Monday, December 21, 2015

Justice Center holiday closure

The Justice Center will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday, December 22–23, due to minimal staffing. If you are currently a Justice Center student and need assistance on these two days, please call 786-1821. If you are not a current Justice Center student, and need assistance on these two days, please contact a student information advisor at (907) 786-1480 and they will route your call accordingly.
The Justice Center, along with the rest of the UAA campus, will be closed for the winter holiday break starting Thursday, December 24, 2015. We will reopen for our normal business hours on Monday, January 4, 2016.

All of us at the Justice Center wish you a festive holiday season, with best wishes as we enter a new year.

Jake Pospisil, Justice pre-major, is one of first college delegates sworn in to USUAA Assembly

Newly appointed USUAA College Delegates - l to r: Alexandra McLearan - CAS; Samuel Erickson - CBPP;
Olivia Pidgeon - CBPP; Madison Burgess - COE; Jake Pospisil - COH; Joseph McMahon - COH/CAS.

The first ever student College Delegates to the Union of Students of the University of Alaska Anchorage (USUAA) Assembly were sworn in December 11, 2015.  Jake Pospisil, Justice pre-major, representing the College of Health (COH), is among the the six new delegates.  Delegates have been appointed by their respective colleges to represent the specific needs of that student population.

The USUAA Assembly is a student organization that serves as a connection to the UAA administration, and voices student opinion in all business matter.   Members include elected Senators, appointed College delegates, and appointed Liasions from Club Council, the Graduate Student Association, the Greek Council, and the Residence Hall Association.

The newly appointed College delegates are:
Alexandra McLearen - College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)
Samuel Erickson  - College of Business and Public Policy (CBPP)
Olivia Pidgeon - College of Business and Public Policy (CBPP)
Madison Burgess  - College of Education (COE)
Jake Pospisil  - College of Health (COH)
Joseph McMahon  - College of Health/College of Arts and Sciences (COH/CAS)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Article by Prof. Brandeis on the next phase of marijuana regulation published in Alaska Law Review

"Ravin Revisited: Alaska’s Historic Common Law Marijuana Rule at the Dawn of Legalization," an article by Prof. Jason Brandeis, J.D., Legal Studies faculty in the Justice Center, has been published in the December 2015 issue of the Alaska Law Review.

This article begins a discussion of the next phase of marijuana regulation in Alaska following the November 2014 election in which Alaska voters approved Ballot Measure 2: “An act to tax and regulate the production, sale, and use of marijuana.” Measure 2 ushered in a new era of marijuana regulation, adding Alaska to the short list of states that permit the retail sale and use of recreational marijuana.

The Alaska Law Review Editor-In-Chief explained that Professor Brandeis' article "provides a review of the on-going development of a statewide framework for regulating marijuana in Alaska and identifies issues in the relationship between these new laws and the preexisting Ravin Doctrine that have yet to be addressed by the Alaska Legislature. This article updates his previous contribution to the Alaska Law Review ["The Continuing Vitality of Ravin v. State..."] on the Ravin Doctrine, which protects the personal use of marijuana in the privacy of one’s own home, in light of Alaska’s recent legalization of marijuana."  (Read the full editor-in-chief note in pdf.)

Prof. Brandeis teaches courses on the American legal system, constitutional law, and civil liberties, and is a frequent speaker on constitutional law and other legal topics. Prof. Brandeis also maintains a private law practice through which he advises clients on marijuana law and policy questions.  This law practice preceded the writing and publication of this article, and included providing legal services to the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska.

Dr. Lepage's JUST 374 Courts class participates in exercise on mock jury selection

Dr. Cory R. Lepage, Justice Center faculty, recently assigned his JUST 374 class, The Courts, to participate in a mock jury selection.  Students playing the role of prosecutors and defense attorneys practiced voir dire - asking questions of potential jurors -  during class.  Students from JUST 110 and JUST 330 classes taught by Dr. Allan Barnes, from JUST 490 taught by Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein, and from JUST 200 and JUST 201 classes taught by Dr. Lepage, volunteered to play the role of prospective jurors.

