Why did judge drop charges against former acting Attorney General Sniffen?


An Anchorage judge has dismissed a serious case against Ed Sniffen, who was charged in January 2021 with sexual abuse of a minor in an event that allegedly occurred 30 years earlier.

Anchorage Superior Court Judge Peter Ramgren determined that due to the length of time that has passed, there was not enough probable cause to continue the case against Sniffen, who had been a mock trial coach for West Anchorage High School at the time of the alleged incident, involving a student who was a 17-year-old and Sniffen, who was 27 years old.

Sniffen had been with the Alaska Department of Law for many years when he was named acting attorney general following the resignation of Kevin Clarkson, who had been accused of having an inappropriate texting relationship with a state employee.

According to reports, the woman made the accusation against Sniffen not long after he had been named acting attorney general. Some have speculated that this late-coming accusation was a politically motivated action aimed at hurting Gov. Mike Dunleavy, who was the target of an attempted recall at the time.

Sniffen resigned from his position at the State after being contacted about the allegations by the Anchorage Daily News, which has been critical of the Dunleavy Administration for the duration of his time in the Governor’s Office.


  1. the judge was very clear and correct in his decision. In 1991 the statute of limitations for that crime was 5 years. I am not a lawyer. A 2 minute search comes up with this. The U.S. Supreme Court opined in Stogner v. California in 2003 that a change of a statute of limitations cannot be retroactively applied to crimes which were committed prior to the law’s change. So why did Sniffen resign. Shouldn’t the attorney general know this? Also he said he was innocent. So the question should be why did Dunleavy throw him under the bus?

    • Because anybody who gets criticized by lefties gets thrown under the bus by Dunleavy; the man is spineless.

      • Dunleavy is a sad proof of the American dream.

        Only in America can a man with no spine, less commitment, and even less courage become governor.

        Only in America. Somewhere Jay Black is softly crying.

      • Art, I appreciate you taking the time to comment here. I was genuinely confused about this whole article until your comment (OK, I’m not the most attentive to politics).

        But help me out again: I like Dunleavy’s politics so just assumed that he was a pragmatist in order to maximize his political results. Am I wrong here? Is he really just a wimp/loser? What’s his deal? Heck, you should send out a voting guide each election cycle with commentary…I would just follow it and save myself the time…

        • Dunleavy may have gotten into this with genuine intentions. Then he got eaten alive and totally lost his nerve in Wasilla.

          Once he capitulated to the legislature in Wasilla his governorship was effectively over. No one took him seriously.

          To be flippant but honest. The going got really tough. Dunleavy got up and left.

          Since Wasilla he has been unable to muster genuine support for damn near anything.

          He has tied to use marquis of Queensbury rules in a gutter fight. He has had his lunch handed to him in every conceivable way possible.

    • Probably because having such a high-profile job like that requires one to be beyond reproach. in the ADN article, lawyers who were contemporaries of the victim who knew about it expressed surprise Sniffen was nominated for AG when the affair was common knowledge in their circle in high school.

      The real question is why the accuser only filed a complaint once Sniffen reached a high profile job and long past the statute of limitations.

    • My question is why didn’t Dunleavy’s people know this.

      (I can answer partially by pointing out his association with Tuckerman Babcock, ineptness personified)

      Even if cleared of all charges, it’s politically stupid to hire/appoint/hang out with someone who has this kind of baggage.

      From jump Dunleavy has been lurching from one bad decision to another.

    • Excellent observation! My guess is that the answer to your question is that Dunleavy threw him under the bus because our governor shifts with the political winds, much like any true RINO does.

  2. Simple. The wise judge figured out who was behind the staged allegations and intentional set-up of a Dunleavy appointment, all for political purposes.
    Scott Kendall.

  3. Although not relevant to the statute of limitations, I wonder if the judge knew about the consensual nature of the relationship, and how the woman, as soon as she turned 18, moved in with Sniffen and maintained a multi-year relationship? These facts may have made the judicial decision even easier to make.

  4. Oh one more thing why did the Governor’s office right a check for $1,980,00 to the Alaska Bar Association last year? If someone can , please explain why $ 109,012,00 from the State Dept. of Administration and $171,962,00 from the Det. of Law ? It’s all “we the peoples ” money! Was it for services render? What services , it was not well defined in the Alaska Checkbook !

    • Likely Bar Association dues for lawyers they employ, but I didn’t know the State paid employee dues. I employed some lawyers and never paid their bar dues.

  5. I didn’t know there was a statute of limitations on rape in Alaska. I was told once that A person that I’m familiar with I had sex with one of their students 30 some years ago and that person now is in a high-profile job and the two have been married for 30 some years. When does it stop being rape, and start being love or something else? I would say once it’s a rape always rape, but since you can’t ask a wife to testify against her husband, it seems like this person is home free. I’m not sure if escalating it into a person in a position of trust would do anything.

    • At the time of the alleged event, the age of consent was sixteen and the Satch Carlson law hadn’t yet been passed. Plus, it isn’t certain that even under Satch Carlson, he’d have been considered to have custodial responsibilty over her. In any event, it is kind of a mitigating factor that as soon as she turned 18 she moved in with him.

  6. It doesn’t matter what the reason for an Adult male having sex with a minor they are in charge of in Alaska.
    The Good Old boys club(Be it School Administrators or the Ak Judicial System)they will find a way to free the Adult Male. The powerful Deny it, Defend it (after many years) and Dismiss it. Does anyone ever wonder or care why Alaska is number 1 in sexual offenses? And the poor Native women top the list of infractions by males.In my opinion if this young woman reported Sniffen at the time or now, he would have gotten off. When you work in a situation where 4 males get away with having sex with minors you either despair or pray for the Victims.. I prefer the latter.

  7. I believe that under civil litigation rules, this woman, a minor when the incident happened, can still take the school district to court and very likely gain a 7 figure amount from taxpayers. No problem with the Bar Association on that one, and attorneys for both sides have a great payday.

  8. The case was dismissed because at the time this happened, the statute of limitations (SOL) was 5 years. Once the SOL expires, it cannot be resurrected. So, if no criminal charges were brought in 5 years, the SOL expires and the case cannot now be brought. If the SOL is expanded, what happens? That depends on whether the case was still alive or not.

    So, if the case occurred in 1991 and the SOL was 5 years, if it isn’t brought by 1996, the case is done. The Alaska legislature did remove SOLs for sex offenses, but they did so AFTER the SOL in this case expired.

    Rather than ask why the judge dismissed this case, you should ask why the prosecutor filed charges when the SOL had clearly expired. The answer generally is that the public knows very little about the law and demands someone’s head on a pike in any sort of salacious case such as this. It is far easier for the Department of Law to file charges and let the court dismiss than for the Department of Law to have the guts to decline prosecution. That is a scary proposition and the citizens of this state should be far more concerned about that than whether a 27 year old had an inappropriate relationship with a 17/18 year old 30+ years ago.

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