Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Cravez speaks at Alaska Bar Convention and Genealogy Society about territorial lawyers

The Biggest Damned Hat: Tales from Alaska's Territorial Lawyers and JudgesPamela Cravez, Justice research associate and editor of the Alaska Justice Forum, gave a lunch-time talk at the 2017 Alaska Bar Association Annual Convention in Juneau, May 11, on her recently published book, The Biggest Damned Hat, Tales from Alaska's Territorial Lawyers and Judges. Lawyers and judges at the convention knew many of the territorial lawyers interviewed for the book. Cravez also spoke at the May meeting of the Anchorage Genealogy Society.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Rosay and TePas talk about importance of researcher-practitioner partnership

L-R: Dr. Judith Owens-Manley, director of the Center for
Community Engagement & Learning with Katie TePas
 and Dr. Andre Rosay at Faculty Intensive.
Dr. Andre Rosay, Justice Center director, and Katie TePas, appointed by Governor Sean Parnell as Alaska's first domestic violence and sexual assault response coordinator, spoke about their long-term researcher-practitioner partnership addressing violence against women. TePas was a partner on Dr. Rosay's work with the Alaska State Troopers, then with the Governor's Office on the Choose Respect campaign. They discussed the researcher-practitioner partnership as part of a Faculty Intensive and "Community-Campus Network for Civic Action Symposium" last week.

Dr. Fortson comments on two bills introduced in the Alaska House of Representatives

Alaska State Legislature
An Alaska House bill to criminalize abortion would be unconstitutional under both the Alaska and U.S. constitutions, Dr. Ryan Forston told the Alaska Dispatch News recently. House Bill 250 , introduced by Rep. David Eastman (R-Wasilla), would revoke the right of women to obtain abortions under Alaska's constitutional right to privacy. "The intent of the bill seems to be to legislatively outlaw abortion," Dr. Fortson said. "And that is not only a violation of the Alaska Constitution — it would also be against the U.S. Constitution, at least as it's currently interpreted.... The courts won't allow the Legislature to define how a constitutional provision is being interpreted — that's the job of the courts."

House Bill 251, also introduced by Rep. Eastman, would authorize the Alaska Legislature to impeach judges for "exercising legislative power" without judicial review. The Legislature has the power under the Alaska Constitution to impeach judges, according to Dr. Fortson, but "where the limits of that power are is unclear," he said. "If this were passed and the Legislature were to try to exercise it, it's hard to say exactly how it would play out."

According to the article, neither measure is likely to pass.

Read the story:

Thursday, May 18, 2017

New Society of Law and Justice provides students more opportunities

The Justice Club won a Club Council  award for campus involvement and cooperation among clubs this year. To provide students even greater opportunities in coming years, the Justice Club merged with the Pre-Law Society to form the new Society of Law and Justice.

Students in Justice and Legal Studies often look at law enforcement or law school opportunities, but Justice is much more broad, said Alex Cole, President of the new club.

Alex Cole, President of new Society of Law and Justice, and
Joseph Mizl, Vice President of Legal Studies. Not pictured,
Sevy Sheppard, Vice President of Justice.
Joseph Mizl is the new club's Vice President of Legal Studies and Sevy Sheppard is Vice President of Justice, two positions established by the Society of Law and Justice's constitution.

This summer there will be a few business meetings to talk about campus kick-off and to establish a web presence.

Check out Facebook over the summer for more info.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Academic journal accepts "innovative legal scholarship" from Justice faculty

Dr.Ryan Fortson and Dr. Troy Payne's article, "Lawyering Up: The Effects of Legal Counsel on Outcomes of Custody Determinations," has been accepted for publication in the Fall Issue of the UC Davis Journal of Juvenile Law & Policy (JJLP). The article looks at the impact of legal representation on the type of custody awarded in a two-year sample of cases from the Palmer Superior Court. Referring to the Justice faculty authors' work as "innovative legal scholarship," JJLP editors added that they were equally impressed with the authors' experience and credentials. The JJLP is a nationally recognized journal that regularly consults with and publishes the work of excellent scholars, community advocates and practitioners.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason provides feedback to students

Prof. Ryan Fortson and U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason
(Photo by Prof. Kirstin Knudsen)
U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason, the first female federal judge for the District of Alaska, listened to oral arguments by students in Prof. Ryan Fortson's Trial and Advanced Litigation Processes (LEGL A487) final exam on Friday, May 5. The students had drafted a legal memorandum of law and proposed order - similar to a pleading which would be filed in court – on a hypothetical motion before the court and defended their briefing to Judge Gleason, who provided feedback.

Dr. Rosay appears on Frontiers episode highlighting Choose Respect Campaign

Dr. Andre Rosay, Justice Center director, appeared on a recent episode of "Frontiers" on KTVA CBS 11 with Rhonda McBride to talk about results from the 2015 Alaska Victimization Survey for which he is principal investigator. He talked about how rates of domestic violence and sexual assault have gone down since the 2010 Survey, but that they are still very high in Alaska. The Frontiers episode highlighted how one community - Old Harbor in Kodiak -- is addressing domestic violence and sexual assault by embracing the Choose Respect Campaign begun by Gov. Sean Parnell. Children and adults in Old Harbor are integrating Choose Respect in cultural celebrations.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Justice faculty celebrate 2017 graduates

Justice faculty L-R: Dr. Brad Myrstol, Prof. Deborah Periman, Dr. Ron Everett, Dr. Marny Rivera, Dr. Cory Lepage,
 Dr. Allan Barnes, Prof. Kristin Knudsen, Dr. Andre Rosay, and Dr. Sharon Chamard. Not pictured: Prof. Ryan Fortson,
 who was performing on the French horn in the pit orchestra during UAA's Commencement. Sunday, May 7.
Congratulations 2017 graduates! Best wishes on your future success!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Congratulations to 2017 Justice and Legal Studies grads!

