from the District Court, Third Judicial District, Trial Court
No. 3PA-13-3129 CR, Palmer, David L. Zwink, Judge.
Johnson, Assistant Public Defender, and Quinlan Steiner,
Public Defender, Anchorage, for the Appellant.
Lindsey Burton, Assistant District Attorney, Palmer, and
Craig W. Richards, Attorney General, Juneau, for the
Before: Mannheimer, Chief Judge, Allard, Judge, and Suddock,
Superior Court Judge. [*]
November 2013, Stephanie Olson obtained a 20-day domestic
violence protective order against her husband, Dennis Olson.
Under the terms of this restraining order, Olson was
prohibited from being within a quarter-mile of
time, Stephanie was living in the marital home and Olson was
living in a trailer on the same property (within a
quarter-mile of the house). When the State Troopers served
Olson with the restraining order, they informed him that he
was required to leave the property - that he would either
have to move the trailer or find another place to live.
left the property without taking anything he needed for the
cold weather. Several hours later, he returned to the trailer
and went to sleep. He was still there when the troopers
returned to the property the next day around noon.
on this episode, Olson was charged with violating the
protective order, AS 11.56.740(a). At trial, Olson defended
by asserting the defense of necessity: he argued that he
needed to return to the trailer to avoid hypothermia or other
injury arising from his exposure to the elements.
jury rejected Olson's necessity defense and convicted him
of violating the protective order.
now appeals, arguing that the fairness of his trial was
prejudiced by one of the trial judge's evidentiary
rulings. At Olson's trial, over the defense
attorney's objection, the trial judge decided to let the
prosecutor introduce a copy of the restraining order. One
section of this order - Section D - showed that the judge who
issued the order did so on the basis that there was probable
cause to believe that Olson had committed several serious
agree with Olson that the trial judge should have redacted
the restraining order to delete these unproved allegations of
criminal conduct. But for the reasons explained in this
opinion, we conclude that this error was harmless under the
facts of Olson's case.
trial judge's decision to let the State introduce
evidence that the judge who issued the restraining order
found probable cause to believe that Olson had committed
other serious crimes
attorney anticipated that the prosecutor would offer the
restraining order into evidence, so (before the beginning of
the State's case) the defense attorney asked the trial
judge to give the jury a redacted version of the restraining
order - a version that did not include the
"Findings" listed on page 2 of the order.
Alaska Court System has designed a form order forjudges to
use when they hear an application for a domestic violence
restraining order. Section D of this form order is labeled
"Findings". Section D offers the judge a series of
check-boxes to use when describing the basis for issuing the
Olson's case, the second half of Section D looked like
2. The court finds probable cause to believe that the
respondent committed, or attempted to commit, the following
crime(s) involving domestic violence against the petitioner:
 assault or reckless endangerment
 harassment (telephonic or electronic)
 terroristic threatening
 violating a protective order
 criminal mischief
 sexual offense
 arson or criminally negligent ...