Degler v. State

In Degler v. State, 741 P.2d 659 (Alaska App. 1987), a defendant on trial for robbery wished to testify that he committed this crime because he desperately needed money to fly to Idaho to attend a child custody hearing and maintain custody of his daughter; the defendant wanted to make sure that his ex-wife (whom he considered to be an unfit parent) did not obtain custody of the child. The trial judge ruled that this evidence, even if believed, was insufficient as a matter of law to prove either the defense of necessity or the defense of duress. The trial judge therefore precluded the defendant from giving the proposed testimony. The Court agreed with the trial judge's interpretation of the law, and we therefore upheld the trial judge's decision to preclude the defendant from testifying about his reasons for committing the robbery.