Student Dominick Eubank (r) plays the role of  prosecutor
as he questions prospective volunteer student jurors.

Students who were playing the role of lawyers were given an actual criminal case that had been decided in Alaska and had to prepare legally permissible questions to ask of each juror.

In this class exercise to demonstrate the voir dire process, attorneys for the prosecution and defense questioned potential jurors, and could request that a potential juror be removed from consideration as a juror for the case.  The questioning of the potential jurors continued until the required number of jurors was selected. Dr. Lepage acted as the judge in the mock jury selection.

Dr. Lepage (center) explains the process of voir dire before the mock jury
selection begins.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

UAA students in foster youth program will get a special visit from holiday elves

Amanda Metivier with some of the gifts for
UAA students in the foster youth program.
Holiday elves will be paying a special visit to over 20 UAA students who are in the foster youth program or just transitioning out of the state foster program.  Under the auspices of the statewide UA Education and Training Voucher (ETV) Program for Foster Youth, holiday gifts have been collected and wrapped for distribution to the students.

The holiday gifts for foster youth project was started by Kelsie Sullivan in the UAA Office of Grants and Contracts.  Kelsie collaborated with Amanda Metivier, Youth Education Coordinator for the Child Welfare Academy (CWA), the office which facilitates the UA foster youth program. The holiday gifts project came to be called the CWA Giving Tree.

Amanda and Kelsie are celebrating a successful 4th Annual CWA Giving Tree program.  The program began in 2012 as a collaborative effort to support a population that is often missed during the holidays.  Youth transitioning from foster care to adulthood often lack family connections and links to supportive adults.  The holidays can be especially difficult for foster youth enrolled in higher education, as many do not have a support system in place.  The goal of the CWA Giving Tree is to show these students they are valued members of the UAA community.

Kelsie and Amanda get a list of students and their holiday wish lists.  Individuals from UAA departments are sent the wish lists, and are invited to participate by buying gifts on the wish lists, and delivering them to the Child Welfare Academy for wrapping and distribution.

L to r: Amanda Metivier and
Kelsie Sullivan in front of the
CWA Giving Tree outside the
Child Welfare Academy office.

Kelsie wanted a way to give back to the UAA community and thought of the foster youth program at UAA and the idea of gifts at holiday time.  She is very appreciative of all the support she gets from the UAA community in making the holidays special for these students. If you would like to participate next year, contact Kelsie at

The Education Training and Voucher Program for Foster Youth is an outreach effort which began 3 years ago and is managed by Amanda Metivier, Youth Education Coordinator, on the Anchorage campus. Her office works with the Office of Children's Services, and Amanda starts talking with foster youth who are juniors and seniors in high school to help them transition to college. Amanda was in foster care herself and earned her BSW and MSW at UAA. She says, "It's pretty cool - I get to help these youth. I know what they are experiencing and are going through."

Each year there area about 50 foster youth statewide in the UA system, and about half are on the UAA campus.  State funds are directed through Amanda's office to the UA students to help pay for housing, books, food, transportation, and other necessities. Click here to learn more about the UA foster youth program. Or contact Amanda at

The Justice Center applauds the CWA Giving Tree holiday project and the work of the  Education and Training  Voucher Program for Foster Youth. Thanks for making the holiday season a little brighter for our students!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Prof. Fortson's LEGL 487 students present mock oral arguments to U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin McCoy

Students take a moment before mock proceedings begin to pose for a photo with Prof. Fortson (center) and
U.S. Magistrate Judge McCoy (to right of Prof. Fortson) - students (l to r) Erin Leaders, Nathael Sims, Case Mohr, James Schindler,
Kimberly Allely. Students not pictured: Dawn Harrison, Elizabeth Blanas, Tina Isbell, Brandon Clark.
Prof. Ryan Fortson, J.D., Ph.D., Justice Center Legal Studies faculty, held mock oral arguments in his Legal 487 - Trial and Advanced Litigation Processes course as the final project of the 2015 fall semester.  Students participated in a  moot court  - a mock 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 U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin McCoy with the U.S. District Court for the State of Alaska who rendered a decision after each case was presented.

