Sometimes cases settle for reasons that leave ALO unhappy. In March there were two such cases. One was an Anchorage criminal case involving a felony sex assault charge against a Chevak man. The case had an interesting history. Myron handled a trial in the case a couple of months ago that ended in a mistrial when the District Attorney mentioned some things in front of the jury that he shouldn’t have. A mistrial is not a very clean result, because it means that you start over, with considerable wasted time and expense for both sides. In this case, our client had limited resources, so a second trial in Anchorage was not that appealing. The state apparently felt the same way, offering a misdemeanor harassment charge which was a major reduction from the Class B felony charge that would have involved many years in prison from our client if the jury convicted him. Why was the result unhappy for ALO? The case was very defendable, and a win was quite likely. The victim, also a Chevak person, claimed she was assaulted when she passed out in the defendant’s hotel room after a night of drinking. And what a night it was. The woman, who was in Anchorage on business, went with the defendant and others to dinner, where she had a couple of beers. Then she accepted an invitation to go to PJ’s, a strip club with the defendant, where she had about 8 more drinks, mostly beers and a margarita. At that point the pair returned to the hotel where both were staying in separate rooms, but instead of calling it a night, they joined another friend for more drinks in the bar. After the lady had two more drinks, the three left the bar when it closed, and both men offered to see the lady (a married woman with several kids) to her room. She declined, instead asking if either man had more drinks in their room. The defendant said he did, and all three went there to drink more. The lady claims to remember nothing that happened after leaving the bar, but when she woke up in the morning she believed she had engaged in sex during the night. She confronted the defendant, who avoided the question, and then she contacted police. DNA evidence showed that the two had engaged in sex. There were no witnesses to the events that happened after the third person left the room around 1 am.
The defendant denied that the woman was incapacitated, and the woman had no memory of what happened. If you have thoughts on this case and its outcome, email them to ALO.
The other unhappy settlement involved a four wheeler wreck in Emmonak. A young man drove a four wheeler at a high rate of speed with his sister and niece on board over a newly constructed ramp-roadway near the airport. Witnesses described his speed as 30-40 mph. He claimed 15 mph. He ran through a dip in the road and tipped over. The young girl suffered a serious arm injury. This office represented the company that built the roadway for the state. The state was also a defendant. The driver was a plaintiff, but dropped out of the suit after his deposition. The defendants combined to pay a substantial seven figure settlement to the girl, despite advice that most if not all of the fault would be given to the driver.
Matt got two nice wins in Bethel criminal cases where he filed motions which were granted by the court, ending the cases. He spent part of the month in Hawaii, shortly after he was promoted to a new level of responsibility at ALO. Matt will be assuming an increased role in the management of ALO and share in future profits, a change that he earned through 2 1⁄2 years of solid performance.
There were three correct votes and one incorrect vote for last month’s Bethel history quiz. The incorrect vote was from Ireland. The contestant, who used to be a Bethel public defender before defecting, claimed the contest was rigged and demanded a recount. Two of the winners, Scott Angstman and Kevin Wesloh are family members, and four family members were at least partially visible in the picture, Myron, Sue, Dolly and Carol Angstman (next to Sue) The others are Jim Plasman (scraggly beard and hair) Mike Bell and Pat Harrington. Plasman is currently a judge in Micronesia, and Bell-Harrington are married and live in Maine. The local winner was Cindy Andrechek.
March is Iditarod month in Alaska, and what better to time to dredge up the video of Andy finishing last year’s race, which was shown on the Iditarod web page. ( Download Video. -sorry MAC users) Other than the winner, it was the loudest finish in the race, thanks to the rowdy Bethel crew on hand.
Dog racing dominated the scene at ALO during March, as the newly assumed K-300 race manager duties occupied most of the staff. The race is in a mess, financially and otherwise, and it will take some doing to pull off a successful race in 2009, which will be the 30th annual event. This mess is a developing story which can’t be detailed here at this time, but watch future reports for a complete account of a disgusting chapter in one of Alaska’s top sporting events.
Finally, another early Bethel photo with a quiz. depicts one of Bethel’s most infamous weddings and parties. It was held in October of 1982, at the unfinished Angstman log house. It was a combination Halloween costume party, wedding and reception. Name the pictured folks, plus the person who conducted the ceremony, and win a half price divorce from ALO.