Judge halts enforcement of decision in Alaska recall case

Published: Jan. 29, 2020 at 3:58 PM AKST
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A state court judge has put on hold a decision that would have allowed an effort to recall Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy to move to a new signature-gathering phase. Superior Judge Eric Aarseth in Anchorage stayed that decision Wednesday pending a ruling by the Alaska Supreme Court. The recall opposition group Stand Tall With Mike argued that if the Alaska Supreme Court invalidates part of the recall application during or after the signature-gathering effort, it would lead to more legal disputes and create confusion. Aarseth says that point resonated.

"From the the court's perspective, if we have members of the public making decisions 'Am I going to sign this petition booklet or not,' they're looking at grounds and they're making that decision. If they sign it one day and all the grounds that I've approved thus far are there and the Supreme Court says 'Judge Aarseth you made a mistake, and there's a couple of grounds that shouldn't have been there,' that is going to create confusion. And from the court's perspective, confusion equals harm," Aarseth said.

Although the stay halts the recall campaign from moving forward with collecting signatures, both parties agreed to an expedited appeal.

Brewster Jamieson, defense attorney for Stand Tall with Mike, said that he was very pleased with the judge's order and will be entering a notice of appeal to the Supreme Court on Monday.

"The timing of the appeal process is uncertain and will have to be decided by the Supreme Court itself," Jamieson said.

The campaign manager for Recall Dunleavy said that although the judge decided against the arguments presented by the campaign's attorney, the judge still affirmed the validity of the recall and the Supreme Court will help give Alaskans clarity on the effort.

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1/29/2020 10:09:18 AM (GMT -9:00)