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Jeter v. State

Court of Appeals of Alaska

February 17, 2017

DAREN LAMAR JETER, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF ALASKA, Appellee.

         Appeal from the Superior Court Nos. 3AN-11-12939 CR & 3AN-12-1443 CR, Third Judicial District, Anchorage, Michael L. Wolverton, Judge.

          Jim Corrigan, Assistant Public Advocate, Criminal Defense Section, and Richard Allen, Public Advocate, Anchorage, for the Appellant.

          Ann B. Black, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Criminal Appeals, Anchorage, and Craig W. Richards, Attorney General, Juneau, for the Appellee.

          Tracey Wollenberg, Assistant Public Defender, and Quinlan Steiner, Public Defender, Anchorage, for the Alaska Public Defender Agency, appearing as amicus curiae.

          Before: Mannheimer, Chief Judge, Allard, Judge, and Hanley, District Court Judge. [*]

          OPINION

          MANNHEIMER Judge.

         This case involves a defendant who committed a new crime while he was on probation in two previous criminal cases. The defendant ultimately received one sentence in the new criminal case and separate sentences in the probation revocation proceedings held in the earlier criminal cases. The question is whether the defendant may appeal some of these sentences without appealing all of them.

         In our initial opinion in this case, Jeter v. State, unpublished, 2015 WL 2453715 (Alaska App. 2015), we declared that, in these situations, we would not review the defendant's individual sentences in isolation. Id. at *3. Rather, we would review the defendant's total sentence (the direct sentence for the new crime plus the probation revocation sentences) as one combined whole - and that, when we resolved the defendant's sentence appeal, we would assess that combined sentence in light of the entirety of the defendant's conduct and criminal history. Ibid.

         We therefore "caution[ed] the defense bar that, in future cases, we [might] decline to hear sentence appeals if the defense does not provide us with the record of all the pertinent court proceedings." Id. at *2 (emphasis in the original).

         After we issued this initial decision, both the Office of Public Advocacy and the Public Defender Agency asked this Court to reconsider, or at least further clarify, what we said about (1) treating a defendant's direct sentence for a new crime and any related probation revocation sentences as a combined whole, and about (2) declining to consider a defendant's appeal of any of these individual sentences unless the defendant furnished this Court with the pertinent record in all of the related cases.

         We granted rehearing, we allowed the Public Defender Agency to enter this case as an amicus curiae, and we solicited supplemental briefing from the two defense agencies and from the State. Based on our consideration of that supplemental briefing, we now issue this decision amending and clarifying our position on these matters.

         We disavow our earlier suggestion that, when a defendant receives a sentence for a new crime and also receives one or more related probation revocation sentences, these sentences must be evaluated as a unified whole for purposes of sentence review

         This Court has long recognized that when judges sentence defendants for two or more crimes in a single sentencing proceeding, judges "generally do not select particular individual sentences for the defendant's individual crimes. Rather, judges select a composite total, and then they impose individual sentences that add up to that total, often in a fortuitous way." Richards v. State, 249 P.3d 303, 307 (Alaska App. 2011).[1]

         For this reason, when a defendant is sentenced for two or more crimes in a single proceeding, this Court does not allow the defendant to appeal their sentences for individual crimes as if those sentences had been imposed in isolation. Rather, we evaluate the defendant's composite sentence - the combined amount of active and suspended imprisonment ...


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