Join us in congratulating our 2017 UAA Justice Center graduates! This year, 31 students earned a degree in Justice, 15 with Honors having a GPA of 3.5 or above. A dozen students graduated in the Legal Studies program, three with Honors. We are very proud of our students and their accomplishments! Best wishes on their future success!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Dr. Barnes demonstrates new online crime data platform

Dr. Tom Elton, acting Russian Jack
Rotary President, and Dr. Allan Barnes at Russian Jack Rotary.
Dr. Allan Barnes, Justice faculty, demonstrated how to use the Anchorage Police Department's new online crime data platform at Russian Jack Rotary's weekly meeting.  He also discussed the recent apparent rise in violent crime in Anchorage and distributed the Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center's (AJSAC) Fact Sheets on violent and property crime in Alaska.  He concluded his presentation with an online demonstration of how Rotarians could establish a Neighborhood Crime Watch.  UAA Chancellor Tom Case was among Rotarians present for Dr. Barnes' presentation.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Need to break the silence continues beyond April

Justice Club wraps up "Breaking the Silence" event during April, Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Every Tuesday and Thursday in April, club members  provided an opportunity for people to share their words or story to raise awareness and break the silence about sexual assault.

Media coverage:

 "UAA Breaking the Silence" (video) by Joshua Maxwell.  KTBY Fox 4 / YourAlaskaLink.com, 26 Apr 2017.


Justice Club member Joseph Mizel being interviewed
by KTBY Fox 4 reporter about "Breaking the Silence."

Justice Club member Joseph McMahon pins
Break the Silence button on Dr. Allan Barnes,
Justice faculty.
Justice Club members L-R Austin Rogers, Brad Foster,
Alex Cole and Joey Sweet.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Students inducted into National Criminal Justice Honor Society

Prof. Ryan Fortston (middle) with Alpha Phi Sigma inductees L-R:
 Jenna Mixon, Josephine Davis,  Shiela Morrison,
and Jared Dee at event earlier this month.
Prof. Ryan Fortson, Justice faculty presided over the induction of students into  Alpha Phi Sigma, the National Criminal Justice Honor Society. Congratulations to new members:
Josephine Davis (Justice major, Legal Studies minor)
Jared Dee (Justice major)
Hideki Kimura (Justice major)
Joseph McMahon (Justice major)
Joshua Medina (Justice major)
Jennifer Merly (Justice major)
Jenna Mixson (Justice major)
Shiela Morrison  (Legal Studies major)
Alpha Phi Sigma recognizes academic excellence of undergraduate and graduate students of criminal justice as well as juris doctorate students.
Alpha Phi Sigma is the only Criminal Justice Honor Society which is a certified member of the Association of College Honor Societies and affiliated with the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Justice faculty celebrate opening of new advocacy center

L-R: Dr. Brad Myrstol, director of the Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center and Alaska Justice Information Center,
 Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein, Justice faculty, UAA Chancellor Tom Case and Dr. Andre Rosay, Justice Center director, attend the opening of the Center for Advocacy, Relationships, and Sexual Violence
  
on UAA's campus, April 21. (Photo by Charlotte Titus)

Media stories:

Monday, April 24, 2017

Corrections aiming to be gold standard in treatment of mentally ill

The Department of Corrections (DOC) is the largest provider of mental health services in the state of Alaska. With 33,000 bookings a year, 65% of those booked qualify as beneficiaries of the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, including 23% with a serious mental illness, according to Adam Rutherford, Chief Mental Health Officer for DOC.

In many areas, Alaska lags behind other states, but not in its treatment of the mentally ill in its correctional institutions, Rutherford said.“We are practicing evidenced-based interventions, we are a leader in this area,” he said, adding, “We want to be the gold standard in mental health care.”

L-R: DJJ Clinical Director Shannon Cross-Azbill, DJJ Chief Probation Officer
Heidi Redick, DOC Director of Health and Rehabilitation Services
Laura Brooks and DOC Chief Mental Health Officer Adam Rutherford.
Rutherford, along with Laura Brooks, Director of Health and Rehabilitation Services for DOC, Shannon Cross-Azbill, Clinical Director for the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and Heidi Redick, DJJ Chief Probation Officer, spoke at UAA earlier this month in a program sponsored by the UAA Justice Club on how the mentally ill are being served in both the adult corrections and juvenile justice.

While it is often difficult to diagnose juveniles, DJJ Clinical Director Cross-Azbill said that the majority of those in DJJ have a mental health diagnosis including substance abuse, ADHD, depression and trauma-related disorders. They’ve recently been keeping track of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders and found 47% of the juveniles may be experiencing this, she added.

The panelists attributed the high numbers of those with a mental illness in both juvenile and adult systems to be partly in response to a lack of resources outside their systems.

