• Myron

August 2012

An interesting trial highlighted the ALO  August news.  Newly appointed Judge Chuck Ray presided over the trial, his first ever, and  the only Alaska trial to date conducted by a deaf judge.  Judge Ray became deaf in the past few years after  practicing law  in Alaska for many years. The court was equipped with specialized equipment to deal with the situation, and included a real time transcriptionist  whose work was visible on a screen  on the judge’s  bench, as well as on  counsel tables. 


The process was not without  issues. A jury trial is a busy scene, and  the court’s ability to  keep up with the proceedings was at times hampered by reading the screen.  But the trial did move forward,   and the court’s lack of hearing did not prevent a fair determination of the issues presented.  Kinks in the process will be addressed and  this court will  continue as the only one in America presided over by a deaf judge.


The  result of the trial was favorable for ALO’s client. The controversy involved a family feud which has existed in a nearby village for  many years.  The trial involved  claims by two women against each other, and  ALO’s client won both claims,  although she only sought nominal damages on her own claim.  The other party might now regret the opportunity she had  at several points in the case to declare a truce, with both sides dropping their claims.   Now, many thousands of dollars in fees later,  she faces  a possible judgment  requiring her to  pay a portion of the winning party’s fees.


ALO also settled a claim in August involving a set of  facts  unique to Alaska.  A  part time police officer in the village of  Gambell on St. Lawrence Island was called to a home where a young man was intoxicated and causing a disturbance.  He was placed under arrest, cuffed, and the two started walking back to the police station, about  10 minute walk from the point of arrest. A problem  developed during that walk.   The temperature outside that night in Gambell was about -10 and windy,  and  the prisoner started out the walk barefoot but with a pair of slippers. The slippers  soon came off, so he was walking barefoot in conditions that many Americans would never  walk in fully dressed.  By the time he reached the station, his feet were frozen.  For the next few days he was unable to walk more than a step of two, but eventually  healed  well. 


August featured rainy weather across most of Alaska. In Bethel,  the local airport is  being repaired and because of a major screw-up the repairs have been  delayed for a long time. During that delay,  jets have had tighter landing minimums because of the narrow  strip.  Many times the jet has returned to Anchorage because  of weather conditions that would normally allow a safe landing.  Dolly was on the most recent  turn around jet,  as she returned from a trip to the state fair and Denali Park with her family.   That trip produced this month’s mandatory moose photo, taken from the Denali tour bus. 



Dolly also  earned a spot  in the news from the other side of the camera, with this dandy grayling from a river near the Angstman cabin.



Speaking of rain, the Kotzebue area has been drenched all month, creating this  water hazard at the local airstrip.   



More  animals made the August cut.  This critter was spotted in Bethel, where it must have wandered from a larger group living on the coast about 100 miles away. 


Many years ago a group of six musk ox  was spotted near Bethel, and might have been the start of a local herd if they had not been harvested by a greedy hunter with a .22 rifle on the bank of the Gweek River.  That  quality hunter got 6 months in jail for  his poor judgment.  Recent  arrivals to Long Pond Elk Farm appear to be enjoying their  new home. This photo shows a group of black bears, but there is some discussion as to the exact number.   One person blew up the shot, and swears there are four cubs with their mother.



Western Alaska made big news recently with the announcement that a former resident of Aniak on the Kuskokwim River was part of the  group of Navy Seals who  took down Osama Bin Laden.  The young man now claims Wrangell, Alaska as his home, but you might not find him  walking along the streets there anytime soon, as he is  the target of folks loyal to Bin Laden, who have called for his execution.  He also  faces trouble from the US government for writing a book about the Bin Laden raid, without approval.  The book was written under a pen name, but it is believed a member of the Navy Seals publicly identified the author, who is the son of a former magistrate  who presided over numerous court hearings involving ALO.


The British royal family is always  a source of amusement around ALO.  The one constant throughout the long history of  royal scandals is the strong family bond that keeps this group together.  This picture shows that despite Harry’s recent antics in Las Vegas, the royal family will still cover for him.



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