Limitation on Proceedings – The Magistrate Violated the Law
Westley said, now that he finally understands the law on this issue, it’s stunning to realize what the Delian magistrate really did. Part of the reason it took so long to understand is because he had an attorney all the while this was happening so he didn’t feel the need to research it. But all along, his intuition was telling him that something is very wrong with the scenario. He really didn’t think it was this blatant. He should have listened to his intuition sooner. It’s still hard to believe that things went so far astray of the law and no one stopped the magistrate. The District Court Judge presumably had the authority to have stopped it. Westley remembers discussing with his attorney that the magistrate was way out of bounds with this. The attorney said he would get Westley’s ass out of the ringer, but that’s as far as he would go. Now, Westley’s attorney is a superior court judge. He knew how to preserve his career path.
Alaska Statute 22.15.120 sets limitations on proceedings which magistrates may hear.
A magistrate shall preside only in cases and proceedings:
To give judgment of conviction upon a plea of guilty or no contest by the defendant in a criminal proceeding within the jurisdiction of the district court;
To hear, try, and enter judgments in all cases involving misdemeanors that are not minor offenses if the defendant consents in writing that the magistrate may try the case. In this section, “minor offense” means a statutory offense for which a conviction cannot result in incarceration, a fine greater than $300, or the loss of a valuable license.
After the District Court dismissed the criminal charges “without prejudice”, the Delian Magistrate held a hearing for long term protection petition filed by Narsiss “to hear, try and enter judgment” the case involving charges of fourth degree assault, class A misdemeanor, which is not defined as a minor offenses. The defendant did not consent in writing that the magistrate may try the case. The statutory offense of the accused, if found guilty, may result by statute in incarceration and or a fine greater than $300.
Clearly, Alaska Statute precludes the actions of the magistrate. The Delian Magistrate Violated the Law with Impunity.
Relevant Law Quotations in Support of the Conclusion:
Alaska Statute 22.15.120. Limitations On Proceedings Which Magistrate May Hear.
(a) A magistrate shall preside only in cases and proceedings under AS 22.15.040, 22.15.100, and 22.15.110, and as follows:
(5) to give judgment of conviction upon a plea of guilty or no contest by the defendant in a criminal proceeding within the jurisdiction of the district court;
(6) to hear, try, and enter judgments in all cases involving misdemeanors that are not minor offenses if the defendant consents in writing that the magistrate may try the case;
(c) In this section, “minor offense” means
(3) a statutory offense for which a conviction cannot result in incarceration, a fine greater than $300, or the loss of a valuable license.
Chapter 41. Offenses Against the Person
Section 230. Assault in the Fourth Degree.
Alaska Statute 11.41.230. Assault in the Fourth Degree.
(a) A person commits the crime of assault in the fourth degree if
(3) by words or other conduct that person recklessly places another person in fear of imminent physical injury.
(b) Assault in the fourth degree is a class A misdemeanor.
A class A misdemeanor in Alaska is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. (Alaska Stat. §§ 12.55.035, 12.55.135.)
Alaska Statute 12.55.135. Sentences of Imprisonment For Misdemeanors.
(a) A defendant convicted of a class A misdemeanor may be sentenced to a definite term of imprisonment of not more than one year
Alaska Statute 12.55.035. Fines
(a) Upon conviction of an offense, a defendant may be sentenced to pay a fine as authorized in this section or as otherwise authorized by law.
(5) $10,000 for a class A misdemeanor;
Alaska Statute 11.81.250. Classification of Offenses.
(a) For purposes of sentencing the offenses in this title are classified into the following categories:
(4) class A misdemeanors, which characteristically involve less severe violence against a person, less serious offenses against property interests, less serious offenses against public administration or order, or less serious offenses against public health and decency than felonies;
Source: Alaska Court System Web Page.
“Magistrate judges are judicial officers of the District Court whose authority is more limited than the authority of a District Court judge. They preside over certain types of cases in areas of the state where services of a full-time District Court judge are not required. Some magistrate judges serve more than one court location. Magistrate judges also serve in metropolitan areas to handle routine matters and ease the workload of the District Court judges. A magistrate judge is not required to be a lawyer.”