Application for Relief from the Superior Court Trial Court
No. 4SM-16-002 DL, Fourth Judicial District, Bethel, Dwayne
W. McConnell, Judge.
R. Taylor, Assistant Public Defender, and Quinlan Steiner,
Public Defender, Anchorage, for the Petitioner.
Jeffrey W. Robinson, Ashburn & Mason, P.C., Anchorage,
for the Respondent.
A. Wilkinson, Assistant Attorney General, Fairbanks, and
Jahna Lindemuth, Attorney General, Juneau, for the Alaska
Division of Juvenile Justice (intervenor).
Before: Mannheimer, Chief Judge, and Suddock, Superior Court
case arises out of juvenile delinquency proceedings against
J.B., a minor who lives in the village of Marshall.
J.B.'s family is indigent, and J.B. is represented by the
Public Defender Agency.
has invoked his right to trial and, under the venue rules,
J.B.'s trial is to be held in Bethel. But J.B.'s
family has no funds to transport him to Bethel. Moreover,
because of J.B.'s youth, his parents take the position
that one of them must accompany J.B. to Bethel.
superior court has ordered the Public Defender Agency to pay
for this travel expense. Quoting the language of AS
18.85.100(a)(2), the superior court reasoned that this
transportation expense was one of the "necessary
services and facilities of [the Agency's]
representation" of J.B.
Public Defender Agency now petitions this Court to review and
reverse the superior court's order. The Agency takes the
position that the transportation expense should be borne
either by the Division of Juvenile Justice (i.e.,
the government entity that is prosecuting J.B.) or,
alternatively, by the Court System.
the Alaska Court System and the Alaska Division of Juvenile
Justice are actively participating in this litigation; they
ask this Court to uphold the superior court's ruling.
parties are in essential agreement that some
government entity should pay to transport an indigent minor
(and, when necessary, a parent or guardian) to the site of
the minor's trial. The problem is to identify which
government entity that should be.
Division of Juvenile Justice concedes that they should pay
the expense of transporting a minor who is in custody. But
with regard to minors who are released from custody pending
trial (such as the minor in this case), the Division of
Juvenile Justice argues that the expense of transportation
should be borne by the legal agency that is representing the
minor (i.e., the Public Defender Agency or the
Office of Public Advocacy), just as the agency would bear
other necessary expenses of the representation such as the
transportation of needed witnesses.
Division of Juvenile Justice bases its argument on the Public
Defender Agency's authorizing statute, AS 18.85.100.
Subsection (a) of this statute declares that indigent
defendants in criminal ...