Allegations of systemic corruption committed by state officials has captured the attention of gubernatorial candidate and current House Representative Christopher Kurka, who released a statement last week saying he believes the rights and duties of individual grand jurors must never be infringed. “They must be held sacrosanct.”

Protesters gather outside the Kenai Courthouse last month to advocate for the right of state grand juries.

Over the past couple of weeks, a group of more than 60 protesters has gathered outside the Kenai Courthouse to protest the inability of state grand juries to investigate corrupt judges and officials – including Deputy Attorney General John Skidmore – who demonstrators say are unconstitutionally blocking a Kenai grand jury investigation into crimes by public officials.

According to protesters, this is the fifth grand jury in the past few years that tried to investigate evidence that Alaska’s only judge investigator for the past 33 years – Executive Director of the Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct Marla Greenstein – is falsifying official investigations, and thereby allowing corrupt judges to remain on the bench.

“The allegations raised by protesters on the Kenai Peninsula are very serious,” Kurka said. “It is imperative that the governor conduct a thorough investigation and follow the findings wherever they lead. Alaskans must have full confidence in their legal process, and if public officials are proved to have engaged in misconduct, they must pay the price.”

Kurka noted that Gov. Mike Dunleavy has reportedly been informed of the alleged grievances and has been asked to investigate Deputy Attorney General John Skidmore for recent jury tampering, to apologize for Skidmore’s actions against currently seated Kenai Grand Jurors, and to let jurors know they should proceed with their constitutionally and legally defined duties without further interference.  

“Today I join the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly, the Homer City Council, the Nikiski Community Council, and Funny River Community Association, and protestors at the Kenai District Courthouse, in voicing my support for the claims and demands of a lawful Grand Jury process,” Kurka said. “The survival of our great republic requires the equal and unwavering observance and application of the Rule of Law. There is no room in our system of law and governance for special classes, individuals, or interests, to exempt themselves from this rule.”

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Rep. Kurka backs effort to restore constitutional rights of Alaska grand juries

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.