Court of Appeals of Alaska (2022)
In Ray v. State, 517 P.3d 613 (Alaska Ct. App. 2022), the court of appeals held that the superior court did not err when it ordered a released prisoner who violated his probation to serve additional probation, although the released prisoner explicitly rejected such measures. (Id. at 613–14). Criminal defendant Ray entered a plea deal with the State to serve a sentence of active and suspended imprisonment followed by probation. (Id.). After Ray’s release, he violated his probation. (Id.). In his hearing, Ray rejected further probation and requested to serve his earlier suspended sentence, but the superior court ordered Ray to serve his suspended sentence and imposed an additional five years of probation. (Id.). Ray appealed, arguing that the superior court could not add further probation after he rejected it. (Id.). Unable to reach an interpretation of the relevant sentencing law that satisfied two of the three appeals judges, the court of appeals certified the question of the statute’s interpretation to the Alaska Supreme Court. (Id.). The supreme court resolved the question and remanded the case back to the court of appeals. (Id. at 613–14). However, before the supreme court, Ray had made an alternative argument which he had not raised at any earlier stage in his appeal. (Id. at 614). Because that argument did not pertain to the question certified by the court of appeals, the supreme court did not answer it. (Id.). On remand, a concurring judge opined as to whether the court of appeals was required to address Ray’s argument made—but not answered—before the supreme court. (Id.). The concurring judge concluded that it was not, divining a rule from prior precedent that a party cannot raise a new argument at a later point in an appeal if he could have raised it at an earlier stage. (Id. at 615). Accordingly, with no further questions to answer, the court of appeals affirmed the lower court’s imposition of an additional five years of probation on Ray, even though Ray explicitly rejected such measures. (Id. at 614).