Laura Brooks, who oversees all of DOC’s Health and Rehabilitative Services (HARS), explained the growth in prison treatment of the mentally ill as symptomatic of a shift in the 1960s away from funding state psychiatric hospitals and moving toward community mental health centers that were inadequately funded. Eventually, many of those with mental health issues ended up in correctional institutions, she said.

Not only is DOC Alaska’s largest behavioral treatment center it is also the state’s largest health care provider.  It is also the largest medical facility, largest detox center, and substance abuse treatment center. The behavioral health staff has 21,000 contacts with offenders a year, according to Rutherford. The HARS staff of 200 sees 5,000 patients a day inpatient and 4,000 a day outpatient, according to Brooks.

DOC has followed the national movement to screen people coming into the system to assess : 1) criminogenic risk, 2) need for substance abuse treatment, and 3) need for mental health treatment.

The goal is to have people in a better position when they leave the facilities than when they entered, Rutherford said. This is important, he added, because most of those who are incarcerated return to the community.

Friday, April 21, 2017

ACLU of Alaska's Tara Rich speaks to Prof. Brandeis' Civil Liberties class

ACLU of Alaska's Legal Policy Director Tara Rich in
Prof. Jason Brandeis' Civil Liberties class
ACLU of Alaska's Legal and Policy Director Tara Rich spoke to Prof. Jason Brandeis' Civil Liberties class (JUST/LEGL A443). Rich gave a presentation on the ACLU's nationwide Campaign For Smart Justice and engaged the class in a discussion of criminal justice issues in Alaska. At the end of the class, Rich distributed pocket-sized constitutions to all of the students.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Center for Advocacy, Relationships, and Sexual Violence grand opening April 21

The 2016 University of Alaska Campus Climate Survey, conducted by Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein, Justice faculty, found that few University of Alaska students who experienced sexual violence chose to disclose their victimization to authorities or a sexual assault advocate. The results of the campus climate survey, in combination with efforts of many across UAA to provide better victim services, led to a partnership with STAR and the opening of the Center for Advocacy, Relationships, and Sexual Violence, on UAA's campus. The Justice Center encourages you to attend the ceremony marking the opening on Friday, April 21, in Rasmuson Hall 118.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Prof. Brandeis presenting information on marijuana law at continuing legal education for Alaska lawyers

Prof. Jason Brandeis, Justice faculty, is giving two presentations at a day-long continuing legal education course for members of the Alaska Bar Association focused on marijuana law in Alaska on April 20 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center.

Prof. Brandeis will present on legal developments in federal and state marijuana laws, providing an historical overview and discussion of pertinent state/federal conflicts. He will also do a presentation on ethics in marijuana law.

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.  He has also provided legal services to the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska

Sen. Dan Sullivan thanks Dr. Blumenstein for highlighting "critical issue for our State"

Sen. Sullivan congratulates
Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein
on receiving the
 Rose Day Award
from the Zonta Club of
Anchorage
Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein, Justice faculty, received a congratulatory note from Sen. Dan Sullivan after Dr. Blumenstein was recognized by the Zonta Club of Anchorage for her work to improve the lives of Alaskans through research into domestic violence and sexual assault.  Sen. Sullivan thanked Dr. Blumenstein for her work to highlight this "critical issue for our State."

Friday, April 14, 2017

Want to learn more about justice in Anchorage?

"If you want to really learn about what happens behind the scenes — to a certain extent — in regards to Anchorage and what really happens to the justice side of it, the [Justice] club is in a perfect spot right now to where you can learn about that,” Brad Foster, club president and criminal justice major told the Northern Light.

Austin Rodgers, Justice Club  secretary.
   Photo credit: Young Kim
Justice Club's emphasis on service and its effort to strengthen year-to-year student involvement is driving a merger with the Pre-Law Society. "Pre-Law Society is actually going to be dissolving into the Justice Club, and the new club is going to be called the Society of Law and Justice," Foster said.

Interested in learning more: check out the end of year Mario Kart Drive for Justice bash April 21 at 6p.m. in North Hall 2nd floor lounge. Or go to a meeting. The club meets every other Friday at 5:30p.m. in room 119 of the Social Science Building. The next meeting is April 14. Questions? uaa_justiceclub@alaska.edu


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Dr. Allan Barnes talks about crime rates at Rotary

Dr. Allan Barnes talks about crime at Rotary
Dr. Allan Barnes, Justice faculty, spoke to members of Anchorage Gateway Rotary about the community's increased concern about crime.  He provided  copies of the AJSAC "Fact Sheet" on recent violent crime trends and other relevant AJSAC information.  He also demonstrated how to use the Anchorage Police Departments new Community Crime Map program and gave them information for creating a Neighborhood Crime Watch program in their home area.  A lively discussion of the causes for the perceived increase in violent crime in Anchorage ensued.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Tales from territorial lawyers featured at UAA Bookstore Thursday, April 13

Thursday, April 13 from 5:00 pm-7:00 pm at the UAA Campus Bookstore

Pamela Cravez, Alaska Justice Forum editor, presents her new book, The Biggest Dammed Hat.

The Biggest Damned Hat presents a fascinating collection of stories ranging from the gold rush to the 1950s.  Based upon legal research, oral histories, and interviews of more than 50 lawyers who came to Alaska prior to 1959, it provides new stories and perspectives on Alaska history from gold rush times to statehood.  It is published by University of Alaska Press.

