from the District Court, Fourth Judicial District, Fairbanks,
Trial Court No. 4FA-12-3374 CR Patrick S. Hammers, Judge.
D. Reineke, under contract with the Public Defender Agency,
and Quinlan Steiner, Public Defender, Anchorage, for the
Buettner, Assistant District Attorney, Fairbanks, and Craig
W. Richards, Attorney General, Juneau, for the Appellee.
Before: Mannheimer, Chief Judge, Allard, Judge, and Suddock,
Superior Court Judge. [*]
November 5, 2012, Alaska Railroad Special Agent Kathy Kraft
received a report that a car was "spinning brodies"
in a parking lot owned by the railroad. When Kraft drove
her patrol car to the property, she found a dark-colored j
eep parked in a corner of the lot.
tried to make contact with the driver (who turned out to be
Nicholas Forsythe), but he began to drive away. Kraft then
activated the overhead lights of her patrol car (as a signal
for Forsythe to stop), but Forsythe continued driving away.
Thinking that Forsythe might not have observed her flashing
lights, Kraft activated her siren - but Forsythe still failed
to stop. Kraft then pulled alongside Forsythe and, using her
hands, directed him to pull over. Forsythe responded by
shaking his head "no", and he continued to drive.
decided to radio the Alaska State Troopers for assistance.
Even after a trooper patrol car arrived on the scene and
signaled Forsythe to stop, Forsythe continued driving for
approximately another mile before he finally pulled over.
on these events, Forsythe was charged with failing to stop at
the direction of a peace officer, AS 28.35.182(b), for
failing to pull over when he was directed to do so by Special
Forsythe's trial, after the State presented its evidence,
Forsythe's attorney sought a judgement of acquittal,
arguing that Kraft was not a "peace officer" for
purposes of AS 28.35.182. The district court denied the
defense attorney's motion, and Forsythe was convicted.
Now, on appeal, Forsythe renews his claim that the
State's evidence was legally insufficient because Kraft
was not a peace officer.
Court recently issued an opinion - Sapp v. State,
379 P.3d 1000 (Alaska App. 2016) - in which we addressed the
question of what types of officials qualify as "peace
officers" for purposes of AS 28.35.182.
Sapp, we held that this question is controlled by
the definition of "peace officer" codified in AS
01.10.060(7). This statute contains six subsections -
(A) through (F) - each of which specify a different type of
official who qualifies as a peace officer.
subsection of the statute that applies to Forsythe's case
is subsection (F), which declares that the term "peace
officer" includes "[any] officer whose duty it is
to enforce and preserve the public peace". In
Sapp, we interpreted subsection (F) as encompassing
only "publicly employed law enforcement officers who
have full police responsibility and who spend substantially
all of their working hours performing these police
question in Forsythe's case, then, is whether the
evidence presented at Forsythe's trial was sufficient to
establish that Kraft was a publicly employed law enforcement
officer who had full police responsibility and who spent