SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Alaskans Lack Needed Protections Against Permanent Record of Unconstitutional Arrests and Prosecutions
MatSu Couple Sues State of Alaska Seeking Expungement and Return of Improperly Held Property


September 12, 2012

(SitNews) Palmer, Alaska - A MatSu couple have filed a lawsuit today seeking to establish the right of all Alaskans to clear their names when they are unconstitutionally arrested or prosecuted.  Under current law, even when government agents have engaged in misconduct, there is no mechanism for clearing the record and removing information from the state’s database of arrests, court cases, or prosecutions.

“Americans’ faith in our judicial system can only be maintained when we have assurances that both the courts and the police act with integrity; that – just as we must play by the rules – so must our government,” said Jeffrey Mittman, Executive Director of the ACLU of Alaska.  “Our clients, Samantha Clymer and Robin Kling, were subject to a Trooper who, in the words of a Superior Court Judge ‘violated his duty of candor to the court,’ and subjected them to an unconstitutional search and arrest.  While the Court began the process of making them right, because of peculiarities of Alaska law, only this lawsuit can make them whole.”

In addition to being punished by improper court records, the state has refused to return their property.  Joshua Decker, Staff Attorney with the ACLU of Alaska, who represents Clymer and Kling, stated:  “We have repeatedly asked various government representatives to return our clients’ property, which the state is required to do.  The only response we have received is ‘sue me.’  It’s not right when the government neglects its duty, forcing citizens to either give up their rights – or retain counsel.  We are pleased to represent Samantha and Robin who have chosen to stand up for themselves, and for all Alaskans.”

Robin Kling has lived in Alaska nearly 30 years; has been a commercial fisherman, fought wildfires, and is an award-winning teacher of coldwater survival skills to adults and schoolchildren, receiving the 2008 Boating Safety Educator of the Year.  Samantha Clymer, a nearly 20-year resident of Alaska is a descendant of George Clymer, one of only five Founding Fathers to sign both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. They both believe in the principles her ancestor bequeathed us, and state:  “We know our rights, we understand our Constitution, and have the ability to ensure we are protected.  But we know many people in the MatSu Valley who are not as lucky.  If we don’t take action, they will be left unprotected.”


Source of News: 

ACLU of Alaska

A copy of the lawsuit, Samantha Clymer and Robin Kling v. Alaska, No. 3PA-12-2094 CI, along with supporting documentation and background material, is available on the ACLU of Alaska website.


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

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