Judges in Juneau Superior Court on Thursday ruled that convicted sex offender James Hamey, a former Juneau-Douglas High School basketball coach, would be allowed to travel to Anchorage and California to visit family.
The State of Alaska District Attorney’s office in Juneau considered Hamey a flight risk and a danger to the community, but both Judge Philip Pallenberg and William Carey said the facts of the case did not lead them to believe Hamey would not return to Alaska or that he would be a threat to other persons.
The state had said Hamey’s failing health would make it likely he would rather be on a beach than in prison, and cited a former case in which an offender fled to Mexico and died there. The defense stated Hamey’s ties to Juneau are strong and he has already been in third-party custody since the initial charges came to light.
Pallenberg was the judge in Hamey’s jury trial conviction Oct. 19, 2010 for second-degree sexual assault stemming from a 2009 incident when Hamey was a Catholic Services Care-A-Van driver. He went to the home of a client and touched her breast without her consent.
Carey was appearing telephonically from Ketchikan and had accepted Hamey’s change of plea agreement on Feb. 17, 2011 in a second case stemming from July 2010 of two first-degree sexual assault charges.
Both cases are to be sentenced together in late May. Hamey faces a total of nine years incarceration.
Per both judges, Hamey is allowed to travel with a third-party custodian. The state and a victim wanted Hamey to register as a sex offender with the law enforcement agency of the city to which Hamey was traveling. Louis Menendez, Hamey’s attorney, said that state statutes require a sex offender to register only if changing his residency. Menendez said Hamey has reported to the Juneau Police Department and would do so again to further comply with any stipulations and would also present the state with travel itineraries.