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

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Prof. Brandeis interviewed by KTVA Channel 11 News about the Fairbanks 4 case

Prof. Jason Brandeis, J.D., Legal Studies faculty in the Justice Center, was recently interviewed by KTVA Channel 11 News about the Fairbanks 4 case.  His comments were broadcast on December 10, 2015.

Prof. Brandeis discussed the complexities of the case and explained what the recent order by the judge meant: that the parties had 10 days to provide additional information to the judge to confirm that he had the authority to approve the settlement terms the parties were seeking.

See the December 10, 2015 broadcast below:

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Monday, December 14, 2015

Congrats from the Justice Center to our December 2015 Justice and Legal Studies grads - best wishes for the future!

Justice and Legal Studies faculty at the 2015 December commencement.
 Congratulations to our December 2015 Justice and Legal Studies graduates!

Twenty-one graduates from the Justice Center celebrated their commencement on December 13, 2015.

The Justice Center faculty and staff congratulate all of our graduates and wish them every success going forward!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Justice Alumni Update - Powell and Kean

Donte Powell, BA Justice '14, was recently promoted to Intake and Outreach Coordinator for the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission (AERC), Municipality of Anchorage.  He began his work for the AERC as the Docket Clerk/Senior Office Associate.

The AERC is the municipal law enforcement agency charged with preventing and eliminating unlawful discrimination under Title 5 of the Anchorage Municipal Code, and also enforces the Americans with Disability Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 through an agreement with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Abigail Kean, BA Justice Cum Laude '15, recently joined the Anchorage law firm of Foley, Foley & Pearson as a receptionist.  In January, she will be moving into the executive legal assistant position with the firm.

She plans to continue her studies at UAA and participate in the Volunteers of America restorative justice program. Foley, Foley & Pearson focuses on estate planning and probate matters.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Justice grad selected as commencement speaker for December 2015 ceremony

Ruddy Abam, BA Justice '15.
Ruddy Abam, Justice BA '15, has been selected as the commencement speaker for the December 2015 commencement ceremony. Ruddy will be graduating from the Honors College.

A native of Cameroon, Ruddy has done impressive work at UAA including participating on the Judicial Board and the Diversity Action Council, interning for a semester with the Alaska Legislature in Juneau, and presenting her honors thesis at the Law and Society Conference in Seattle. Ruddy will be returning to Cameroon after her graduation for the first time in 9 years.

Dr. Cory R. Lepage, Justice faculty, was her honors thesis advisor. Under the guidance of  Dr. Lepage, Ruddy explored community-based prevention strategies that inhibit youth susceptibility to crime and juvenile delinquency.

Ruddy is featured in the December 9 special edition of the Seawolf Weekly.

Read her full story:
"December grad: Commencement speaker Ruddy Abam" by J. Besl.

Ruddy was also featured on the front page of the Alaska Dispatch News.
Read the story here:
"UAA graduation speaker celebrates the resilience of her fellow students -- and herself " by Tegan Hanlon. Alaska Dispatch News. 12 Dec 2015.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Alumni spotlight: Jerod Perron, BA Justice '05

This week's Justice alum profile highlights Jerod Perron.

Jerod Perron
Jerod Perron, BA Justice '05, was a Juvenile Justice Officer II at McLaughlin for 8 years, but left that position in 2014. Currently he is a Protective Services Specialist III with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Senior and Disabilities Services, Adult Protective Services Jerod recalled that while serving Alaska youth at McLaughlin Youth Center (MYC), he was elated by being able to assist young people, and to work with a stellar group of colleagues—individuals who day in and day out had the same passion for their job that they had on the day they started.  One of the biggest challenges was “working within policy, procedure, and state statute that is written black and white when there’s a lot of gray in each case or referral.”

