Erick v. State

In Erick v. State, 642 P.2d 821, 825 (Alaska App. 1982), after the parties had exercised their peremptory challenges on the prospective jurors who had not been excused for cause, only seven jurors remained on the trial panel in Fort Yukon. But the court system did not provide the trial judge or the local court clerk with the master list for the Fort Yukon area. If the judge had used the master list, he could have summoned at least 437 additional jurors from the surrounding area. Under these circumstances, the State had failed to meet its burden to show that it was not reasonable to obtain a jury of twelve from the Fort Yukon area. The Court noted that in Calantas v. State, the Alaska Supreme Court approved an emergency supplementation of the jury venire with additional names available from the master jury list when it became apparent that too few jurors would be available for a trial in Kodiak. Under Erick v. State, if the State seeks a change of venue, the State has the burden to show that it was not reasonable to obtain a jury from the trial site where the offense allegedly occurred, as required by Alvarado. (Id. at 824.) Jury selection for Erick's case began in Fort Yukon. When Erick's jury selection started, forty-nine potential jurors showed up. When it became apparent that there would not be enough jurors to select an entire jury, the superior court elected to supplement the panel by recessing the trial for a week and notifying other jurors, who were scheduled to appear the next day for other trials, to appear the following week for Erick's jury. No more than eight villagers showed up on the following day. Those that did appear were personally summoned for the continuation of Erick's jury selection. The remaining twelve from that second group that did not show up were mailed notices to appear the following week for Erick's continued jury selection. (Id. at 822-23.) When Erick's trial resumed, only five or six villagers showed up. Thus, there was a potential maximum of only fifty-five jurors from which to select a jury in Erick's case. Significant in this court's analysis of Erick's case was the trial court's ignorance of the potential availability of more names from which to call potential jurors. Although the trial judge in Erick's case recognized the need to call additional jurors, apparently there was a mistaken belief that the only potential jurors available were the ones that appeared the first day of jury selection and those villagers scheduled to appear the day after Erick's jury selection began. In fact, substantial additional names could have been obtained with little effort or delay. (Id. at 823-25. (