There is free parking for this event in the South Lot, Sports Complex NW Lot, West Campus Central Lot, and Sports Campus West Lot

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Students take sides in wrongful death mock trial

Mark Heinrichs gives his opening statement in mock trial.
Prof. Kristin Knudsen judges mock trial in Prof. Ryan Fortson's Trial and
Advanced Litigation Processes class (LEGL487).
Students in Prof. Ryan Fortson's Trial and Advanced Litigation Processes class recently participated in a mock trial. Students performed all elements of the civil wrongful death trial, including opening and closing statements, examination of witnesses, laying the foundation for expert witnesses, and making objections. Prof. Kristin Knudsen, Legal Studies faculty who has spent more than eight years as an administrative law judge, served as judge for the trial. Judge Knudsen found mostly for the defense, although did find for the plaintiff on a couple of points.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Moving in the right direction on domestic violence but still a long way to go

Anchorage Press
More than half of  adult women in the state of Alaska have experienced intimate partner violence, sexual violence or both, Dr. André Rosay, director of the Justice Center, said in an interview with Ammon Swenson for the Anchorage Press.  The findings are from the 2015 Alaska Victimization Survey, for which Dr. Rosay is principal investigator.

Alaska Victimization SurveyResults of the  2015 survey showed consistently high rates throughout Alaska, according to Dr. Rosay. He added, that even though rates are very high, results from the 2010 Victimization Survey were even higher.

"We're moving in the right direction, but we have a very, very long way to go," Dr. Rosay said.  People recognize the problem and prevention programs are increasing, he said.  "We've turned a curve and proven we can make a difference."

Still, he's concerned that budget cuts are beginning to make the emphasis on domestic violence go away.

The Justice Center conducts the Alaska Victimization Survey for the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (CDVSA).

Read the complete story:

Prof. Troy Payne interviewed on Mat-Su officer-involved shootings

The Alaska Dispatch News recently interviewed Professor Troy Payne,  Justice faculty, regarding  four officer-involved shootings in the last nine months in Mat-Su. Payne is author of what the Dispatch called a “pivotal 2013 report” of Anchorage police shootings over a 20-year period.

The role of K-9s in two of the four officer-involved shootings highlights the importance of studying how police and citizens interact, Payne said. Dogs can terrify a fleeing suspect, who might choose to shoot. Agencies should review each incident carefully to make sure policy and practice is meeting the agency’s goals.

Regarding the most recent incident, he added ,"Clearly you had a citizen there who was willing to shoot somebody."

Read  Prof. Payne's full report:
Officer-Involved Shootings in Anchorage 1993–2013 by Troy C. Payne. Report prepared for Anchorage Police Department. Anchorage, AK: Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage, 11 Dec 2013.

Non-adversarial alternative courts provide challenge and rewards

Alternative or therapeutic courts are probably one of the biggest movements in the judiciary since the Judiciary Act of 1789, Assistant Professor Cory Lepage, Justice faculty, told a nearly standing room only audience at a panel discussion on alternative courts last week in the Lew Haines Conference Room at the UAA/APU Consortium Library.

U.S. District Magistrate Judge Deborah Smith, Federal Probation Officer Chris Liedike, Assistant District Attorney Heather Nobrega, and Assistant Public Defender Ben Muse spoke of their experiences in alternative courts in an event sponsored by the UAA Justice Club as part of National Criminal Justice Month.
R-L: Assistant District Attorney Heather Nobrega, Assistant Public Defender
Ben Muse, U.S. District Magistrate Judge Deborah Smith, and
Federal Probation Officer Chris Liedike
The non-adversarial courts bring prosecutor, defense attorney, judge, probation officer and defendant together to craft a set of requirements that often include intense outpatient treatment, random UAs, getting a job or doing volunteer work, and regular updates to the court for 12 to 18 months. 

"It’s a lot easier to sit on your butt in jail,” Assistant D.A. Heather Nobrega said.

The non-adversarial approach takes some getting used to, according to Assistant P. D. Ben Muse. “Heather and I are trial lawyers, people don’t always play nice.” 

“We have different perspectives,” Nobrega said, adding, “The judge makes the ultimate decision.”

Both agree, though, on the success of the court and its ability to support defendants and helping to keep them from re-offending.

Judge Deborah  Smith presides over the Alaska Hope Court – a pilot project at the federal level.  Probation Officer Chris Liedike, a reentry specialist, works with defendants in the program.

It’s a carrot and stick approach with immediate and proportional sanctions, Judge Smith said. A positive UA results in immediate jail time, two days if the defendant is truthful, four days if not truthful.

Judge Smith invited audience members to visit her court, which is in session every other Thursday in courtroom 4 in the federal building. “It’s open to the public,” she said. “Feel free to come and join us or intern with us.”


Monday, April 3, 2017

Help break the silence during Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Governor Bill Walker proclaimed April Sexual Awareness Month citing the 2015 Alaska Victimization Survey  which presents research on violence against women in Alaska. Although Alaska experienced a decrease in sexual violence in the past 12 months, the state is still ranked highest in the nation.

To support increased awareness, the UAA Justice Club presents, "Breaking the Silence." Share your words or story and help break the silence every Tuesday and Thursday in April from 11a.m.-2p.m. in the Social Science Building.

For more information contact Joseph at jmitzel@alaska.edu or uaa_justice@alaska.edu.

Sexual Awareness Month is observed on the national level as well as state level.

