David Ignell: Fight for judicial reform and elimination of Democrat cartel controlling our courts, Round 2



Many of us fighting for judicial reform in Alaska were disappointed by the result of the constitutional convention vote (Ballot Measure 1). Our efforts didn’t go to waste. We established some very important truths to build on.

The political bias of our judicial council system was exposed. Older Supreme Court rulings that defied our Constitution were brought back into focus. Numerous voters throughout the state expressed their disgust with our rogue judges.

We traced a whopping $4.4 million opposing judicial reform back to leftist organizations in Washington, D.C. We heard the hypocrisy of this dark money, scaring us into a “No” vote by the fear of …. dark money. We recognized the need to become better organized.

We learned the “bipartisan support” touted by Defend Our Constitution is very fragile. Questions asked of some entities regarding the appropriateness of their endorsement of Defend Our Constitution went answered. We drew our opposition into the spotlight of truth and now they have nowhere to hide.

Our next opportunity for judicial reform is to push for a constitutional amendment originating in the Legislature this winter. We will be most effective mobilizing now.

A critical truth was revealed to the public on Oct. 29 by former Lt. Gov. Loren Leman during a constitutional convention debate hosted by Alaska Public Media. Leman focused our attention on a candid admission said to him over 30 years ago by a Democrat leader in the State House – that the Democrat Party will always control Alaska’s courts because of the way we select judges.

Another important truth was revealed to the public on Oct. 27 by former Sen. John Coghill, one of the Defend Our Constitution co-chairs, during his debate with Bob Bird on the Talk of the Kenai radio show.

In response to Bird’s assertion that the Alaska Judicial Council is damaging justice, Coghill admitted “it is true”, adding it is “too much like a cartel.” His labeling the council a “cartel” was no accidental slip of the tongue. Coghill not only repeated the word, but he concluded by saying if the Alaska people want to change the way we select judges, he’s with us.

These truths should outrage every Alaskan legislator, whether Republican, Democrat, or independent. A cornerstone of any healthy democracy is a judiciary free from political persuasion. Judges are required to rule on the law and the facts before them, nothing else. They are required to suppress their own political views to uphold the law. There’s no room for any reasonable debate on this issue.

The American College of Trial Lawyers puts it like this: “The concept of judicial independence, that judges should decide cases, faithful to the law, without ‘fear or favor’ and free from political or external pressures, remains one of the fundamental cornerstones of our political and legal systems, both federal and state.”

The fact we have a cartel controlled by the Democrat Party running our judiciary should offend every Alaskan who believes in democracy.

Every legislator associated with the Democrat Party should be thoroughly embarrassed. They should make it their top priority to cooperate with their Republican and Independent colleagues to rid ourselves of this partisan judiciary holding themselves above our Constitution.

Alaskan citizens should accept nothing short of the following results in the first few months of the upcoming legislative session, by unanimous vote:

  1. 1)  Per Article XIII, Section 1, a proposed constitutional amendment to change our system of selecting judges, which is then brought to the people for ratification at the next general election;
  2. 2)  Per Article IV, Section 15, changes to court rules necessary to unwind the damage done by our partisan judiciary for the last 35 years, starting with their outrageous decision to suppress grand jury reports through unconstitutional Criminal Rule 6.1; and
  3. 3)  Making reparations to citizens harmed by this partisan political parade, starting with Thomas Jack, Jr. of Hoonah, an innocent person who has been incarcerated the last 12 years because of judicial shenanigans.

In the coming weeks, we can better inform voters and legislators by further exposing judicial lawlessness. Batting first is Bess v. Ulmer, a horribly flawed decision in 1999 by our non-elected, partisan Supreme Court judges who elevated themselves above the law. They shredded the intent of our founders and illegally prevented our elected Legislature from proposing Constitutional amendments to the people.

Batting second is Supreme Court Order 938 adopting Criminal Rule 6.1 to suppress grand jury reports detailing government misconduct, and their subsequent holding in O’Leary v. Superior Court. Batting third is our judiciary’s blessing of multiple violations of the Constitution and ethical rules in Thomas Jack’s wrongful conviction.

