Braham v. State

In Braham v. State, 571 P.2d 631 (Alaska 1977), the State's primary witness against the defendant was working as an undercover informant in other cases. The question was whether the State could keep the witness's status as an undercover informant confidential, to prevent premature disclosure of ongoing investigations. The supreme court held that this information could not be kept confidential if it was relevant to Braham's defense of the criminal case: "Disclosure was ... required if the judge's in camera inspection showed that the material was relevant to the defense, whether or not the prosecutor had demonstrated that discovery would be inconsistent with law enforcement or protection efforts. In this circumstance, the state must decide between continuing to prosecute, while incurring the problems posed by disclosure, and terminating the prosecution in order to maintain the material's secrecy." (Braham, 571 P.2d at 643.) In that case, evidence that the defendant instructed the hired gunman to visit the intended victim in the hospital for purpose of fostering a relationship of trust and confidence was sufficient to establish the required overt act necessary to prove attempted murder requiring an act toward the commission of murder. The Alaska Supreme Court held that whether an act is merely preparatory or "sufficiently close to the consummation of the crime to amount to attempt, is a question of degree and depends upon the facts and circumstances of a particular case." Id. at 637.