Friday, December 23, 2016

Summer/Fall 2016 issue of the Alaska Justice Forum released

The Summer/Fall 2016 issue of the Alaska Justice Forum has been released and contains the articles noted below.

Click here to read the PDF of this issue.

"Recover Alaska: Healing Alaska's Alcohol Problems" by Marny Rivera and Tiffany Hall
"Therapeutic Courts in the Alaska Court System" by Barbara Armstrong
"Alaska Felony Sentencing Patterns: Selected Findings" by Teresa White Carns
"Teens Acting Against Violence and the 40 Developmental Assets" by Khristy Parker

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

L to r: Amanda Metivier and Kelsie Sullivan
in front of the CWA Giving Tree.
Holiday elves will be paying a special visit to over 30 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. If you would like to participate next year, contact Kelsie at 786-6460.

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!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Criminal Justice Reform: Senate Bill 91 - Dec 8 program video and materials now online

Panelists (l to r): Dr. Troy Payne, Justice Center; Jeff Jessee and Lt. Kris Sell, ACJC Commission members;
Barbara Dunham, ACJC staff attorney; Geri Fox, AK Pretrial Services Division; and Dr. Araceli Valle, AJiC.

About 150 UAA students and members of the public attended the December 8 program, "Criminal Justice Reform: A discussion of Senate Bill 91 - Reducing the prison population while enhancing public safety," co-sponsored by the Justice Center and the UAA Justice Club.
Click here to view the video and materials.

The approximately 2-hour video of the program is now available on the Justice Center website and on our YouTube channel. The program PowerPoint and other publication resources are also available on the website.

Panelists were Jeff Jessee, Alaska Criminal Justice Commission (ACJC) member, Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority - Moderator; Lt. Kris Sell, Alaska Criminal Justice Commission (ACJC) member; Barbara Dunham, Alaska Criminal Justice Commission (ACJC); Geri Fox, Alaska Division of Pretrial Services; Dr. Araceli Valle, Alaska Justice Information Center (AJiC); and Dr. Troy Payne, Justice Center faculty.

Panelists and Justice Club officers pose for a photo following the event.
L to r: Justice Club officers Jonathan Gonzalez and Alex Cole; Barbara Dunham, ACJC staff attorney; Geri Fox, AK Pretrial Services Division; Dr. Troy Payne, Justice Center; Dr. Araceli Valle, AJiC; ACJC members Lt .Kris Sell and Jeff Jessee;
and Justice Club officers Austin Rogers, Bradley Foster, and Austin Otos.

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

Prior to oral argument (l to r): students Sondra Smith and Taylor Lane;
Prof. Fortson; Magistrate Judge McCoy; students  Jennifer Ham, Juita Johnson,
and Madeline Rafferty. Not pictured: student Josephine Davis
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 exam of the 2016 fall semester.

Students prepared written briefs and oral arguments for three hypothetical cases for simulated trial court motion practice. Their arguments were presented before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Kevin McCoy who rendered a decision after each case was presented.

L to r: Juita Johnson and Sondra Smith present their arguments to
Magistrate Judge McCoy while Prof. Fortson observes.

Alumni update: Simona Gerdts BA Justice '14, Legal Studies Minor

Simona Gerdts, BA Justice '14, Legal Studies Minor, is Operations Support Specialist for the U.S. District Court - Northern District of Texas in Wichita Falls.  Simona is responsible for maintaining and processing case information from opening to final disposition. She also is the appeals clerk for this division, and acts as the liaison between the U.S. District Court and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals whenever there is an appeal in a case.  Simona says she finds her work "as exciting as it is challenging."

She and her family are enjoying the warmer weather following her husband's transfer from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, to a more southern climate.

Simona Gerdts

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Justice Center holiday closure

Happy holidays & best wisehs for 2017 from the Justice Center
The Justice Center, along with the rest of the UAA campus, will be closed for the winter holiday break starting Monday, December 26, 2016.

We will reopen for our normal business hours on Wednesday, January 4, 2017.

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

Magistrate Judge Suzanne Cole speaks to Prof. Fortson's Family Law class

Magistrate Judge Cole discusses
domestic violence and protective orders.
Magistrate Judge Suzanne Cole, 3rd Judicial District/Anchorage, presented to Prof. Ryan Fortson's Family Law class on November 23 on issues of domestic violence and legal protections for its victims.

 Magistrate Judge Cole was appointed to the bench in 1997.  She discussed her extensive experience as a judge and presented information on the use and standards for issuing protective orders.

Prof. Fortson (l) introduces Magistrate Judge Suzanne Cole.

Alumni Spotlight - Miranda Strong, BA '08, MPA '11

Miranda Strong
Miranda Strong, BA Philosophy with emphasis in Legal Studies '08 and MPA '11, received her JD from the University of Washington (UW) School of Law in 2012 .  She is currently an Assistant Attorney General and Special Assistant to the Attorney General in the Alaska Department of Law - Opinions, Appeals, and Ethics Section.  Her job includes liaising with the Governor’s Office and coordinating an executive-branch working group with the Lieutenant Governor on Alaska Native legal matters, representing the Office of Children's Services in child protection appeals before the Alaska Supreme Court, and advising on and communicating Alaska Native law and policy matters to the public.

