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Muller v. State

Court of Appeals of Alaska
196 P.3d 815 (2008)


Facts

Don Muller (defendant) and eight or nine other protesters went to the office of Senator Ted Stevens in Fairbanks, Alaska to protest the Iraq war. The protesters informed the office manager that the protesters intended to stay in the office and read a list containing the names of over 9,000 civilians and American soldiers killed in the Iraq war. At the office’s closing time, the protestors still had approximately 8,500 names to read. The office manager asked the protestors to leave and return in the morning. The protestors refused. After a security guard asked the protestors to leave without any effect, the police were contacted. When the police arrived, three protestors, including Muller, were arrested. Muller was charged with second-degree criminal trespass, a misdemeanor offense. At his trial, Muller appeared pro se and presented the defense of necessity. The judge allowed Muller to present the defense, but the judge rejected Muller’s proposed jury instruction on necessity in favor of the judge’s own instruction. Muller did not object to the judge’s instruction. The jury rejected the defense of necessity and convicted Muller of second-degree trespass. Muller appealed on the ground that the jury instruction regarding necessity was erroneous.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Coats, C.J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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