Attorney General Releases Transcript of Interview regarding Schneider case
October 30, 2018
(Anchorage, AK)—Today the Department of Law posted the transcript of the interview Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth provided to local media on September 25, 2018. The interview provides more clarity surrounding the plea agreement reached between the State and Justin Schneider and helps to correct some of the incorrect assertions and misstatements being disseminated. The public’s outrage is understandable. However, prosecutors and judges are obligated to follow the law, and in this case, as Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth has said on multiple occasions, the law is broken. "Masturbating on somebody is not a sex crime," the Attorney General told KTUU in the interview. "It needs to be treated as a sex crime with the higher sentencing penalties, two to 12 years, and the required sex offender treatment. We're going to change the definition of sexual contact to include unwanted contact with semen." The transcript of the entire interview can be found here - (201K PDF).
Because of the limitation in the current law, the State could only get a maximum of two years, and Mr. Schneider had already served one year on ankle monitoring, which the court has to apply towards the jail sentence. In order to ensure that Mr. Schneider had to go through sex offender treatment, which greatly decreases a person’s likelihood of re-offending, the State had to provide one year of suspended jail time. This means Mr. Schneider could still go back to jail if he does not comply with the conditions of his release.
This was not a satisfactory outcome but it is what was achievable under current law. Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth echoes the public’s outrage about the incident. As she said in her op-ed that ran in the Anchorage Daily News on October 15, 2018:
“Mr. Schneider strangled his victim and then masturbated on her. By all accounts, what Mr. Schneider did to his victim should be considered a sex offense. His actions were outrageous and disturbing. It took courage for her to even come forward to report. How devastating it must be for her to know that her assailant—the man who she was sure was trying to end her life—is already back on the streets because of a legal loophole.”
Attorney General Lindemuth goes on to explain in the op-ed that this “outcome shows us that the law is broken.” She also wants to assure victims that they will be listened to. “Survivors of these heinous crimes should feel confident that when they come forward, they will be listened to, and crimes will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. And if that’s not enough, then we will change the law. Whatever it takes to make a safer Alaska.”
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