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.