Ragsdale v. State
In Ragsdale v. State, 23 P.3d 653 (Alaska App. 2001) Ragsdale was charged with sexual assault in the second degree under two alternative theories under different sections of the statute. One theory was that he had engaged in sexual penetration with a person whom he knew was incapacitated.
The other theory was that he had engaged in sexual penetration with a person whom he knew was unaware that a sexual act was being committed.
Ragsdale argued that the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jurors that they had to unanimously agree on the theory by which he violated the statute.
The Court disagreed:
"A jury ordinarily does not have to agree on a single interpretation of the facts of a particular criminal episode. When a statute defines two or more circumstances in which the defendant's conduct constitutes a crime, the defendant may lawfully be convicted if each juror concludes that at least one of these circumstances have been proved."
In footnotes the Court referred to other cases in which the Court had reached similar results. Id.
Baker v. State, 905 P.2d 479, 489 (Alaska App. 1995) (holding that in a prosecution for robbery, the jurors need not unanimously agree on whether the defendant, as opposed to one of his co-robbers, was the one who actually struck the victim);
Norris v. State, 857 P.2d 349, 354 (Alaska App. 1993) (concluding that in a prosecution for second- degree murder, the jurors did not need to unanimously agree on whether the defendant purposely fired his rifle at the victim or, instead, whether the victim grabbed the pointed rifle and it discharged by accident);
Ward v. State, 758 P.2d 87, 92 (Alaska 1988) (holding that jurors need not be unanimous as to whether the defendant drove a motor vehicle while intoxicated or drove a motor vehicle while his blood alcohol level was .10 percent or greater);
Totemoff v. State, 855 P.2d 125, 129 (Alaska App. 1993), rev'd on other grounds, 905 P.2d 954 (Alaska 1995) (affirming trial court's ruling that jurors need not be unanimous as to whether the defendant acted as a principal or an accomplice in the illegal taking of deer)).