Landon v. State
Alaska Court of Appeals
1999 WL 46543 (1999)
A domestic restraining order was served on Shelton Landon (defendant) requiring him to stay away from A.B. and her residence. While the restraining order was in effect, A.B. contacted the police after hearing a popping sound, running outside, and seeing that the tires of her cars had been slashed and Landon was running away from her residence. Landon was charged with violating a domestic restraining order and criminal mischief. Before trial, the state (plaintiff) issued a notice of its intent to have A.B. present throughout the trial pursuant to Article 1, Section 24 (§ 24) of the Alaska Constitution, which gave crime victims the right to be present at all criminal proceedings at which the defendant had the right to be present. Landon moved to exclude A.B. from the courtroom during the testimony of other witnesses. The court excluded all witnesses other than Landon, A.B., and the police officer who responded to the scene. At trial, the police officer testified that no witness had provided a description of Landon or his clothing. A.B. testified that she recognized Landon as he was running away because of the red coat he was wearing. Landon was convicted and argued on appeal that the court erred in denying his motion to exclude A.B. from the courtroom during other witnesses’ testimony. Landon contended that his due-process right was superior to A.B.’s right to attend the trial; A.B.’s presence during the officer’s testimony deprived Landon of his constitutional right to confrontation because A.B. could have altered her testimony after hearing the officer’s testimony; and because § 24 was not self-implementing and the legislature had not enacted implementing legislation at the time of Landon’s trial, it was improper for the court to rely on § 24 in ruling on Landon’s motion to exclude A.B.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Coats, C.J.)
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