The Haines Borough Assembly is the latest in a string of governmental bodies that have publicly criticize the Alaska Supreme Court for violating the constitutional rights of citizen grand juries to investigate corruption.

On April 11, the assembly passed a resolution stating that grand juries are “an important, constitutionally provided, feature of the State government with the power to ‘investigate and make recommendations concerning the public welfare or safety.’”

The document comes in response to a December 2022 Alaska Supreme Court order, which altered the official rules governing citizen grand jury rights and their ability to investigate corrupt public officials, including judges. The new rules also limit the ability of citizens to appeal to grand juries for justice, and suggesting that jurors’ investigative authority does not extend to individual court cases or questions about why the Department of Law may have declined to prosecute particular cases.

Haines’ resolution follows on the heel of similar measures passed by the Kenai Borough Assembly, Homer City Council and several community councils. Aside from resolutions, a number of peaceful, grassroots citizen protests have unfolded outside Alaska courthouses across the state, with more planned for April 19 in Anchorage and Juneau.

The Haines document notes that Alaska citizens “have a Constitutional right of free speech,” which “extends to the right of the people to directly approach the grand jury without government interference.” It also emphasizes that grand juries “may be the only way for citizens to bring issues of public welfare or safety to light, when all other efforts have failed or been ignored by the government.”

The resolution affirms that the Haines Assembly will protect and defend both the state and federal constitutions.

“The Haines Borough Assembly is concerned that Order of the Supreme Court of Alaska (#1993) effective December 1, 2022, is unconstitutional and violates the right of the people to approach the Grand Jury directly,” the resolution concludes.

Copies of the document were sent to Gov. Mike Dunleavy, all members of the State Legislature and the council of the Alaska Judicial Council.


— Click here to learn more about protests planned for April 19 outside the Juneau Dimond Courthouse and the Anchorage Nesbett Courthouse. Both events are aimed at protesting the Alaska Supreme Court’s order limiting the rights of citizen grand juries to investigate government misconduct without state interference.

— For more information and documentation about the Alaska Supreme Court’s decision to limit the powers of citizen grand juries, click here .

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Haines Assembly is latest body to denounce Alaska Supreme Court’s violation of grand jury rights

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.