TCC Responds to the State of Alaska’s filing regarding the Fairbanks Four

Press Release for Immediate Release

May 19, 2014 

Contact: Shirley Lee, TCC Justice Task Force, (907) 452-8251 ext. 5502

Fairbanks, Alaska— The filing made by the State of Alaska in response to the Post-Conviction Relief petitions for the Fairbanks Four comes as an extreme disappointment to Tanana Chiefs Conference. “It is disappointing, but expected” said TCC President Victor Joseph, “you cannot have an entity investigate itself and expect another outcome.” 

Assistant Attorney General Adrienne Bachman, in her response, declared that the “state must oppose the petitions” because “the law guides this decision and it is the law, not public sentiment or unsupported, hearsay allegations, which must guide the court’s consideration of these petitions”.

“We disagree that our work for truth in this case is nothing more than ‘public sentiment’, as Assistant Attorney General Adrienne Bachman stated in her response.  The call by many, including the 42 tribes and tribal entities of the TCC Region representing some 14,000 tribal members for an unbiased review of the entire case is one based on facts and the record at hand. You cannot review the case and not see the questionable foundation on which the Fairbanks Police Department and the State of Alaska built their cases.” said Shirley Lee, TCC Justice Task Force Chair.

“To say that the written confession of William Holmes amounts to nothing more than hearsay is disgraceful. The State continues to assert rightful conviction of the Fairbanks Four in the face of questionable arrest, interrogation and prosecution work. They maintained that assertion even when provided a confession by William Holmes in 2011 and did not have the moral decency or professional integrity to act upon that information,” said TCC President Victor Joseph.

The Alaska Federation of Natives and the Full Board of Directors of TCC passed resolutions calling for an independent federal review of the Fairbanks Four case. That time has come. TCC asks that the leaders of the community and state join them in demanding that justice be served in this case. TCC believes this case has reached a juncture where it is clear that justice will have to come from outside of the State system.

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About Tanana Chiefs Conference: TCC is a non-profit organization that works toward meeting the health and social service challenges for more than 14,000 Alaska Natives spread across a region of 235,000 square miles in Interior Alaska.

See TCC Resolution No.2014-51 Calling for an Independent Federal Review of the Hartman Case