Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Dr. Rivera and Dr. Fortson present at Alaska Court System Minor Consuming Alcohol Conference

Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Dana Fabe opens the conference.
Dr. Marny Rivera, Justice faculty, co-presented with L. Diane Casto, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, at the April 4 Minor Consuming Alcohol (MCA) Conference sponsored by the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority and the Minor Consuming Alcohol Subcommittee of the Alaska Supreme Court's Fairness, Diversity, and Equality Committee.  The conference was organized in response to concern about MCA cases and underage drinking in Alaska.

L to r: Diane Casto and Dr. Marny Rivera.
Participants included state and tribal court judges, tribal representatives, attorneys, law enforcement, researchers, and health, and education professionals. The goal of the conference was to explore the various approaches Alaska communities are using in handling MCA cases, discuss best practices and the effectiveness of programs, and review research and resources.

Dr. Rivera and Ms. Casto presented "Underage Drinking: Research, Evaluation, and Related Efforts," and focused on:
  • existing research on underage drinking in Alaska
  • the value of researching minor consuming enforcement and response
  • related efforts in Alaska and nationwide
  • reducing underage drinking in Alaska
(2nd from right) Tribal Judge Ellen Sovalik,
Native Village of Barrow, discusses how cases are
handled in tribal court.
Dr. Ryan Fortson, Legal Studies faculty in the Justice Center, also prepared materials on "Tribal Courts and Minor Consuming Alcohol Cases: Researching Recidivism and Responsiveness."

Other topics presented were "Sample Approaches from Sitka, Barrow, and Kenai," "Tribal Alternatives Sentencing Approaches," "What Happens Once the State is Involved," and "Implementing New Approaches." All the conference materials are available on the Alaska Court website. [Update: now archived at the UAA Justice Center website.]

Judge Eric Smith, 3rd Judicial District Superior Court, is the chair of the Minor Consuming Alcohol Subcommittee.
Alaska Supreme Court Justice Joel Bolger (standing) moderates a panel discussing how different
tribal courts handle MCAs.

Superior Court Judge Eric Smith moderated two of the sessions.
Some of the conference participants.