AK Chief Justice Warns Agencies of Overwhelming Appeals Backlog

Dana Fabe, the chief justice of the Alaska Supreme Court, delivered her State of the Judiciary address to a joint session of the Alaska Legislature on Wednesday, February 12, 2014. Chief Justice Fabe told lawmakers that state agencies that handle criminal appeals are becoming overwhelmed, with attorneys sometimes taking up to two years to file their briefs. The agencies in Alaska that handle criminal appeals are the Public Defender Agency, the Office of Public Advocacy, and the state attorney general’s office.

This backlog affects both defendants and victims because it delays closure. While Justice Fabe did not offer a solution to the legislature, the problem appears to be money, that is, the legislature has not allocated enough money to these State agencies. The agencies, according to Face, “are making diligent efforts to discharge their duties, it appears that they don’t have the capacity to keep up with the striking increase in appeals, and they will no doubt continue to be stretched by the rising trial rates and resulting heavy appellate caseloads.” Fabe said that during the first half of this fiscal year, criminal appeals were up 33 percent. You can access the Anchorage Daily News article here.

If you have been charged with a crime, you should contact a criminal defense attorney. Criminal convictions can affect employment applications, affect important constitutional rights, and result in substance abuse treatment. Contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden at 907-771-9002 for a consultation. You can also visit our DUI/DWICriminal Defense, and Blog pages for more information.

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