Let’s get to work ridding ourselves of our partisan Alaska Judicial Council and their outlaw judges. Let’s organize to restore a healthy democracy and compel our legislators to act appropriately.

David Ignell is a forensic journalist, at www.poweredbyjustice.com, where he promotes public advocacy and justice for all Alaskans.

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  1. Good luck but it will never happen. Those in power will not let go and the voters are not well informed about the truth.

    • Anyone would believe your statement without the fact that people can be & often do get wrongly prosecuted with false statements & lack of evidence or evidence withheld from Grand Juries … Can’t you remember the case of Ted Stevens! Do your own investigation then I will believe your knee jerk statement.

  2. Way to say it, the way it is David Bless your truth statements. Nothing but truthful justice guarantees freedom! Let’s unite Alaskans behind our founding fathers wisdom & the Lady of Justice blinded but in balance, God save this Republic !!!!

  3. Keep your scope small – start with #1 only. I was there, Gandalf, when we tried marijuana decriminalization decades ago and bundled in the amnesty piece, it sunk the whole initiative, which got like 46% of the vote and likely would have crossed 50 if that damn clause had been left out. People have a hard time when you start talking about letting people out of prison – there’s very little context or knowledge to evaluate those actions. So I say avoid that like the plague and keep #2 away for first round too. Focus on #1, and we might actually get some change.

  4. Ignell… seriously? Is your ice cream cone short a scoop?
    Damn, son, you make a great case for something, we’re just not sure for what.
    Might be helpful, getting back to us with something a wee bit more specific.

  5. Thought exercise… what if the scenario was completely opposite of the case you make in your opinion? What would the folks be complaining about and for what reasons? Are they voting laws to retain their grip? Are there freebies provided as incentives to vote a certain way?

    • So can I presume from that comment of yours, Frankly Rancid, that you are trying to deny the existence of the radical leftist extremist phenomenon of “woke”?
      The radical leftist penchant for egregious lying, and denial of reality, is always fascinating to me.

    • Frank,
      Sorry to burst your bubble but I know David Ignell very well and I can tell you David is a classical liberal and not a ” right winger”. ?
      Might you try pulling off those leftist blinders , but for a moment?

  6. Doug S and Frank Rast: Six years ago Suzanne published a brief by Julie Willoughby of Juneau, in which Julie wrote, “fear and revulsion stalk the legislative halls when the word ‘sex’ or ‘sex offender’ is mentioned”. I understand your reaction.

    The Government advances its tyranny within this fear, woe to those who speak up. Both Julie and another woman from Juneau, Cathy Munoz saw their public careers destroyed by this. One liberal, one conservative, both intelligent and of excellent character who cared about freedom. It didn’t matter because the tyranny is so powerful.

    Before commenting on Mr. Jack’s conviction, I urge you and everyone else to consider these points:
    1) The law presumes we are innocent until found guilty by a jury of our peers. When an Alaska Native from a village is judged by 24 non-Native jurors from a city, those juries aren’t of his peers. See the 1971 Alvarado case for further discussion of this important issue. Today, Thomas Jack still retains his presumption of innocence.
    2) Juries make mistakes, for more information go to the National Registry of Exonerations website. 3) If you’re interested in learning the truth behind Mr. Jack’s wrongful conviction, go to my website and read my condensed, non-confidential report. You’ll learn about the three documented confessions by his accuser to the OCS, a school teacher, and a close friend that nothing happened. You’ll learn how those confessions were suppressed by prosecutors and not investigated. You’ll learn how Mr. Jack was convicted when the judge forced a new State-appointed attorney, completely unprepared, to represent him at his second trial. Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4 labels the resulting trial a perversion of justice.

    What the State did to Mr. Jack and his family is an outrage. It’s a textbook case of tyranny. The judiciary ignored important rights under the Constitution. There’s substantial evidence the OCS knew why Mr. Jack’s accuser threw him under the bus and benefited in doing the same. There’s ample evidence the judge was motivated to allow the lie to continue. These are some of the issues I’ve asked a Juneau grand jury to investigate with their subpoena power.

