AlaskanCitizensForJustice supports balancing the scales of justice. We need all the help we can get, and we know it will take the efforts of a lot of Alaskans. Most Alaskans have no idea how broken our justice system is until they are trapped within it. I have first-hand knowledge of our justice system and the criminal court system, gained after my 18-year-old daughter, Bonnie Craig, was murdered in Anchorage in 1994.
We all expect justice and protection from criminals. In order to get that, we need to better support our law enforcement community. Our first challenge was funding the new State Crime Lab. On April 19th, 2010 the Alaska State Legislature passed and approved the funding for the new lab. The Governor signed and approved the funding! Thank you to all who made calls and sent emails in support of the lab. Thank you to all our lawmakers! Our new crime lab is making an incredible difference in catching the criminals in Alaska. It saves lives, prevents so many crimes by getting the criminals off the streets sooner and prevents a lot of pain. The crime lab is the foundation of the justice system. It will ultimately make our streets safer.
Two more challenges we are focusing on are:
- Protecting our Children from Internet predators: Alaska has more than 1,200 predators on-line downloading and producing videos of infants and children being sexually abused and tortured. Law enforcement knows the exact location of these people but can only investigate 2% of these crimes. There are at least 400 children who could be rescued from these locations. We need Governor Parnell to declare a "State of Emergency" and rescue them. (See Child Rescue Emergency)
- Victim's Right to Timely Disposition: Senator Hollis French wrote legislation for "Timely Disposition" of a case so no other victim's family will have to endure the needless and irresponsible delays in getting a case to trial and conviction. Bonnie's killer was identified November 2006. The case finally went to trial May 2011. (See Timely Disposition) Her killer, Kenneth Dion was sentenced to 124 years October 31, 2011. It was almost 5 years to prosecute this killer. With this new legislation we need to ensure that victims rights are protected and their cases are completed in a timely fashion.
Studies show there is a 40% chance the burglaries and non-violent crimes are being committed by someone who has already committed murders, rapes and other violent crimes. If they haven’t already committed these crimes there is an 80% chance that they eventually will commit a violent crime. That means 40% of these non-violent crime scenes could have evidence that would lead us to a match with evidence from a serious assault, rape or murder.
Our laws in Alaska allow us to collect DNA from all felony arrests. We need to use this to our advantage and start balancing the scales of justice. Alaska is one of 28 states that have legislation to collect DNA on felony arrest. Unlike many other states, Alaska is now processing Offender DNA samples within 30 days. Other states can take over a year. Evidence DNA samples take much longer to process and we were only processing the worst of the worst crimes. Now that the new lab is up and running Alaska will be able to process evidence from burglaries and non-violent felony crimes.
More funding should be directed towards the Department of Public Safety, and law enforcement manpower. It should be the focus of government to protect the innocent and ensure the criminals are convicted for their crimes. We must work toward ensuring our children are safe in our community. Our voices must be heard. We must protect the innocent. Let's balance the scales of justice.