Chief Justice Stresses Need For Rural Presence

(Skip Gray/KTOO)
(Skip Gray/KTOO)

With lawmakers reviewing the state budget for cuts, Chief Justice Dana Fabe made the case for preserving the judicial branch’s funding in her annual speech to the Legislature on Wednesday.

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“The court does not control the number or types of cases that come before us, or which charges will be brought or tried,” said Fabe. “But it is our responsibility to resolve all of them as promptly, thoroughly, and fairly as we can.”

Fabe specifically addressed the importance of keeping a judicial presence in rural Alaska and the value of letting litigants face trial in their home regions.

“This will likely be our greatest challenge: to resist the financial pressures to centralize our operations in the hub communities and insist that Alaskans come to those hubs for justice or do without,” said Fabe.

In the State of the Judiciary, Fabe also said the court is reevaluating the way it approaches child custody cases to better accommodate litigants who represent themselves, and noted that the judiciary is making advances toward a paperless filing system.