Dunbar v. State

In Dunbar v. State, 555 P.2d 548 (Alaska 1976) the defendant was convicted of sexually abusing his children. After the trial, Dunbar's children filed affidavits recanting their testimony. But when the children were called to testify at a post-trial evidentiary hearing, they claimed the privilege against self-incrimination and declined to discuss matters further. The supreme court held that, given these facts, the superior court correctly concluded that "no evidence was produced at the evidentiary hearing which, at a new trial, would probably produce an acquittal." Dunbar, 555 P.2d at 551-52. In Dunbar, the supreme court declared that it was "of controlling significance" that the two recanting witnesses each invoked the privilege against self-incrimination when they were called to the stand at the post-trial evidentiary hearing -- and that these witnesses therefore gave no evidence regarding their trial testimony (nor any evidence concerning the content of their post-trial affidavits in which they recanted that testimony). Dunbar, 555 P.2d at 550.