Tribes can make culturally appropriate sentencing recommendations for members of their community with criminal cases in state court resulting in convictions. Alaska Criminal Rule 11(i) and Delinquency Rule 23(f) encourage the use of restorative justice practices in state court proceedings. A tribe’s restorative justice process can be a sentencing circle, or another process of the Tribe’s choosing. In 2023, the presiding judges issued a statewide order which clarifies the restorative justice process. It is open to any Alaska Tribe and does not require a Rule 11 agreement. The restorative justice process requires the consent of the defendant, the prosecutor, and victim.
The restorative justice steps are provided in the order (Statewide Restorative Justice Procedures) issued by the presiding judges and outlined here:
- Tribes can monitor cases involving their community members using CourtView or reviewing the list of criminal cases filed in the previous seven days.
- When a tribe identifies a potential case for restorative justice, it can request a copy of the case documents from the court using ACS form CR‐805. The court will not charge a fee for providing the documents (complaints, citations, and indictments).
- When the Tribe decides to request a referral of a case for the restorative justice process, it notifies the court no later than the date of the final pretrial conference using ACS form CR‐810.
- Post plea or a finding of guilt after trial, the judge may refer the case to the The order for referral must set the state court sentencing date at least 60 days after the plea or finding of guilt after trial.
- The Tribe provides notice of the time and place of the restorative justice process using ACS form CR‐820. The restorative justice process must occur within 45 days of the referral.
- Once the restorative justice process is concluded, the Tribe provides the state court with written sentencing recommendations using ACS form CR‐825. The recommendations must be submitted at least 7 days before the sentencing hearing following a trial, or 5 days before a sentencing hearing following a plea
- The court will consider the recommendations submitted by the Tribe when sentencing the defendant.
If your Tribe has questions or would like further information, please contact the Tribal Justice Support team at the Alaska Native Justice Center at TribalJustice@anjc.net.