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Old 03-28-2017, 01:38 PM
4,054 posts, read 7,384,117 times
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As a non-Alaskan I wonder how jury duty works in rural/Bush Alaska.

In Texas (I am from that state) one may serve jury duty in municipal, county, and/or federal court but county is the most common. However in Bush Alaska, as far as I know:
  • Much of the state is Unorganized Borough, and in those areas there is no borough (county-equivalent) government
  • Even in places with borough government one may have to fly on a plane to reach the borough seat
  • In many small Alaskan communities hardly any serious crime occurs

Are Alaska Bush/rural Alaska residents expected to do jury duty? If so, do they have to make a plane flight to the nearest large city/borough seat to do it? Can they participate through video camera in a city/municipal office building? In the unorganized borough, where do criminal trials occur, and are they administered by the state government?

For federal trials what do residents do?
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Old 03-28-2017, 06:08 PM
Location: Naptowne, Alaska
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As far as I know...if you live farther than 25 miles from the nearest courthouse...you don't do jury duty. And serious crimes do occur in the small as well as larger communities.
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Old 03-28-2017, 08:00 PM
Location: The Woods
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I'm surprised no one in those bush communities have claimed a violation of being tried by a jury of their peers.
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Old 03-28-2017, 08:09 PM
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It seems the serious crimes end up being tried elsewhere.
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Old 03-28-2017, 09:03 PM
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Sounds like there's some places in Alaska where it's still the Old West. I always thought there might be quite a few people from the Lower 48 who went to Alaska to hide out. Some are outlaws and some are there, for whatever reason, they seriously don't want to be found. I bet quite a few have changed their names. Is that an accurate perception of some places in Alaska? Is there a higher percentage of people in Alaska who fit that description than there are in the other states? Ive always had that perception of Alaska since I was a kid and I'm 62 now, but I never seen any evidence to back it up. I would just think about what I would do If I was on the run, and I seriously didn't want to be found. I know that anyody who knows me would never think of looking for me in Alaska. They would look for me in Mexico before they would look for me in Alaska, and I don't even speak Spanish, except for a few necessary words and phrases. So, it does make sense to me why somebody would go to Alaska to hide out.

Last edited by Ivory Lee Spurlock; 03-28-2017 at 09:13 PM..
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Old 03-28-2017, 09:10 PM
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We are responsible for being in jury duty. Doesn't matter how far you live. If you get a pfd, you can be summoned.

In our previous location, you'd fly into the hub of Aniak or you'd participate via teleconference. Teachers generally were excused because of backlash.

Where we are now, you get summoned for 3 months at a time. Until you are selected or excused. All surrounding villages have members flown in. You get a whopping $25 a day.
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Old 03-28-2017, 09:27 PM
Location: Back and Beyond
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I just say the right things and they never seem to use me . Supposedly they only want fair and non biased jurors. Works every time.
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Old 03-28-2017, 10:05 PM
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No one stands out more in Alaska than someone who's trying to hide.

EA though yeah, I think a lot of people think Alaska's a good place to try and disappear.

Last edited by Metlakatla; 03-28-2017 at 11:21 PM..
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Old 03-28-2017, 11:10 PM
Location: Airports all over the world
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Back in the 80's when my dad worked in the bush he got a jury summons for grand jury duty in Anchorage. He was told the court would pay his way into Anchorage and put him up in a hotel. When he pointed out that it was a waste of taxpayer money he was told he had the right to serve on a jury. If he was selected he would be flying into Anchorage on Monday and back out to the bush on Friday every week for however long. So off he went. He showed up for jury duty and was promptly excused because he lived in the bush.
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Old 03-28-2017, 11:16 PM
Location: Wasilla, AK
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I used to live on Afognak Island. I got called up for Jury Duty in Kodiak. Every week for a month they were going to charter a plane to fly me into town on a Thursday ($300), put me up in a hotel for two night ($300) and pay me a $50 a day stipend and then fly me back home on Saturday. Oh and cover taxi fares. I first tried to get out of based on the ridiculous cost and they told me that wasn't a valid excuse. I got my employer to write a letter saying I was essential to production and there was no suitable replacements to cover me not being there and they let me go on that.
I also had a friend more recently who's mom lived in Southeast Alaska. They were flying her up to Anchorage twice a month for three months for federal grand jury and paying hotels, cabs, food, etc.
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