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Thursday, October 19, 2017
HomeBriefsHawkins on governor’s banishment decision: Too many questions unanswered

Hawkins on governor’s banishment decision: Too many questions unanswered

Scott Hawkins, candidate for governor of Alaska, has raised questions about Gov. Bill Walker’s decision to keep the State out of tribal criminal justice proceedings that involve the punishment of “banishment.”

“Like many Alaskans, I am concerned about law and justice, so I find it a bit mystifying and extraordinary that the Attorney General of the State of Alaska would walk away from important criminal justice issues and, specifically, her duty to protect rural Alaskans,” he wrote.

While tribal banishment may have a place in a rural criminal justice system, Gov. Walker and Attorney General Lindemuth have not put any definition around it, Hawkins said, and cited examples of where sideboards need to be placed in this new State policy:

  • Which communities will be allowed to administer tribal justice, including banishment? Could any community institute it?
  • How will decisions be made about which communities can and cannot?
  • Beyond banishment, how about imprisonment? Cruel and unusual punishment?
  • What are the requirements for due process? Are there any?
  • What will happen when justice is administered by a tribe and it leads to an Alaskan’s death due to lack of training and oversight?

“There are just too many unanswered questions for the Walker Administration to have washed its hands of the tribal justice issue so completely and so early, without defining a coherent policy.

“At the very least, Gov. Walker needs to clarify the parameters of his new ‘rural justice policy.’ Alaskans need to know in advance which communities they may travel to and still have their rights protected by the U.S. and Alaska Constitutions.”

Hawkins, a business entrepreneur and well-known figure in Alaska politics, filed a letter of intent to run for governor in September.

Quote of the Week: Attorney General gives thumbs up to banishment

(Disclosure: Hawkins writes an occasional column on this site and his nonprofit, Alaska Wins, is an advertiser).

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • I rather like this banishment idea. Maybe we could start banishing bad actors in Anchorage and Mat Su to remote areas without road access. That would cut down on housing criminals and on our recidivism rate.

  • While I applaud Mr. Hawkins’ concern, the point is tribal sovereignty over their lands – and jurisdiction over who can be there. Scott Hawkins needs to understand Native culture and issues before he speaks on these topics. Banishment removes the perp’s identity – a very severe punishment.

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