Monday, June 30, 2014

Research team is integral part of AK Justice Statistical Analysis Center project on case processing

The research team meets with Dr. Myrstol (far right) at the Justice Center to mark the end of the project.
The research team for the Alaska Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Case Processing Project recently wrapped up their phase of work for the Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center (AJSAC). This AJSAC research initiative began in November 2013 with the research team reviewing sexual assault and domestic violence cases reported to Alaska State Troopers over a 4-year period, 2008-2011.

The primary objective of the project is to empirically document the criminal justice case processing and outcomes of sexual assault, sexual abuse of a minor, and domestic violence cases in the state of Alaska.

The data collection by these researchers is part of a collaborative project with the Alaska Department of Public Safety, the Alaska Department of Law, and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Juvenile Justice.  During the course of the project, the research team reviewed and coded over 3,500 cases. The project is supported by a research grant award from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.


Dr. Brad Myrstol, Justice faculty and AJSAC director, is the principal investigator on this project, and is assisted by Khristy Parker, AJSAC Research Professional. In coming years, Dr. Myrstol intends to expand the project to include additional Alaska police agencies.

The AJSAC is housed at the UAA Justice Center. For more information about AJSAC research projects and publications, please visit the AJSAC website.  

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Prof. Knudsen talks to students in Della Keats program about impact of the law on health care in Alaska

Prof. Knudsen points to the damage to the hospital in Unalaska during WWII.
Prof. Kristin Knudsen, J.D., Legal Studies faculty in the Justice Center, was invited to speak to high school students in the Della Keats Health Sciences Summer Program at UAA on June 25. She discussed "The Impact of Law on Medicine and the Delivery of Health Care in Alaska."

This residential summer program, established over 30 years ago, is named after Della Keats, an Inupiaq traditional healer, and seeks to foster, affirm, and encourage high school students’ interest in the medical professions. Between 2002 and 2013, over 200 high school students attended the program. The diverse group has included Hmong, African American/Black, and 77 Alaska Native youth.  Dr. Ian van Tets, Program Director, notes that to date, every student who has participated in this program has gone on to attend college - and many have entered a medical profession.

 Della Puyuk Keats
Inupiaq traditional healer
(1907 - 1986)
There is no cost to participants.  Funding comes from WWAMI (Alaska's Medical School), grants, the New York Life Foundation, and other private funding. The program has two phases. The class of 2014 has 12 students  in Della Keats Part 1 and 4 students in Della Keats Part 2 in research internships. The number of slots for this year's class decreased by nearly half due to budget cuts. (The class of 2013 had a total of 25 students.)

WWAMI sponsors this UAA program for high school students who 1) come from an ethnic minority background, 2) live in rural Alaska off the road system, 3) are first-generation American, 4) speak English as a second language, and/or 4) are economically disadvantaged.  Students must have a 3.0 GPA, provide references, and have demonstrated interest in entering a health profession, including medicine, nursing, dentistry, physical therapy, or public health. The program is run in collaboration with the UAA School of Nursing and the Department of Health Sciences.

Dr. Palmer of American University speaks at UAA on understanding and managing vicarious trauma during research projects

Dr. Palmer discusses factors associated with distress.
Dr. Jane Palmer, American University School of Public Affairs, a noted researcher in the area of vicarious trauma, spoke recently to 25 UAA and public agency researchers on how to understand and manage vicarious trauma during research projects.

Her presentation focused on the definition, risk, and impact of vicarious trauma to researchers working with sensitive materials. Dr. Palmer described strategies that individual researchers, supervisors, and organizations can implement to mitigate the risk of vicarious trauma and burnout.

Dr. Brad Myrstol, Justice Center faculty, coordinated the presentation.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Willamette U president and dean of law school visit UAA to talk about 3+3 program

L to r: UAA Provost "Bear" Baker; Dean Curtis Bridgeman,Willamette College of Law;
Prof. Deb Periman, J.D., Justice Center Legal Studies Coordinator; Carolyn Dennis, Assistant Dean of Admission, Willamette University College of Law; Dr. André Rosay, Justice Center Director;
Administrative Dean Susan Kaplan, UAA College of Health; President Stephen Thorsett, Willamette University .
 Willamette University President Stephen Thorsett and Dean Curtis Bridgeman of the Willamette University College of Law visited UAA last week to meet with UAA Provost "Bear" Baker and Justice Center faculty about the launch of the 3+3 program.

