Alaska’s governor, the U.S. Supreme Court and the U,S.
Justice Department are weighing whether to throw out the entire state’s criminal justice system after a federal judge ruled it unconstitutional last week.
The state has been on a legal high after a three-judge panel on the 4th U.A.C.C., an independent federal appeals court in Seattle, rejected the state’s constitutional claim that the system violated the federal Constitution by allowing state and local prosecutors to bypass judicial oversight and run afoul of the Constitution.
The federal court found the system unconstitutional on a procedural count, finding the system was unconstitutional because it allowed prosecutors to issue arrest warrants for people without warrants, without first having to make a determination of probable cause and without prior judicial approval.
The court found that the Alaska Department of Corrections, in issuing the arrest warrants, violated the Constitution because the department did not seek approval from a judge before issuing them.
Alaska Attorney General Scott Pruitt said in a statement that the decision will allow the Legislature to address the “unconstitutional nature of the arrest warrant system” and put “constitutional limits” on prosecutors and judges.
The Alaska Court of Appeals will now review the decision and decide whether to hear the state in its appeal to the 4EUC.