Alaska Victimization Survey in the news:
--Alaska, US leaders proclaim April as sexual assault awareness month   Apr 1, 2017 — KTVA CBS 11 News
--After fatal shooting, woman’s friends and family hope to shine light on domestic violence 
Mar 31, 2017 — Chugiak-Eagle River Star


Friday, March 31, 2017

Native corporation vice-president/general counsel speaks to Prof. Fortson's contracts class

Christopher Slottee at Prof. Ryan Fortson's contracts class
Christopher Slottee, Vice-President/General Counsel for Old Harbor Native Corporation spoke to students in Prof. Ryan Fortson's Contracts, Debt and Principles of Ownership (LEGL 362) class this week. Slottee talked about drafting contracts and the different types of contracts and issues he encounters in his practice.

"It's very valuable for students to  hear lawyers talk about their work," Fortson said. "My friend, Chris, has been very generous with his time and expertise. It makes a difference to our students."

Slottee began as general counsel for Old Harbor Native Corporation in June of 2015 and before that was a partner in the Anchorage law firm of Atkinson Conway & Gagnon, where he represented Old Harbor in a number of legal matters. Last year, Slottee talked about issues related to Native corporations for Prof. Fortson's Tribal Courts and Alaska Native Rights class.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Mental health care among juvenile and adult correctional populations discussion April 6

Join the UAA Justice Club for a panel discussion of mental health care among juvenile and adult correctional populations, the last in our National Criminal Justice Month 2017 series of discussions.

Date: Thursday, April 6
Time: 7:00–8:30 p.m.
Location: UAA/APU Consortium Library, LIB 307
Admission: Free and open to the public

Providing mental health care has become an increasingly crucial aspect of modern correctional rehabilitation.  Nationally, more than half of prison and jail inmates have mental health problems, and probation/parole departments provide essential mental health services to their clients.

Learn how Alaska tackles these issues at a panel discussion with experts from the Division of Juvenile Justice and Department of Corrections:

Heidi Redick — Chief Probation Officer, Division of Juvenile Justice
Shannon Cross-Azbill — Clinical Director,  Division of Juvenile Justice
Laura Brooks —  Director of Health and Rehabilitation Services, Department of Corrections
Adam Rutherford — Chief Mental Health Officer, Department of Corrections

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

New plan to strengthen trust between police and community

“We’re not just the people with the gun and badge,” Capt. Sean Case said last week as he explained Anchorage Police Department’s Community Action Policing (CAP) initiative and expanded foot patrols. We don’t just deal with something and go away, he said.

Capt. Case, along with Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, Sgt. Brian Williams, president of the Anchorage Police Department Employees Association (APDEA), Jamie Boring, executive director of the Anchorage Downtown Partnership, and Nora Morse, Special Assistant to Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, spoke about community policing at an event sponsored by the UAA Justice Club and Justice Center as part of National Criminal Justice Month.

L to R: Nora Morse, special assistant to the mayor, APD
Capt Sean Case, Sgt. Brian Williams, president of the Anchorage
Police Department Employees Association, and
Mayor Ethan Berkowitz discuss community policing
“We’re making contact with business owners. We’re making contact with people who live in the area,” Capt. Case said.  “It’s a communication-based approach.”

Mayor Berkowitz, who left an Assembly meeting to participate in the discussion, pointed out that “it is important to us to enhance community safety and to protect officer safety and do it in a way where there’s a lot of community trust.”

Anchorage is one of the most ethnically diverse communities in the country with four out of the five most diverse high schools. “Let’s show everyone else we can get along,” Mayor Berkowitz said.

The idea is to proactively prevent crime instead of react to it, according to a letter Mayor Berkowitz sent to the Anchorage community regarding APD’s 2017 Targeted Crime Plan.

“The police department is integral to everyone feeling safe. There is a tremendous amount of social work, a tremendous amount of counseling that goes into making sure you feel safe,” Mayor Berkowitz told a largely UAA student audience, many of whom are enrolled in Justice Center programs.

Three neighborhoods, Mountain View, Spenard and Fairview will get foot patrols. These three neighborhoods have been targeted because of a history of higher call column. They are condensed and easier to get to on foot. The communities have also been asking for better services.

The idea came from the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Mayor Berkowitz said. The Task Force, created by President Barack Obama was part of the Administration’s efforts to “strengthen community policing and strengthen trust among law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.”

Jamie Boring, executive director of the Anchorage Downtown Partnership, spoke about the drop in crime downtown experienced with the addition of foot patrols.

Under Mayor Berkowitz, APD has grown to over 400 officers with another 56 in the training cycle. There are also more than 90 officers eligible to retire. Still, 2017 will see some gains, Capt. Case said, and encouraged students to think about applying for the academy.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Alternative court panel discussion Thursday, March 30

Join the UAA Justice Club as they present a panel discussion of alternative courts in Alaska's state and federal district courts.
  • Date: Thursday, March 30
  • Time: 7:00–8:30 p.m.
  • Location: UAA/APU Consortium Library, LIB 307
  • Admission: Free
Drug courts, veteran courts and reentry courts offer offenders an opportunity to work with a collaborative team toward treatment and rehabilitation. Learn more about how these courts operate with:
  • U.S. District Court Chief Magistrate Judge Deborah M. Smith
  • Federal Probation Officer Chris Liedike
  • Assistant Professor Cory Lepage
  • Assistant Public Defender Ben Muse
  • Assistant District Attorney Heather Nobrega
National Criminal Justice Month events are sponsored by the Justice Center and the UAA Justice Club.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Alaska Criminal Justice Working Group reviews preliminary Results First data