His move to assisting adults is an exciting new adventure and a very rewarding progression in a career that started with working with small children at the Office of Children Services in Fairbanks, then youth at MYC, and now adults.  In his current position he investigates reports of abandonment, abuse, exploitation, neglect, self-neglect, and undue influence.
While attending UAA, Jerod switched from Engineering to Justice and considered going to law school.  Looking back on his student days, Jerod said that more courses emphasizing case law and statutes would have been useful — this type of legal knowledge has been an essential part of his career.  He encourages anyone considering a career in the justice field to take these kinds of classes.  When he is not working, he cherishes spending time with his family and being in the outdoors- especially running.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Prof. Brandeis interviewed by KTUU Channel 2 News about proposed spice ordinance

Prof. Jason Brandeis, J.D., Legal Studies faculty in the Justice Center, was interviewed by KTUU Channel 2 News about the proposed Municipal ordinance controlling the synthetic cannabinoid called spice.

His comments aired on the 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. broadcasts on November 10, 2015.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Justice Center celebrates its 40th anniversary: 1975-2015

As 2015 draws to a close, the Justice Center celebrates forty years of leadership in civil and criminal justice education in Alaska, and in research on justice issues in rural and urban Alaska. The Justice Center was established by the Alaska State Legislature in 1975.  Over the past four decades, faculty and research staff have contributed to studies ranging from the revision of the Alaska Criminal Code to the development of the master plan for corrections.

More recent research studies and Alaska Justice Forum articles have focused on issues such as violence against women, policing, substance abuse, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), the role of Village Public Safety Officers (VPSOs), corrections, and homelessness in Alaska.  After 40 years of service, the Justice Center reaffirms its vision to lead Alaska toward a safer, healthier, and more just society.

See a timeline of selected milestones from the past forty years.

Justice Center faculty present at American Society of Criminology 2015 Annual Meeting in Washington D.C.

Drs. Allan Barnes, Cory Lepage, André Rosay, Troy Payne, Jason Brandeis, Brad Myrstol, and Lindsey Blumenstein made presentations at the 71st Annual Meeting of the American Society of Criminology in Washington, DC in November.  Daniel Reinhard (Justice BA ‘14) also presented with Dr. Payne about problem complexity in urban areas.  This year's conference theme was "The Politics of Crime & Justice."

Justice Center faculty made nine presentations on topics including violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women and men, Village Public Safety Office (VPSO) involvement in sexual assault investigations, Alaska Victimization Survey data related to sexual violence and negative health outcomes for Alaska Native and American Indian women, Town Square Park and problem complexity in urban areas, spatial patterns of crime, pre-trial diversion, domestic violence, marijuana legalization in Alaska, and classroom teaching methods.

The American Society of Criminology is an international organization whose members pursue scholarly, scientific, and professional knowledge concerning the measurement, etiology, consequences, prevention, control, and treatment of crime and delinquency.

L to r: Justice faculty - Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein, Dr. André Rosay, Dr. Brad Myrstol,
and Ingrid Johnson, UAF alum, now a doctoral student at Temple University
Criminal Justice Program, at the conference.

Dr. Rivera publishes article in Child Welfare Journal

Dr. Marny Rivera, Justice faculty, recently published an article in Child Welfare Journal, a publication of the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA).

"Rethinking child welfare to keep families safe and together: Effective housing-based supports to reduce child trauma, maltreatment recidivism, and re-entry to foster care," by Dr. Marny Rivera and Dr. Rita Sullivan. September 2015.

This article describes a collaborative model in Oregon of a continuum of housing-based clinical and support services for the whole family that has safely reduced foster care placement.

The CWLA notes on its website:
The Child Welfare League of American (CWLA) leads and engages its network of public and private agencies and partners to advance policies, best practices and collaborative strategies that result in better outcomes for vulnerable children, youth and families.