Petition for Review from the Superior Court No. 3PA-10-273
CR, First Judicial District, Juneau, Amy Mead, Judge.
J. Woolfstead, Assistant District Attorney, Juneau, and Jahna
Lindemuth, Attorney General, Juneau, for the Petitioner.
Singh JJI, Assistant Public Defender, Juneau, and Quinlan
Steiner, Public Defender, Anchorage, for the Respondent.
Before: Mannheimer, Chief Judge, and Allard and Wollenberg,
State of Alaska has petitioned us to clarify the provisions
of newly amended AS 12.55.110 - the statute that governs a
court's sentencing authority over defendants who receive
a wholly or partially suspended sentence and are placed on
probation, if the court later finds that the defendant
violated their probation.
2016, the legislature amended this statute, placing new
limits on the amount of suspended jail time that a court can
impose when the court revokes a defendant's probation.
See SLA 2016, ch. 36, § 84 (effective January
the new version of AS 12.55.110, some violations of probation
are now classified as "technical violations". This
term, which is defined in subsection (h)(2) of the statute,
refers to any violation of probation that neither constitutes
a new criminal offense nor a failure to complete treatment
for sex offenders or batterers.
(c) and (d) of AS 12.55.110 now limit a court's
sentencing authority in instances where a defendant has
committed only a technical violation of probation. These two
provisions of the statute draw a distinction between (1)
technical violations of probation that qualify as
"absconding" and (2) all other technical violations
placed the word "absconding" in quotation marks
because subsection (h)(1) of AS 12.55.110 defines this word
in a non-standard way. As defined in subsection (h)(1), a
probationer "absconds" if the probationer fails to
report to a probation officer within five working days after
their release from custody upon their completion of an active
term of imprisonment, or if the probationer fails to
attend a scheduled meeting with a probation officer and then
fails to make contact with the probation officer within 30
days following the missed meeting.
(d) of AS 12.55.110 declares that if the defendant's
technical violation of probation is an act of
"absconding", then the court may not impose more
than 30 days of the defendant's suspended jail time.
(c) of AS 12.55.110 declares that court's sentencing
authority is even more circumscribed if the defendant's
probation is revoked for a technical violation that does not
include "absconding". For these less serious
technical violations, the sentencing court can impose no more
(1) three days' imprisonment for a first probation
(2) five days' imprisonment for the second probation