Dr. Brad Myrstol, Justice Center faculty and director of the Alaska Justice Information Center (AJiC) and the  Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center (AJSAC),  presented Results First benefit to cost model estimates on a dozen Alaska Department of Corrections (ADOC) programs to the Alaska Criminal Justice Working Group (ACJWG)  in Juneau last week.  Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan, Supreme Court Justice Joel Bolger,  Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth,  Corrections Commissioner Dean Williams, Mental Health Trust Authority Chief Operating Officer Steve Williams, were among those who responded to the findings with vigorous discussion, including how results might be used to inform future decision-making by policy makers and program heads in the criminal justice system.

Dr. Brad Myrstol
Dr. Araceli Valle
Dr. Myrstol and Dr. Araceli Valle, AJiC research professional, fielded questions from the working group regarding how costs of programs were determined as well as how recidivism rates were calculated. They told the working group that program costs were provided by ADOC and only the state’s investment in programs was used to calculate each program’s benefit cost ratio, a monetary measure of the state’s return on investment. Estimates of recidivism reduction and victimization costs avoided when recidivism is reduced were derived from research conducted outside of Alaska.

Alaska is one of more than 30 jurisdictions throughout the country to partner with the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative. The initiative  uses innovative research tools to analyze the benefit cost ratio of evidence-based programs designed to reduce recidivism.

“The presentation went well,” Dr. Myrstol said. “It generated a lot of discussion and gave the group a lot to think about how this specific resource can be used to inform future program investment decisions.”

Other programs to be run through the Results First adult criminal justice model include therapeutic courts, ASAP (Alcohol Safety Action Program), and Alaska’s batterers’ intervention programs.

Zonta Club awards Blumenstein at Choose Respect event

Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein speaks at Choose Respect event
Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein, Justice faculty, spoke of the need for continued work to address intimate partner and sexual violence at yesterday's Choose Respect march in Anchorage. She presented data from the Alaska Victimization Survey on the impact of stalking on victims of intimate partner and sexual violence. In recognition of her work to make a difference in the lives of women and girls of Alaska, Dr. Blumenstein received the Zonta Rose Day award from the Zonta Club of Anchorage.  Zonta is a service organization dedicated to improving the lives of women and children through education, funds and service projects.

Tales from territorial lawyers and judges in new book

The Biggest Damned Hat: Tales from Alaska's Territorial Lawyers and JudgesUniversity of Alaska Press released The Biggest Damned Hat: Tales from Alaska's Territorial Lawyers and Judges by Pamela Cravez, editor of the Alaska Justice Forum and research associate at the Justice Center.

Built on interviews and oral histories from more than fifty lawyers who worked in Alaska before 1959, and buttressed by research into legal history, The Biggest Damned Hat provides new perspectives on Alaska history from gold rush times to statehood. Clubby, passionate and powerful, territorial lawyers developed their own brand of civil and criminal law in the face of uneven and, at times, unscrupulous federally appointed judges. Bringing to life a time long past—when some of the best lawyers had little formal legal education—The Biggest Damned Hat fills in a crucial part of Alaska’s history.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Dr. André Rosay awarded competitive Visiting Fellowship with National Institute of Justice

Dr. André Rosay
Dr. André Rosay, Justice Center director, was awarded a competitive Visiting Fellowship with the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) in the Office of Justice Programs at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington DC. NIJ's Visiting Fellows Program brings experienced practitioners, policymakers, and — in exceptional circumstances — researchers into residency at NIJ to make important policy and scholarly contributions with practical application to the criminal justice field and to infuse research into policy and practice. According to NIJ Acting Director Howard Spivak, Dr. Rosay's collection of data and reports regarding American Indians and Alaska Natives "is one of the seminal projects in [NIJ's] portfolio of research about violence against women in tribal communities." During his Fellowship, Dr. Rosay will be working on peer reviewed publications using data from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. This is Dr. Rosay’s second Fellowship with the National Institute of Justice.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Join us Tuesday for "A Discussion of Community Policing in Anchorage" and movie on Friday

National Criminal Justice Month
"A Discussion of Community Policing in Anchorage" — kicks off  Justice Club-sponsored events for National Criminal Justice Month 2017.
  • Date: Tuesday, March 21
  • Time: 7:00–8:30 p.m.
  • Location: UAA/APU Consortium Library, LIB 307
  • Admission: Free
The Anchorage Police Department has recently increased community policing efforts, including adding foot patrols in some areas around Anchorage. Come hear the Anchorage Police Department and community leaders discuss current efforts at reducing crime, reducing fear of crime, and improving police-community relations.

Scheduled to appear:
  • Capt. Sean Case, Anchorage Police Department
  • Jamie Boring, Executive Director, Anchorage Downtown Partnership, Ltd.
  • Wanda Green, Immediate Past President, Alaska NAACP

Also, this week:
The movie, "End of Watch," will be shown Friday, March 24, in SSB 118 at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free.

National Criminal Justice Month events are sponsored by the Justice Center and the UAA Justice Club.