The schools recently signed a memorandum of understanding to offer this innovative program allowing students to complete a bachelor’s degree and a law degree in 6 years, rather than the usual 7 years.  Students in Alaska will now have another option for attending law school.

Prof. Deb Periman, J.D., Legal Studies Program Coordinator at the UAA Justice Center, worked with Willamette to develop the 3+3 program and will be UAA’s point of contact for program advising.

Go to the UAA Justice Center web page for program information. 

Front row l to r:  Carolyn Dennis, Assistant Dean of Admission, Willamette University College of Law;
Justice Center Legal Studies faculty - Prof. Deb Periman, J.D. and Prof. Kristin Knudsen, J.D.
Back row l to r: Dr. André Rosay, Justice Center Director; President Stephen Thorsett, Willamette University;
Dean Curtis Bridgeman, Willamette University College of Law;
 Prof. Jason Brandeis, J.D., Justice Center Legal Studies faculty.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Prof. Fortson publishes article in Alaska Bar Association newspaper about Legal Studies grads and the 3+3 program

Prof. Ryan Fortson, J.D., Legal Studies faculty, recently published an article in the Alaska Bar Rag, the quarterly official publication of the Alaska Bar Association. The article, "UAA welcomes first legal studies graduates," describes the 5 new degree programs in Legal Studies that the Justice Center began offering this spring: Legal Studies B.A., Legal Studies Minor, Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies, Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal Studies, and a Legal Nurse Consultant Paralegal Certificate.

Prof. Fortson also describes in the piece the new "3+3" program with Willamette University College of Law. UAA and Willamette University College of Law recently signed a memorandum of understanding to offer this innovative program allowing students to complete a bachelor’s degree and a law degree in six years, rather than the usual seven. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

June 20 is World Refugee Day - 40 million people globally are refugees


"In 2013, a person became a new refugee or internally displaced person every 4.1 seconds," according to the Centers for Disease Control.  

Today is World Refugee Day, established by the United Nations in 2001 to raise awareness of the desperate situation of over 40 million men, women, and children who are refugees or stateless. 

For more information and ways to help, see the World Refugee website.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Dr. Jane Palmer of American University speaks to UAA researchers June 25 about vicarious trauma

Dr. Brad Myrstol, Justice Center faculty, has invited Dr. Jane Palmer, American University School of Public Affairs, a noted researcher in the area of vicarious trauma training, to speak to UAA researchers involved with trauma material.  A roundtable discussion will follow her presentation.

Date: Wednesday, June 25
Time: 111:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Place: UAA/APU Consortium Library LIB 214
R.S.V.P.: Dr. Brad Myrstol bamyrstol@uaa.alaska.edu
(A light lunch will be served.)

If you or the members of your research team conduct research that involves trauma material, or if you anticipate engaging in such research in the future, you are encouraged to attend and join the conversation.

Update on UAA NO MORE campaign

L to r: Kristen Speyerer &
Simona Gerdts
The UAA Says NO MORE campaign was highlighted recently in a story on FOX 4 News. The story notes that the NO MORE campaign has also been taken to Alaska's rural villages, and Simona Gerdts and Kristen Speyerer, Justice alums and the campaign co-founders, are working on changing Alaska's current law on rape within marriage.

See the story here:
 "UAA's 'No More' Campaign" by Pearl-Grace Rasmussen. Fox 4 News, 11 June 2014.

NO MORE week 2014 @UAA

Click on #NOMORE week 2014 @UAA to see the new video which contains photos from events held during NO MORE week in March 2014 at UAA.

UAA Says NO MORE will now be known as the UAA NO MORE Alliance.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

UAA 3+3 program with Willamette University College of Law noted in the media

UAA and Willamette University College of Law have formed an innovative partnership to enhance law school opportunities for Alaska college students while addressing concerns about student debt. The schools have signed a memorandum of understanding to offer a “3+3 program” allowing students to complete a bachelor’s degree and a law degree in six years, rather than the usual seven.

