Gipson v. State
In Gipson v. State, 575 P.2d 782 (Alaska 1978) the supreme court took a different approach to this Sixth Amendment issue.
In Gipson, the State conceded that the trial court had violated the defendant's right to counsel at his preliminary examination. The remaining question was to determine the proper standard for deciding whether this procedural error required reversal of Gipson's conviction.
The supreme court noted that a felony defendant's right to counsel at a preliminary examination was guaranteed by Criminal Rule 5.1(a). But the supreme court then declared that a felony defendant's right to counsel at the preliminary examination was "more than a matter of ... procedure"; rather, this right was "also ... guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution."
Based on this reasoning, the court concluded that "harmless beyond a reasonable doubt" was the proper standard for assessing whether the denial of counsel required reversal of Gipson's conviction.