    Someday you may wake up and find yourself falsely accused. You may find yourself hoping our judiciary follows the Constitution. But they won’t unless we change the way things are done.

  7. Judges are retained or not by the vote of the people. If you believe a particular judge is failing, then communicate that to the voters in the district and make your case.

    • Randi , to much political influence is clouding good reason & justice , waiting for politicians or ten years to go by is unexceptable ! Are you aware that there are many incarcerated today that have waited over three years to even get a trial… is that justice? Please educate yourself with today’s politics locally , & give me a reasonable assessment of ” time frames ” to get anything done !

  8. Randi Sweet. It is true Alaskans vote to retain or not retain judges. I suspect the point David Ignell is presenting is that a vote to repeal is worthless if the replacement judge is appointed by the judicial system, not the people. Imagine if the American President was selected by congress and citizens only had the right to vote on retaining them or not. I suspect those empowered to choose leadership would select someone to serve their own interests. Likely, the will of the people would be lost.

    In regard to Mr. Jack’s case. I recommend people learn more about it by visiting:


    The 14 pages will provide you with a summary of the case. After reading the summary I encourage everyone to share their perspectives on the evidence. Expressing an opinion on this case prior to knowing the fundamental events and individuals involved would be as valuable as a movie critic that did not see the movie.

  9. I’m not sure conflating a personal quest to right a possible wrong for a guy who lived in the same village that you do with a serious statewide constitutional issue is the right way to fight for judicial reform.

    I’d ask a simple question, why. Why would the state simply decide to imprison this man, simply because he’s a Native Alaskan? If we are to believe that the judiciary is wholly owned by the Democratic Party, why would they imprison one of the people that so routinely support their party? Isn’t the Democrat Party supposed to be the political party that supports minorities, why would they devise a judicial system that is so racist that it would send an innocent minority Native American man to prison for life?

    It’s unfortunate that we aren’t talking about actual judicial reform, when reform is needed, but instead we are talking about an individual case that has no chance of impacting the wholesale changes that are required.

  10. Unless I’m wrong, I believe Coghill advocates against constitutional conventions.
    I do hope your innocent friend is exonerated.

  11. Smmooooth: I spoke with Coghill in October before he went on Bob Bird’s show and his advocacy against the ConCon was not on solid ground. It showed during the debate and he’s with us on a Constitutional Amendment.
    Steve O: Why conflate the Jack case with a Constitutional amendment? Because the Jack case provides provable facts how our judiciary puts politics before the Constitution. All the way up the line to the Supreme Court.
    Why would the State imprison this man? Because individual officials perceived him as an easy “win” from a village to pad their career stats and receive promotions. Which is exactly what happened.
    As for the Democrat Party, the Jack case shows how their politicians say one thing but do another. Starting with Biden and continuing with my AK Senator, Jesse Kiehl. I gave them the facts and tried to get them to take an interest but they did absolutely nothing. They should change their name to the Pretense Party.

    • David,

      So they sent an innocent man to prison for life just because they can and to pad their stats? Those aren’t political reasons, that’s just severe douchebaggery. I haven’t read all the history on this, but I did read your 14 page summation. I don’t know if this convicted sex offender is guilty or innocent, but the part that stands out to me in your summation is where he opens the shower curtain on a 12 year old girl for no reason…this is an example of what is used in your defense of him. That’s not good man, not good at all.

      Once again I say. It’s unfortunate that we aren’t talking about actual judicial reform, when reform is needed, but instead we are talking about an individual case that has no chance of impacting the wholesale changes that are required. Perhaps instead of trying to conflate judicial reform and a convicted sex offender you should choose one or the other?

      • Steve-O
        Frankly I do not understand your disconnect between a man wrongly accused, not given a fair Trial judged by a jury of his peers and Ignell’s call for Judicial Reform.
        The one is a direct result of the other in this case.

        Oh, and despite the shower curtain thing, where is the evidence of a crime having been committed? Uh huh. Didn’t think there was any. But hey, he lived in Hoonah and the Guv had his ” Choose Respect” campaign theme… can you say Railroaded?