Prof. Deb Periman, J.D., Legal Studies Program Coordinator at the UAA Justice Center, worked with Willamette to develop the 3+3 program and will be UAA’s point of contact for program advising.

Below are some of the media stories about this new program:

“UAA and Willamette University College of Law partner to offer accelerated '3+3 program'.” Alaska Business Monthly, 8 May 2014

“UAA, Willamette University Partner To Offer New Law School Opportunity” by Josh Edge. APRN Radio, Anchorage, 7 May 2014.

“UAA program allows students to enter law school early.” Anchorage Daily News online, 6 May 2014

"Educating Alaskans: Willamette Launches 3+3 Program Partnership with University of Alaska." Willamette Lawyer. Spring 2014.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Prof. Wolfe presents on snow impression evidence at forensic science conference

Making an Impression in Minneapolis
Prof. Jim Wolfe, Justice Center adjunct faculty, will be presenting at the 2014 International Association of Identification International Education Conference this summer.

His presentation, "Photographing and Casting Snow Impression Evidence," will review techniques for photographing and casting snow impressions; the use of sprays and oblique light to enhance contrast on different types of snow for photography; and the use of dental stone, fast setting plaster, and sulfur cement casting and type of snow and weather conditions.

Prof. Wolfe is a former forensic scientist with the Alaska Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory, and is currently a forensic consultant and trainer.

Left: Valdez Police Dept. officers in Prof. Wolfe's training class work on collecting snow impression evidence.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Alaska Court System 2013 Annual Report is online

The Alaska Court System Annual Report FY2013 was released in March of this year and is onlineAntonia Moras, former editor of the Alaska Justice Forum, was the project coordinator for the court system.  

Melissa S. Green, Justice Center publication specialist, worked with Ms. Moras on the project through a contract with the court system.  In collaboration with Ms. Moras, Ms. Green completed the design and layout of the text and statistical tables for the Annual Report and a Profile of the Alaska Court System.

This issue of the annual report is presented in the new, expanded format developed for the FY2012 report which Ms. Moras and Ms. Green also collaborated on. The report includes profiles of the judges with photos, maps, easy-to-read statistical tables, an overview of the court system, highlights of court initiatives, and photos of Alaska court houses, as well as photos of scenic areas around the state.

A limited number of black and white print copies are available.  The full text of the report in color is online at the Alaska Court System website.

Justice faculty present about UNAC faculty contributions at UA Board of Regents meeting

Dr. Ron Everett, Dr. Sharon Chamard, and Dr. Marny Rivera, Justice Center faculty, presented public testimony at the UA Board of Regents June 6 meeting at UAA.

They were invited by UNAC (United Academics - the largest higher education faculty union within the University of Alaska) to give testimony highlighting the contributions of UNAC faculty.

Dr. Everett (center) discusses public service.
Dr. Everett discussed the community service and assistance to nonprofits and other government and community organizations he has provided, highlighting work with juvenile justice agencies and organizations providing reentry services to released offenders.



Dr. Chamard (center) speaks about
involving students in research.



The involvement of students in real-world research projects to benefit the community was highlighted by Dr. Chamard, such as social and physical observations done in community areas to identify how crime prevention through environmental design could be implemented.

Dr. Rivera discussed the variety of funded research projects engaged in by the Justice Center and their alignment with the Justice Center mission of "Leading Alaska toward a safer, healthier, more just society"; the many areas of research that are related to public health issues, including substance abuse, underage drinking, and violence against women; and the community partnerships that are part of this work.
Dr. Rivera (center) describes some funded research projects.



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Dr. Rivera and Dr. Garcia present research at 20th IEA World Congress of Epidemiology

Dr. Marny Rivera, Justice Center faculty, and Dr. Gabriel Garcia, UAA Department of Health Sciences, have had their collaborative research,  "Is Race a Factor in Disparate Health Problems Associated with Violent Victimization in Alaska?," accepted for presentation at a poster session for the 20th IEA World Congress of Epidemiology in Anchorage, August 17 - 21, 2014.

This year's conference theme is "Global Epidemiology in a Changing Environment: The Circumpolar Perspective." Dr. Rivera and Dr. Garcia will present their poster at 3:00 p.m. on August 20.