In 2009 the United States Congress established March as National Criminal Justice Month. The purpose of National Criminal Justice Month is to promote societal awareness regarding the causes and consequences of crime, as well as strategies for preventing and responding to crime.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Justice Center closed Friday, March 17, for spring break holiday

The Justice Center will be closed Friday, March 17, 2017 for spring break holiday. We will reopen on Monday, March 20 at 8:00 AM.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Prof. Jason Brandeis article examines status of marijuana laws after election

Prof. Jason Brandeis, Justice faculty, examines different scenarios that may unfold regarding federal enforcement of marijuana laws under President Donald Trump and newly appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions in, “Status of marijuana law confused by election.” The article appears in the January–March 2017 edition of Alaska Bar Rag, a publication of the Alaska Bar Association. Prof. Brandeis provides a look at how the “fragile truce” that has been established between the federal government and states that have legalized marijuana may or may not hold in the coming years.

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 this publication, and included providing legal services to the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Prof. Ryan Fortson spearheads Alaska High School Mock Trial Competition

L-R: Prof. Fortson keeps time during the final round of mock trial
competition, Alaska Supreme Court Justice Joel Bolger,
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Morgen Christen,
Chief Judge of the Alaska Court of Appeals David Mannheimer,
Alaska Supreme Court Justice Peter Maasen, and
Anchorage Superior Court Judge Kevin Saxby
listen to students present their case.
For the past 15 years, Prof. Ryan Fortson, Justice Center faculty, has taken a leading role in organizing the Alaska High School Mock Trial Competition, sponsored by the Young Lawyers Section of the Anchorage Bar Association. In addition to coordinating volunteers, Prof. Fortson serves as principle liaison with schools and develops the materials (with the help of other volunteers) used by high school students.

This year Prof. Fortson provided students with a case involving the death of a participant in a fictional remote Alaska reality show. Teams of six to nine high school students were pitted against one another in a simulated wrongful death bench trial. Students played the roles of attorneys and witnesses and were evaluated by a panel of judges, attorneys, and law clerks. The final round took place in the courtroom of the Alaska Supreme Court on Saturday, March 4.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Dr. Myrstol and Dr. Valle provide Alaska Results First benefit cost on Alaska Department of Corrections programs

Alaska Justice Information Center
Alaska Department of CorrectionsDr. Brad Myrstol, Justice Center faculty and director of the Alaska Justice Information Center (AJiC) and the Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center (AJSAC), and Dr. Araceli Valle, AJiC research professional, presented findings from the Alaska Results First Initiative to Dean Williams, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Corrections (ADOC), this week. Alaska is one of more than 30 jurisdictions throughout the country partnering with the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative to use innovative research tools to analyze the benefit to cost ratio of evidence- based programs to reduce recividism. Alaska Results First analysis of evidence-based ADOC programs provides policymakers with a tool to better understand the relationship between the state’s investment in programs and the return on that investment in terms of the reduced future costs of recividism.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Justice Center takes third place at Anchorage Youth Court 2017 Gavel Games.

Justice faculty (L-R) Dr. Sharon Chamard, Prof. Ryan
Fortson
, and Prof. Troy Payne participated in
Gavel Games with Prof. Kristin Knudsen (not pictured).
Photo by Prof. Knudsen.
Lucy Cuddy Hall was filled with 30 teams of legal eagles and youth court supporters engaged in a battle of intelligence and arcane knowledge on Friday, March 3. The Justice Center, fielding its first team, battled for first with the Anchorage Bar Association through four rounds, but slipped to third behind Team Morrison and the Anchorage Bar after a round of questions on Olympic history.  Who knew bowling was an Olympic demonstration sport?

The Justice Center was a co-sponsor of the annual Gavel Games, the largest fundraiser for Anchorage Youth Court (AYC). AYC provides an opportunity for students to serve as attorneys, judges, bailiffs, clerks and jurors in cases involving their peers. Youth in grades 7 through 12 accused of minor offenses, are referred by the Alaska Division of Juvenile Justice to AYC to have their cases heard. Youth found guilty are spared a formal juvenile record if they complete their sentence and do not break the law again.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Legal Studies joins College of Health's Grand Rounds

Prof. Knudsen and Dr. Tom Wadsworth, Pharm.D. at
COH's Grand Rounds
UAA College of Health (COH) and Alaska Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) held Grand Rounds on Friday, March 3, in the South Café of the Student Union.  The event drew students from across COH disciplines for a program designed to promote interprofessional education and present innovations in diabetes care.  For the first time, Justice Center Legal Studies students and faculty joined the program, bringing their perspective to questions of health policy and insurance coverage.  Madeline Rafferty, a Legal Studies B.A. student, won the event door prize.

Grand Rounds included presentations by Rachel Lescher, M.D., pediatric endocrinologist at Alaska Native Medical Center, Tom Wadsworth, Pharm.D., director of the new Idaho State University-UAA Doctor of Pharmacy program, Amy Urbanus, R.D., certified diabetes educator at Providence Alaska Medical Center, and, probably the most popular panelist, a 16-year-old Alaskan who, with family members, discussed her approach to living with diabetes.

After a short presentation, the panelists went from table to table, fielding questions and showing students how different medical devices worked.

Prof. Kristin Knudsen, Justice Center faculty who teaches Health Law, is a member of COH's Interprofessional Education Working Group which, with AHEC, organized Grand Rounds.  

