COVID case counts in the Fairbanks North Star Borough.
With 25 days till the November 2020 election, much of the focus is on who will lead the country for the next four years from the executive branch as well as the candidates hoping to represent Alaskans in congress and the legislature, but an often overlooked group of people who wield great power are on the ballot too — 22 judges are up for retention statewide.
Even though trials are resuming, they will look much different than before with social distancing and required masks. Some attorneys worry that these rules may make it hard to adequately represent their clients to a jury.
Since March, the Alaska Court System has put all jury trials on hold in their ongoing efforts to fight to the COVID-19 pandemic, some defense attorneys are worried their clients rights are being violated.
Peter Horace-Wright was allegedly shot to death by Ryder Alan Smith at a towing business in November of last year. The 11 minutes between the gun shots and Ryder Smith calling the police, Smith can be heard calling his father. Ryder Smith faces first degree murder charges, but Peter Horace-Wright's family is calling on the justice system to make Smith's father accountable as well.
According to a 10-page motioned filed in Fairbanks Superior Court, “Due process guarantees a criminal defendant the right to prepare and present a defense, and this due process right encompasses the separate constitutional right to the effective assistance of counsel.” They claim this right is violated by the rule banning in-person visitation.
In an opinion issued Friday, the Alaska Court of Appeals ruled that law enforcement officers can not use technology such as cameras and drones to search from the air during an investigation without an arrest warrant.
Mark King, 51, of Fairbanks was handed down a 90 year prison sentence for multiple sexual crimes against minors. Judge Thomas Temple suspended 40 years of the sentence for a total time served of 50 years.