      • Steve-O: Your post helps explain why Mr. Jack’s wrongful conviction belongs in the conversation of judicial reform, particularly when discussing viable solutions.

        Using short-cuts to selectively filter evidence to build a case is known in the legal community as “tunnel-vision”. For instance, you read that Mr. Jack acted to prevent his foster daughter from getting scalded, but then asserted his action was “for no reason”. You read Mr. Jack expressed significant regret for his mistake during a morning’s rush to get ready for work, but yet you concluded he’s a bad man. To that end you disregarded the very positive views of him by the social worker, local law enforcement, and village elders, as well as the positive difference he and his wife made in the lives of two young girls with a difficult past.

        It’s essential we select judges who will always rise above any tunnel vision or bias in a case to protect our Constitutional rights and ensure fair investigations and trials. State officials acted egregiously towards Mr. Jack and his wife, but that bothered none of Alaska’s eight appellate judges. What can be more important than correcting the government tyranny that suppressed Truth along the road to a 50 year prison sentence?

        Mr. Jack’s case provides important insight into how our Bill of Rights was compromised during an election year while the judge’s retention review was underway. Extremely credible and knowledgeable sources have told me the type of tyranny evidenced here is not unusual in Alaska. Any Constitutional amendment will need to consider these facts for Justice to have a chance.

      • Robert and David,

        I understand and appreciate that you both believe in the innocence of your friend, I don’t know if he’s innocent or not. While we are spending time in the rabbit hole you’ve dug and wish to remain in, I simply suggest that using a convicted child molester to try and garner public support is not a wise decision, especially if you are going to brush aside or minimize his opening a shower curtain on a naked 12 year old girl. The thing about a shower curtain is that you can speak through it and it does not need to be opened on a naked 12 year old girl by a grown man who is supposed to be responsible for her care. There was no reason to open it, well no good reason.

        Neither of you have provided anything closely resembling a political hit in this case, you’ve claimed racism, stat padding, and an easy win. While you’ve brought questions regarding this case to the forefront here, you’ve done little to forward the cause of much needed judicial reform.

        • Steve-O: What you view as a “rabbit hole” is critical to any meaningful judicial reform in Alaska. If necessary, I’ll spend all day, next month, next year, and the next decade, focused on this issue.

          Justice has no use for any ‘political allies’ who think it’s ok for our judiciary to overlook multiple violations of the Alaska Constitution and Rules of Professional Conduct in railroading a man to 50 years in prison who made the mistake of opening up a shower curtain to warn his foster daughter from getting scalded.

          Before you further belittle the race issues inherent in Mr. Jack’s wrongful conviction, I suggest you read Racism’s Frontier, the 2002 Report by the Alaska Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The 67 page report is posted on my website, pages 41-42 specifically discuss the criminal justice system.

          • David, Thank you for your dedication for the past 3+ years trying to bring justice for my brother Thomas Jack Jr. I hope each individual commenting on the wrongful conviction of Thomas will remember that he is a living being. He is my baby brother, my Mother’s only son. Now being referred to as a “stat, or by his prison number.

            The arguments including “stat padding” are not just “stats”. The numbers are comprised of individual human beings who seem to be blithely dismissed by our fellow Alaskan neighbors. My brother’s case is only one example of the thousands of natives within Alaska justice system, who were sucked up and spit out into a prison cell. Over 40% of individuals incarcerated in Alaska are Alaska Native, yet we only comprise 15.7% of the Alaska population per the 2020 census. As a native growing up in Hoonah back in the 70’s and 80’s the racism was overt, now a-days it plays a more subtle role– such as in the courtroom, but it has not just disappeared. Justice should be color blind, but it is not. The statistics do not lie. The system is failing many and innocent people are spending years incarcerated because of a broken system.

            Thomas’ only “crime” was being unsophisticated and trusting in the goodness of others; and a fair and just court system. Lastly, the citizens of this great state, no matter color or political affiliation deserve and must demand Judges who are truly color blind. Judges should have no opportunity to “use” citizens as a means to promote professional or political opportunities.

