Alaska’s Department of Law will close the Dillingham district attorney’s office at the end of this fiscal year, according to a budget plan submitted this week. It’s unclear if the one attorney and one paralegal positions will be cut or relocated.
The department also said it will be closing the Barrow DA’s office, and will be cutting nine currently vacant positions within the criminal division as it deals with state funding cuts.
Closing the Dillingham office will result in savings of approximately $340,000 next year, according to a proposed budget published Wednesday. One attorney and one paralegal at the Dillingham office were laid off last June in a first round of cuts.
Several issues were cited in the decision to close the office entirely, including the cost of traveling to Anchorage to present felony cases to grand juries, and even the construction of the new courthouse: the dept. says the distance from the DA’s office downtown to the new courthouse on Emperor Way will require a new vehicle for staff to use.
When the Dillingham office closes, all cases that currently get assigned to Dillingham will be handled out of Anchorage, with more use of telephonic hearings, as has been done with the Naknek court cases since June.
So far this year the Dillingham district attorney’s office has handled over 400 criminal cases.