At UAA, Miranda was in the Honors College and combined her interest in philosophy with her growing desire to enter the legal profession. She relished her Philosophy of Law and Development of Law courses. Prof. Deb Periman, J.D., Legal Studies faculty in the Justice Center, was a significant influence as Miranda prepared for law school.

While at UAA, Miranda was awarded a Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation scholarship for graduate work in public service. Prof. James W. Muller, Ph.D., UAA Political Science Department, the UAA Truman Scholar advisor, was enormously helpful to Miranda in applying to the Truman Foundation. The scholarship was established in honor of President Harry S. Truman and memorializes his commitment to public service and the need to foster public service leadership.  

At UW School of Law, Miranda was selected for the William H. Gates Public Service Law Program at UW and worked as a legal intern at the Disability Law Center in 2009 and at the Alaska Department of Law Human Services & Torts Section in 2010.

Miranda is a member of the Alaska Bar Association Pro Bono Service Committee, and for the past 2 years has served as a pro bono attorney for the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (ANDVSA).

In her free moments, she enjoys spending time with her two children, Calvin 2 years old, and JJ 5 years old, and her UAA alum husband, James Strong, BA Business Administration '06, who is the owner of Sweet Caribou. And you might also see Miranda on the cross-country ski trails or bike commuting to work.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Dr. Myrstol presents at UAA undergraduate research forum

Dr. Brad Myrstol, Justice Center faculty, presented at the November 30 Undergraduate Research Forum coordinated by the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship, a division of the UAA University Honors College, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) BUILD EXITO Program.

The November 30 research forum was one of several scheduled during the fall semester for undergraduates. Faculty panelists presented a summary of their research interests and discussed research opportunities for undergraduates in their respective fields.

Other panelists included Dr. Heather Adams, English; Dr. Khrys Duddleston, Biological Sciences; and Dr. Gwen Lupfer, Psychology.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Alaska Native Leader Emil Notti speaks to Prof. Fortson's Tribal Courts and Alaska Native Rights class

Photo by Lisa Jaeger
Alaska Native Leader Emil Notti spoke to Prof. Ryan Fortson's Tribal Courts and Alaska Native Rights class on December 1. He discussed the changing role of leadership among Alaska Natives from the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) 45 years ago to the present.  Prof. Fortson, J.D., Ph.D., is a member of the Legal Studies faculty in the Justice Center.

Mr. Notti was instrumental in the passage of ANCSA and has been a leader in Alaska Native affairs since the 1960s. He is a former Commissioner of the Department of Community and Regional Affairs, State of Alaska and former Commissioner of Commerce, State of Alaska, 2006-201; the first president of the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN); and a past senior vice president of Doyon Ltd.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Legal Studies Alumni Update — Lisa Winzenburg

Lisa Winzenburg
Lisa Winzenburg, Paralegal Studies Certificate '14, is the Legal Assistant and Area Credit Manager for the Alaska Region of Builders First Source/Spenard Builders Supply in Anchorage. Her job involves managing delinquent accounts, securing bad debts, legal collections, fraud/theft suppression, reviewing contracts, and working with surety bond claims and payment/performance bond claims.

It's not just law firms that are looking for individuals with paralegal training. Ms. Winzenburg's department is part of Credit/Legal Collections, and she finds her coursework at UAA helped prepare her for this work.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Prof. Knudsen profiled in Legal Writing Institute newsletter

Prof. Kristin Knudsen, J.D., M.J.S., Legal Studies Undergraduate Coordinator in the Justice Center, is profiled in the December 1, 2016 issue of LWI Lives, a publication of the Legal Writing Institute.

The profile chronicles Prof. Knudsen's journey to Alaska after graduating from Santa Clara University School of Law and her transition from a legal career to teaching Legal Studies at the University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center. She is currently the Legal Studies Undergraduate Program Coordinator.

Read the full profile here:
"Kristin Knudsen: The Improbable Optimist" by Iselin Gambert. LWI Lives, December 1, 2016.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Drs. Rosay and Myrstol present at the 15th Annual National Indian Nations Conference

Dr. André Rosay, Justice Center Director, and Dr. Brad Myrstol, Justice Center faculty, recently presented at the 15th National Indian National Conference.  Drs. Rosay and Myrstol joined a panel of experts at a day-long workshop to discuss "National Institute of Justice Sponsored Research Initiatives in Indian Country and Alaska Native Villages."

Dr. Rosay discussed "Impact of Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women and Men," and Dr. Myrstol presented on "Tribal Research Stakeholder Guidance" and "From Periphery to Center: Stakeholder Input as Data."  The all-day workshop highlighted several relevant National Institute of Justice programs and research that can provide a deeper understanding of the issues faced by American Indian and Alaska Native people and communities to help formulate public policies and prevention strategies to decrease the incidence of crimes.

