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Farmer v. State, Dept. of Law, Office of Atty. Gen.

Supreme Court of Alaska

June 25, 2010

Paul N. FARMER, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Alaska, DEPARTMENT OF LAW, OFFICE OF the ATTORNEY GENERAL, Appellee.

Rehearing Denied Aug. 18, 2010.

Paul N. Farmer, Anchorage, pro se.

Kenneth M. Rosenstein, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Special Prosecutions & Appeals, Anchorage, and Richard A. Svobodny, Acting Attorney General, Juneau, for Appellee.

Before: CARPENETI, Chief Justice, FABE, WINFREE, CHRISTEN, and STOWERS, Justices.

OPINION

FABE, Justice.

I. INTRODUCTION

In the early 1990s, Paul Farmer was convicted of several felonies. More than ten years after completing his sentence of incarceration, followed by a term of probation, Farmer attempted to purchase a rifle. The FBI refused to authorize his purchase, presumably due to his felony convictions. Farmer then petitioned for expungement of his criminal record so that he would be able to legally purchase and possess a firearm. While acknowledging that it is an open question whether Alaska courts have inherent authority to expunge criminal records, the superior court concluded that even if such authority exists, Farmer would not qualify for expungement. The superior court denied Farmer's petition, and Farmer appealed. Because we agree that Farmer would not

Page 1013

qualify for expungement even if Alaska courts have inherent authority to expunge criminal records, we affirm the superior court's ruling.

II. STATEMENT OF FACTS

A. Facts

In 1991 Paul Farmer pleaded no contest to the crime of misconduct involving a controlled substance in the fourth degree, a felony.[1] " Superior Court Judge Beverly W. Cutler suspended the imposition of sentence on the condition that Farmer serve two years of probation." [2] In 1993 Farmer was convicted of two counts of misconduct involving a controlled substance in the fourth degree and one count of misconduct involving weapons in the first degree, also a felony. The superior court sentenced Farmer to two years for the controlled substance convictions and two years with all but sixty days suspended for the weapons conviction. The superior court also imposed sentence on the 1991 controlled substance conviction, sentencing Farmer to one year with ten months suspended.

More than ten years after completing his sentence and subsequent period of probation, Farmer tried to buy a rifle. The FBI sent Farmer a letter refusing to authorize the purchase, presumably due to his felony convictions. Farmer evidently ...


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