Dawson v. State

In Dawson v. State, 894 P.2d 672, 680-81 (Alaska App. 1995) the Court vacated a probation condition restricting Dawson from unauthorized contact with his wife as "unduly restrictive of liberty." Dawson had been convicted of delivering cocaine, and his wife was his partner in crime. The Court first noted that the condition plainly implicated Dawson's constitutional rights and should therefore be subjected to special scrutiny. Although the probation condition was related to the goal of rehabilitation, it was also "an extreme restriction of liberty." The Court concluded that the restriction should be narrowly tailored to the specific needs of the case. The judge in Dawson had imposed a number of special conditions that addressed the specific needs of Dawson's case, and we noted that the judge had not explained "why she considered these additional restrictions to be insufficient to address her concerns for Dawson's success as a probationer." The Court also expressed concern that "the disputed condition delegated to Dawson's probation officer unconditional and unlimited authority to regulate Dawson's marital relationship." The Court held that the challenged restriction was too broad.