The mission of the International Epidemiological Association  (IEA) is to facilitate communication among individuals engaged in research and the teaching of epidemiology worldwide, and to foster the use of epidemiology in all fields of health including social, community, and preventative medicine.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Prof. Brandeis interviewed by Bloomberg BNA Report for article on same-sex property tax exemption

Prof. Jason Brandeis, J.D., Justice Center Legal Studies faculty, was interviewed for an article in the Bloomberg BNA Tax Management Weekly State Tax Report, an online subscription service.

In the article, "Same-Sex Couples Entitled to Full Homestead Exemptions in Alaska Despite Marriage Ban," Prof. Brandeis notes," ...these cases show that this is beyond an ideological debate — limiting the types of legal relationships that people can have has serious social and economic consequences."

Prof. Brandeis teaches constitutional law and civil liberties courses, and is a frequent speaker on constitutional law issues. 




Monday, June 9, 2014

Prof. Knudsen publishes article in Alaska Law Review


Prof. Kristin Knudsen Latta, J.D., Justice Center Legal Studies faculty, has had an article published in the June 2014 issue of the Alaska Law Review.  The article is titled, "The Role of Non-Lawyers on Administrative Tribunals: What Lay Members Think About Law, Lawyers, and Their Own Participation in Alaska’s Mixed Administrative Tribunals."

Prof. Knudsen conducted the first survey study of Alaska non-lawyer members who serve on adjudicatory tribunals, and examined the members' perspective of serving on tribunals. In this article, she describes her research which focused on tribunals' gender and ethnic diversity, members' understanding of fairness and impartiality, their duties and training, and the relationship of non-lawyer members with administrative law judges. Among her findings, she noted that citizens appointed to quasi-judicial boards and commissions take their role in forming the law of their tribunal seriously, but report the need for more training.  Her article includes recommendations for training, recruitment, and diversity in appointments.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

2014 Justice Center Bike to Work Team pedals in the sunshine

L to r: Dr. Troy Payne, Tuyet Tran, Amy Perkins, Charlotte Titus.
Anchorage's 10th Annual Bike to Work Day was held on Wednesday, June 4. This year's Justice Center Bike to Work Team basked in the sun as they pedaled to work.  Riders for 2014 included Dr. Troy Payne, Tuyet Tran, Amy Perkins, and Charlotte Titus.

The UAA Office of Sustainability and UAA Student Activities hosted a free BBQ for all the UAA riders.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Dr. Jane Palmer of American University speaks to UAA researchers June 25 about vicarious trauma

Dr. Brad Myrstol, Justice Center faculty, has invited Dr. Jane Palmer, American University School of Public Affairs, a noted researcher in the area of vicarious trauma training, to speak to UAA researchers involved with trauma material.  A roundtable discussion will follow her presentation.

Date: Wednesday, June 25
Time: 111:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Place: UAA/APU Consortium Library LIB 214
R.S.V.P.: Dr. Brad Myrstol bamyrstol@uaa.alaska.edu
(A light lunch will be served.)

If you or the members of your research team conduct research that involves trauma material, or if you anticipate engaging in such research in the future, you are encouraged to attend and join the conversation.


Justice majors and their work on UAA Says NO MORE highlighted in Anchorage Daily News article

L to r: Simona Gerdts and Kristen Speyerer wearing t-shirts
with the NO MORE logo.
(photo by Philip Hall, University of Alaska)
Simona Gerdts and Kristen Speyerer, Justice majors/Legal Studies minors, received their BAs in Justice in May 2014.  The UAA Says NO MORE campaign was part of their degree capstone project with the UAA Center for Community Engagement and Learning (CCEL).

As part of the project, they worked to co-brand the campaign with the "NO MORE" national campaign  — a nationwide effort to increase greater awareness and action to end domestic violence and sexual assault. Their work was highlighted in a recent Anchorage Daily News article by Kathleen McCoy of the UAA Advancement office. See below to read the article:

"Hometown U: Busy seniors launch campaign against domestic violence, sexual assault" by Kathleen McCoy. Anchorage Daily News, 24 May 2014.

The UAA Says NO MORE campaign continues to gain momentum, and has been added to the growing list of organizations, clubs, and nonprofits that are uniting to end domestic violence and sexual assault.  UAA says NO MORE will now be known as the UAA NO MORE Alliance.