Friday, March 3, 2017

Dr. Blumenstein presents data on domestic and sexual violence in Alaska at Juneau event


Watch Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein, Justice Center faculty, present results from the Alaska Victimization Survey and the University of Alaska Campus Climate Survey at a recent "Lunch and Learn" in Juneau. Carmen Lowry, PhD and Wendi Siebold, MA, PhD joined Dr. Blumenstein at the event organized by the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault and sponsored by Alaska State Representatives Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks) and Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage).

Video:

Monday, February 27, 2017

Dr. Brad Myrstol participates in panel on criminal justice reform

Chugiak-Eagle River public meeting (photo)
(L-R) Commissioner Monegan,
Mayor Berkowitz, and Capt. Case
listen to Dr. Myrstol at Chugiak-
Eagle River public meeting.
Dr. Brad Myrstol, Justice Center faculty and director of the Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center (AJSAC) and Alaska Justice Information Center (AJiC), participated in a public meeting that drew more than 50 people to discuss criminal justice reform on Saturday, February 25. Other panelists at the Chugiak-Eagle River meeting included Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan,  Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, APD Capt. Sean Case, Alaska Judicial Council Executive Director Susanne DiPietro, Department of Law Criminal Division Director John Skidmore, and Department of Corrections Commissioner Dean Williams. Sen. Anna MacKinnon (R-Eagle River) hosted the discussion.

Media coverage:

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein presents research on sexual assault and domestic violence at Juneau "Lunch and Learn"


Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein, faculty member in the Justice Center, will present results from the Alaska Victimization Survey and the University of Alaska Campus Climate Survey at a "Lunch and Learn" event focused on ending domestic violence and sexual violence in Alaska on Wednesday, February 22 in Juneau. The event is organized by the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault and sponsored by Alaska State Representatives Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks)  and Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage).

Video:

Monday, February 20, 2017

AJSAC Fact Sheet: Violent Crime Reported in Alaska, 1986–2015

 Violent Crime Reported in Alaska, 1986–2015 (AJSAC Fact Sheet)
The most recent issue of the AJSAC Fact Sheet, "Violent Crime Reported in Alaska, 1986–2015," presents data on violent crimes reported in Alaska from 1986 to 2015 as reported in the Alaska Department of Public Safety publication Crime in Alaska. "Violent crime" is an aggregate category that includes homicide (murder and non-negligent manslaughter), rape, robbery, and aggravated assault offenses reported to police.

From 1986 to 2015, violent crime rates increased in Alaska although the overall crime rate decreased. Homicide and robbery rates declined over the 30-year period, while rape and aggravated assault rates increased from 1986 to 2015 – with aggravated assault acting as the main driver of increases in the violent crime rate over the period. On average, violent crime accounted for 11 percent of all crime reported in Alaska from 1986 to 2015. Aggravated assault accounted for nearly three-quarters, robbery for nearly 15 percent, rape for nearly 13 percent, and homicide for just over one percent of all violent crime reported in Alaska over the period.

The fact sheet is by Khristy Parker, Research Professional, Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center (AJSAC). The AJSAC Fact Sheet series addresses various crime and criminal justice topics.

Citation:

Media coverage:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Pamela Cravez joins Justice Center

Pamela Cravez joins the Justice Center as editor of the Alaska Justice Forum and Research Associate. Ms. Cravez received her J.D. from Catholic University Law School and an M.F.A. in creative nonfiction from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She has worked as a public defender, communications director, reporter, writer, editor and researcher. Her book, The Biggest Damned Hat: Tales from Territorial Alaska’s Lawyers and Judges, will be released by the University of Alaska Press  April 2017.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Justice Center welcomes students at 2017 Spring Preview Day

Prof. Kristin Knudsen (L) and Dr. Marny Rivera speak
with students at the Student Union during 2017
Preview Day.
Dr. Marny Rivera, Justice Undergraduate Program Coordinator, and Prof. Kristin Knudsen, J.D., M.J.S., Legal Studies Program Coordinator, taught three mock classes to give students an idea of what classes would be like in Justice Center programs and spoke with high school students in the Student Union at the Spring 2017 Preview Day on February 10. 

Preview Day is designed to help high school juniors and seniors get ready to attend UAA. In addition to mock classes, students learn about admissions and financial aid and speak with current students about campus life.

Dr. Rivera and Prof. Knudsen helped students understand what they could expect from the Justice Undergraduate Program and the Legal Studies Program and fielded questions from students who came from all over Alaska and as far away as Texas.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Alaska Court System Annual Report FY 2016

Alaska Court System Annual Report FY 2016
The Justice Center assisted with layout and design of  the recently released Alaska Court System Annual Report FY 2016 The report includes an overview of the court system, review of court initiatives over the fiscal year, photo directory of Alaska Court System judges and magistrate judges, maps of court locations, statistical tables of court system activity, and photos of Alaska courthouses and scenic areas around the state.

For the past five years, Melissa S. Green, Justice Center publication specialist, has worked with Antonia Moras, project coordinator for the court system and former editor of the Alaska Justice Forum. Ms. Green collaborated on design, did layout and compositing of text, statistical tables, maps, and photographs for both the annual report and a more abbreviated Profile of the Alaska Court System 2017.

Ms. Green also collaborated with Ms. Moras on a major redesign of the report in FY 2012.

Annual reports for FY 2007–FY 2016 are available on the Alaska Court System website.