Marshall v. State

In Marshall v. State,[1] the Court of Appeals of Alaska held that a defense counsel’s stipulation to an element of an offense is procedurally permissible, even without a personal waiver by the defendant, so long as the trial court instructs the jury on all of the elements of the offence, including the element covered by the stipulation.  Defendant Marshall was a convicted sex offender who was required to register.  Marshall complied with his registration requirements until June 2013, when he failed to submit his annual registration.  He was arrested and charged with second-degree failure to register as a sex offender.  A person commits the crime if he (1) is required to register; (2) knows that he is required to register; and (3) fails to file the annual or quarterly written verification.  At the beginning of trial, Marshall’s attorney offered to stipulate to the first element to prevent the jury from learning that Marshall’s underlying sex offense was for sexual abuse of a minor.  Marshall himself did not personally waive the first element.  The trial court instructed the jury on all of the elements of the offense, including the element covered by the stipulation, and on the State’s burden to prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt.  The jury found Marshall guilty.  Marshall appealed, arguing that the stipulation effectively removed an element of the charged offense from the jury’s consideration and it was therefore an error for the court to instruct the jury on the stipulation without first obtaining Marshall’s personal waiver of his right to a jury trial on that element.  The court of appeals disagreed.  It explained that in a jury trial, even when the parties reach a stipulation concerning an element of the offense, the stipulation must be presented to the jury.  It explained that the stipulation merely serves as evidence, and the jury must still make a determination as to the element of the crime it supports.  The court of appeals concluded that therefore the stipulation did not remove an element from the jury’s consideration, and so no personal waiver by the defendant was needed in this case.  Therefore, affirming the trial court’s decision, the court of appeals held that a defendant’s stipulation to an element of an offense is procedurally permissible, even without a personal waiver by the defendant, so long as the trial court instructs the jury on all of the elements of the offence, including the element covered by the stipulation.

[1] No. A-12131, 2018 WL 6582296 (Alaska Ct. App. Dec. 14, 2018).

Marshall v. State

In Marshall v. State,[1] the Court of Appeals of Alaska held that a defense counsel’s stipulation to an element of an offense is procedurally permissible, even without a personal waiver by the defendant, so long as the trial court instructs the jury on all of the elements of the offence, including the element covered by the stipulation.  Defendant Marshall was a convicted sex offender who was required to register.  Marshall complied with his registration requirements until June 2013, when he failed to submit his annual registration.  He was arrested and charged with second-degree failure to register as a sex offender.  A person commits the crime if he (1) is required to register; (2) knows that he is required to register; and (3) fails to file the annual or quarterly written verification.  At the beginning of trial, Marshall’s attorney offered to stipulate to the first element to prevent the jury from learning that Marshall’s underlying sex offense was for sexual abuse of a minor.  Marshall himself did not personally waive the first element.  The trial court instructed the jury on all of the elements of the offense, including the element covered by the stipulation, and on the State’s burden to prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt.  The jury found Marshall guilty.  Marshall appealed, arguing that the stipulation effectively removed an element of the charged offense from the jury’s consideration and it was therefore an error for the court to instruct the jury on the stipulation without first obtaining Marshall’s personal waiver of his right to a jury trial on that element.  The court of appeals disagreed.  It explained that in a jury trial, even when the parties reach a stipulation concerning an element of the offense, the stipulation must be presented to the jury.  It explained that the stipulation merely serves as evidence, and the jury must still make a determination as to the element of the crime it supports.  The court of appeals concluded that therefore the stipulation did not remove an element from the jury’s consideration, and so no personal waiver by the defendant was needed in this case.  Therefore, affirming the trial court’s decision, the court of appeals held that a defendant’s stipulation to an element of an offense is procedurally permissible, even without a personal waiver by the defendant, so long as the trial court instructs the jury on all of the elements of the offence, including the element covered by the stipulation.

[1] No. A-12131, 2018 WL 6582296 (Alaska Ct. App. Dec. 14, 2018).