Prof. Fortson's JUST 487 students present mock oral arguments to Alaska Court of Appeals Judge Mannheimer

Before oral argument.  Front row l to r: Reginald Silvernail, Rebecca Hartley,
Stacy Wilson, Judith Stefchak, Jamaar Brown. Back row l to r: Simona Gerdts, Kayla Wilke, William Honeycutt,
Judge David Mannheimer, Prof. Ryan Fortson, Joshua Spring. Not pictured: Abbie Lawley.
Prof. Ryan Fortson, J.D., Ph.D., Justice Center Legal Studies faculty, held mock oral arguments in his Justice 487 - Trial and Advanced Litigation Processes course as the final project of the 2014 spring semester.  Students participated in a  moot court  - a mock appellate court proceeding which involves the presentation of oral argument before a judge or a panel of judges.

Students prepared arguments for two hypothetical cases.  Their arguments were presented before Alaska Court of Appeals Judge David Mannheimer who rendered a decision after each case was presented.

Prior to the oral arguments, students prepared briefs on their cases and submitted them to their opposing counsel team and to Prof. Fortson and Judge Mannheimer. Earlier in the semester, the students also participated in a simulated trial, conducting opening statements, direct and cross examinations, and closing arguments. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Justice Center first UAA unit to have research published on ScholarWorks@UA

ScholarWorks@UA, the statewide online institutional repository for digital copies of research and scholarship by University of Alaska (UA) faculty, staff, and students, launched in September 2013. This website provides free, public access to digital documents.

The Justice Center is the first unit at UAA to have its research published on ScholarWorks@UA.

The UA campuses in Fairbanks, Anchorage, and Southeast are the primary participants in this first phase, and research from other campuses will be added in the future.

 UAA content is being added by Erik Carlson, Metadata Librarian, UAA/APU Consortium Library. Justice Center publications now on the site include:
  • Alaska Justice Forum, vol. 8 (1991) through vol. 30, no. 3 (Winter 2014) 
  • Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center (AJSAC) Fact Sheets, 2012-01 through 2013-05 

Click here for ScholarWorks@ UA https://scholarworks.alaska.edu/

The Justice Center is a member of  the UA Institutional Repository Review Advisory Board which reviewed the development of the site.  Stephen Rollins, Dean of the UAA/APU Consortium Library; Rebecca Moorman,  Head of Technical Services, Consortium Library; and Barbara Armstrong, Alaska Justice Forum editor, UAA Justice Center, represent UAA on the board.

Dr. Lepage and Prof. Knudsen speak at Law and Society Conference

L to r: Prof. Knudsen, J.D. and Dr. Lepage at the conference.
Dr. Cory Lepage and Prof. Kristin Knudsen, J.D., Justice Center faculty, made presentations at the 2014 Law & Society Conference in Minneapolis on May 28 - June 1:

  • "The Strength of the Ox: Self-Perceptions of Professionalism and Legitimacy among Lay Judges in the Rural U.S." Prof. Kristin Knudsen, M.J.S., J.D., and Dr. Cory Lepage, co-authors.  Presented by Prof. Kristin Knudsen.
  • "Conceptualizations of Justice by Adjudicators: An Examination of Perceptions and Satisfaction by Justices in Rural Courts."   Presented by Dr. Cory Lepage, author.
  • Panel: Exploring Methods in the Study of Access to Justice. Dr. Cory Lepage, Chair
The Law and Society Association, founded in 1964, is a group of scholars from many fields and countries, interested in the place of law in social, political, economic and cultural life. Members bring training in law, sociology, political science, psychology, anthropology, economics, and history as well as in other related areas to the study of sociolegal phenomena.  

Monday, June 2, 2014

Dr. Rosay appointed to Dept. of Justice National Indian Country Training Initiative Working Group

Dr. André Rosay, Justice Center Director, has been appointed by the U.S. Department of Justice National Indian Country Training Initiative to serve on the Working Group on Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Human Trafficking Involving Alaska Natives.

The Department of Justice launched the National Indian Country Training Initiative in 2010 to ensure that federal prosecutors, as well as state and tribal criminal justice personnel, receive the training and support needed to address the challenges of Indian country prosecutions.