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Williams v. State

Court of Appeals of Alaska
151 P.3d 460 (Alaska App. 2006)


Facts

Thomas Williams (defendant) was arrested and charged with fourth-degree assault after he grabbed his wife around her neck during an argument, forced her to the floor, and choked her. Williams was subsequently released on bail. Over two years later, Williams had yet to be tried for the crime. One of the conditions of Williams’s pretrial release under state law prohibited Williams from returning to the residence that he shared with his wife and daughter. Williams asked the trial court to modify his release conditions so that he could contact his wife and daughter. The prosecution did not oppose the request, and the court granted Williams’s request but barred him from entering the residence. Several months later, Williams asked the court for permission to stay in the residence to care for the house and dog while his wife and daughter were out of town. The request was supported by Williams’s wife, unopposed by the prosecution, and granted by the court. Williams then filed a motion asking the court for permission to return to the family residence for Christmas. Williams also included a claim challenging the constitutionality of the state statute, arguing that the law prohibiting his return to the residence infringed upon his fundamental right to maintain his marital relationship and violated his rights to both due process and equal protection. The trial court denied Williams’s request to return to the residence. Additionally, despite the prosecution declining to present any evidence on the constitutional claim, the trial court denied Williams relief. Williams appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Coats, C.J.)

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