Washington Law Review




Procter J. Baker was charged with violation of a Fairbanks ordinance for the offense of assault and demanded a trial by jury in the district court. Baker contended that the holding of the United States Supreme Court in Duncan v. Louisiana was dispositive of his case and that he was entitled to a jury trial as a matter of constitutional right, even though the maximum possible punishment was limited to $600 fine or 60 days imprisonment or both. Upon the trial court's denial of his asserted right, Baker petitioned for direct review by the Alaska Supreme Court. The Alaska court declined to rule on the petition on the basis of federal constitutional law, as expressed in Duncan, but reversed the trial court's ruling on the basis of the jury trial guarantee of the Alaska constitution. In applying article I, section 11 of the Alaska constitution, the court held that the accused was guaranteed the right to demand trial by jury in any criminal prosecution which carried the possible penalty of incarceration, the loss of an important license or occupational permit or the social stigma arising from conviction for an offense commonly regarded by the community as criminal. Baker v. City of Fairbanks, 471 P.2d 386 (Alas. 1970).

First Page