            How is this accomplished? I believe this can be achieved if we approach this important issue of judicial reform with an open and honest dialog. The only agenda must be striving for equal justice for all. The goal of the judicial system should not be “winning” but rather what is right and what is true. Let us not forget our founding fathers– specifically Benjamin Franklin– who stated that it is better to have 10 guilty persons go free than one innocent person suffer wrongful incarceration.

          • David,

            I wish you the best in your quest, your passion is palpable. However, sometimes being too passionate is off-putting for some. Best of luck to you and your friend.

  12. Hey! We lost a lot of opportunity to change some of our outdated state constitution when we voted against a constitutional convention. Leaders and lobbyists put out a lot of weak, misleading info out and it worked. My friend Dave is suggesting ways that we can change government, including the judicial system, with some non knee jerk voting. He is using Tom Jack Jr. (also a friend of mine) as a passionate example of how wrong the judicial system can be and what we can possibly due to correct it. God allows bad leadership to wake us up and we have some bad leaders that don’t represent us right now.

  13. I’m sorry to broadcast this simple truth, but John Coghill really is an idiot. He agrees that the Judicial Council is run like a corrupt cartel but opposes a Constitutional Convention, which would address and fix the problem. It’s a little like saying that he thinks there are too many convicts in prison doing time, so let’s let them out early so they can re-offend the public and keep the criminal justice system alive. Only abject idiots opine such beliefs without thinking through the consequences. Little wonder Coghill no longer represents my district.

  14. Steve-O: Thank you for your sentiments. I’ve appreciated you taking the time these past few days to share your thoughts. Our exchange has helped shine the spotlight on disturbing truths in our state that need to be resolved.

    I completely understand your concerns. For 3+ years I’ve experienced the “fear and revulsion” that puts so many off. Those reactions have forced me to find other ways resulting in my book on the grand jury, my advocacy for a ConCon, and now for a Constitutional Amendment. Justice is my guide and its emphasis in the Old Testament is my inspiration.

    I wish you, your loved ones, and everyone else who has participated in these comments a very Happy Thanksgiving!

  15. Looking on nakedness is a sin.
    Which continent are we on? Are you sure?
    The American nation’s ideology declaration is Christian. However, this fact of recorded written history is refuted grandiosly by the left. They choose what facts exist and which don’t exist. The ideology of Spanish speaking nations is often catholic. A tenet of catholicism is “Mariology” the veneration of the virgin female in honor of Jesus’ mother in some cultures. People raised in this array of beliefs have created the quinciera which is heralded and becomes a huge female cult(ural)celebration. If you are a hispanic 15 year old girl how important do you feel and when does that “wear off”? Contrast that with an African tribal girl who may have a first child before 15 years of age and be highly regarded because she is able to produce children and strengthen the tribe. Ideologies matter. It is unbelievable that God deniers have instituted their own made up ideology of no-God and yet self importantly elevated their own personal view (at the time) as “the law” for everyone else. In some southern hemispheres nakedness and near nakedness are not so loaded an issue. Rio de Janiero for instance. One may not wish to be hampered by so much as a cloth. But here, in sunny Alaska, a man MUST spend his entire adult native life imprisoned by white judeo lawyers for accidently seeing someone unclothed. Strange.

  16. I wonder if the victim grew up? Or if she stopped growing. Did she never fall in love with anyone ever? How cruel. Was she unable to bake, or pick berries, or never have another friend ever in her life? Was she unable to enjoy expression of style in clothing choices? Did she never attend a picnic again? How awful! Did she listen to music never again? All because someone saw her! It is so surprising to me that Alaska so highly unregulates viewing others. Please do not ever look at me I might cry or something. Alaskans cannot be practical. You know that. Look around you at all your hot house tomato neighbors for instance. So pitiful.

  17. Who was Bathsheba? Some guy looked at her when she was bathing. Is that right? ALASKA the shining north star ? would have put him in jail for the rest of his natural life. Oh, how sanctimonious ‘laskan men are. Just peaches, each and every one of thum. Btw, I’m really G. Galatian.. Just trying out a new “name”. Because I want the word “kayak” to be pronounced correctly…Guy AK.

  18. David Ignell Thank you for giving me Hope that I will have My son come home to his family. Where he belongs.

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