Current Issue

  • Volume 34,
  • Number 1 -
  • June 2017

Note From the Editor


The Anchorage, Alaska Municipal Pretrial Diversion Program: An Initial Assessment
Cory R. Lepage & Jeff D. May

Pretrial diversion programs have the potential to prevent future criminal behavior through intervention and community based services. This may be particularly true for specific populations of offenders such as those with mental illness, substance abuse disorder, and those with co-occuring disorders. Pretrial diversion programs take low-level offenders out of the jail population, both reducing system overpopulation and costs of incarceration. The programs also provide speedy case processing for minor crimes resulting in savings to the court system and personnel. Pretrial diversion can help an offender avoid a criminal conviction and potentially avoid future criminal violations. Results indicate that most Anchorage pretrial defendants comply with and complete the pretrial conditions in a very short time period, an additional savings in case processing time. This research details the initial assessment of the Anchorage Municipal Prosecutor Pretrial Diversion program. This assessment examines system savings in time and money, as well as policy implications for the justice system that may assist other jurisdictions as they consider implementing a pretrial diversion program.

Truth and Reconciliation Commissions: A Needed Force in Alaska?
Heather Parker

Truth and Reconciliation Commissions are official, temporary bodies used for communities to come to terms with past violence, promote education and awareness of historic trauma, and to provide recognition and closure for victims and successors. By bringing past issues to light, such commissions promote healing and allow these communities to move forward. Although the Commission on Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa after the Apartheid-era is best known, several similar commissions have been established throughout the globe and within the United States. This paper compares commissions from South Africa, El Salvador, South Korea, and Canada with those that have been established in the United States to examine whether such a commission would be useful in Alaska to address current social problems in the state.

The Economic Loss Doctrine in Alaska and the Design Professional Exception
Ashley K. Sundquist

The economic loss doctrine has prevented countless plaintiffs from recovering their economic losses in tort. However, over the last several decades, numerous courts have found exceptions to this doctrine. Alaska currently provides two important exceptions: the independent duty exception and the design professional exception. These two exceptions as applied provide for inconsistent results which create liability for design professionals and cut off liability for non-design professionals. Providing the same approach and analysis for all professionals creates greater consistency and predictability and provides an opportunity for design professionals to limit their exposure to negligence claims.


Children and Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend: Reasons for Rethinking Parental Duty
Eli Kozminsky

Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend (Dividend) is an annual payment to eligible residents derived from state investment earnings on mineral royalties. Since 1982, the Dividend has averaged a payout of approximately $1,000 annually. The Permanent Fund Dividend program allows a parent, guardian, or other authorized representative to claim a Dividend on behalf of a child. Yet Alaska law currently imposes no requirements whatsoever on how parents use a child’s Dividend. This Note questions Alaska’s lack of parental duty when it comes to managing children’s Dividends. Part I sketches the Permanent Fund Dividend’s history and motivations, the mechanics of the program itself, and the case law that has developed regarding parental duty under the program. Part II then proposes that the way in which a child’s Dividend is characterized influences what sort of parental duty (if any) attaches. In Part III, a reinterpretation of the Dividend as income rightly belonging to the child is offered as a compelling alternative to current doctrine. This Note concludes that the lax treatment of a child’s Dividend under current Alaska law is suspect, and argues that an income conception that imputes a higher degree of parental duty better advances the program’s aims.

The Future of Challenges to the Alaskan Public School Funding Scheme After State v. Ketchikan
Kate Wheelock

In 2013, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough initiated a challenge to the Alaska public education funding scheme by paying its required local contribution (RLC) to its school district under protest. The Borough subsequently filed a lawsuit against the State of Alaska in 2014. This Note discusses the supreme court’s constitutional analysis of the RLC in State v. Ketchikan. Despite extensive discussion of the RLC in the context of the Alaska Constitution’s Dedicated Funds Clause, the court failed to sufficiently analyze the RLC (a critical component of public school funding) in the context of the state’s responsibility for education—a duty rooted in the Public Schools Clause. This Note will argue that, unlike the challenge to the RLC under the Dedicated Funds Clause, a successful challenge to the RLC under the Public Schools Clause is a possibility. To prevent a hasty legislative response, the State should consider alternative funding schemes less reliant on RLCs before a court order demands it do so, particularly given the disparities in local contributions that are not necessarily proportional to borough revenues as well as the increased criticism of the RLC after State v. Ketchikan.