Justice Center faculty present at American Society of Criminology 2016 Annual Meeting in New Orleans

Drs.  André Rosay, Troy Payne, Marny Rivera, Brad Myrstol, Sharon Chamard, Allan Barnes, Cory R. Lepage, and Lindsey Blumenstein made presentations at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Criminology in New Orleans in November. This year's conference theme was "The Many Colors of Crime & Justice."

Justice Center faculty made 10 presentations on a range of topics: data from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) -- including elder abuse and polyvictimization, homeless young adults in Anchorage, civil legal needs of crime victims in Alaska,  data centers for criminal justice research, police referrals for prosecution in sexual assault and sexual abuse of a minor cases, public inebriates, 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: Dr. Cory R. Lepage and Dr. Marny Rivera at
their ASC presentation.

Prof. Brandeis is presenter at Marijuana Business Law in Alaska legal seminar December 9

Prof. Jason Brandeis, J.D., Legal Studies faculty in the Justice Center, was a presenter at the National Business Institute (NBI) seminar, "Marijuana Business Law in Alaska," held in Anchorage on December 9, 2016.

He presented "Federal Responses to Alaska Marijuana Law" which explained the relationship between state and federal marijuana laws and discussed possible changes to federal marijuana law and policy under a new presidential administration. Prof. Brandeis also gave a presentation titled "Alaska Attorney Ethics and Marijuana Legalization" which covered topics such as marijuana and the Rules of Professional Conduct, attorney use of cannabis products, and attorney ownership of cannabis businesses.

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

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Join us on December 8 at UAA - Criminal justice reform: A discussion of Senate Bill 91

Criminal Justice Reform: 
A discussion of Senate Bill 91

Reducing the prison population 
while enhancing public safety

Day: Thursday, December 8, 2016
Time: 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Place: Wendy Williamson Auditorium, UAA Campus
Parking: Free parking in lots next to auditorium

This event is free and open to the public, UAA students, faculty, and staff.


Jeff Jessee, Alaska Criminal Justice Commission member, Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority - Moderator
Lt. Kris Sell, Alaska Criminal Justice Commission member
Barbara Dunham, Alaska Criminal Justice Commission
Geri Fox, Alaska Division of Pretrial Services
Dr. Araceli Valle, Alaska Justice Information Center
Dr. Troy Payne, Justice Center faculty

This event is co-sponsored by the UAA Justice Center and the Justice Club.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Justice Center welcomes students at 2016 Fall Preview Day

Dr. Marny Rivera (r) talks to students
about Justice Center programs.
Dr. Marny Rivera, Justice Undergraduate Program Coordinator, and Prof. Kristin Knudsen, J.D., Legal Studies Program Coordinator, met with high school students and their parents at the Fall 2016 Preview Day on November 4 at the UAA Student Union.

Preview Days are designed specifically for high school juniors and seniors and their guests and provides potential incoming students with an opportunity to experience what UAA has to offer all in one day. This event gives them the opportunity to explore programs, organizations and resources that they might follow throughout their path here at the university.
Prof. Knudsen (l) describes for students some of the courses
in Justice and in Legal Studies offered by the Justice Center.

Friday, December 2, 2016

ANCSA at 45: Videos and symposium materials online

Adapting for the Next Generation: ANCSA at 45 and the 32d Annual Alaska Native Law Conference
Videos and symposium materials for the day-long symposium "Adapting for the Next Generation:  The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) at 45 and the 32d Annual Alaska Native Law Conference" are now available online at the UAA Justice Center website at 

The videos in the series were produced and edited by Eric Baldwin, UAA Academic Innovations and eLearning.

Videos include:
  1. Symposium Introduction & Keynote: Raina Thiele (40:14 mins.)
  2. Panel I: ANCSA and the Future of Tribal Jurisdiction in Alaska (1 hr 15:48 mins)
  3. Panel II: Challenges and Opportunities for Alaska Native Corporations (56:58 mins.)
  4. Panel III: Federal Legislative Update (47:56 mins.)
  5. Panel IV: State Legislative Update (51:03 mins.)
  6. Panel V: Case Law Update (47:35 mins.)
  7. Panel VI: Protection of the Attorney-Client Privilege in the Joint Representation of Parent Companies and Their Subsidiaries (Legal Ethics Session) (54:07 mins.)
The complete series of videos are also available as a playlist at the UAA Justice Center YouTube channel.

The symposium, held October 14, 2016 at the UAA/APU Consortium Library on the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) campus, drew over 75 attendees including lawyers, Alaska Native village and corporation representatives, state and federal agency staff, and UAA faculty and students.

The free day-long symposium was co-sponsored by theUAA Justice Center, the Alaska Law Review (ALR), and the Alaska Native Law Section of the Alaska Bar Association. Coordinators of the program were Prof. Ryan Forston, J.D., Ph.D., of the UAA Justice Center; Christian Vazquez, Articles Editor of the Alaska Law Review; and Bruce Anders, co-chair of the Alaska Native Law Section of the Alaska Bar Association.

The Alaska Law Review will be publishing an issue at a later date with the articles prepared for the symposium.

Keynote speaker, Raina Thiele, former Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs &
Public Engagement for the White House, addresses the symposium.