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Federal judge won't cite state in sex offender case

Posted: Monday, March 18, 2002

ANCHORAGE - A federal judge decided Friday not to cite a state attorney for contempt of court over prosecution of the state's sex offender registration law.

Alaska's registration law has been deemed unconstitutional for pre-1994 sex offenders. U.S. District Court Judge H. Russel Holland has ordered a halt to prosecutions of such offenders for failing to register.

Earlier this month, Russel threatened to cite Deputy Attorney General Cindy Cooper and the Attorney General's Office for disobeying the order.

"Although it is the court's conclusion that the state's attorney ... intended to have state prosecutors violate the court's preliminary injunction, intent is not a part of civil contempt," Holland wrote Friday.

Holland said it was clear the state understood his suspension order on pre-1994 cases, but since attorneys took no significant court action in those cases, he wrote, the state did not violate his order.

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering Alaska's registration law after the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals deemed it unconstitutional last year. The state agreed to suspend prosecution of pending cases until the case is resolved, according to Holland's order.



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