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Simants v State

7-3-2014 Alaska:

Simants v State

Carrie D. Simants was thirty-three years old when she had sexual intercourse with R.H., a seventeen-year-old boy who was living in her home. At the time, R.H. had been adjudicated a delinquent, and Simants had agreed to oversee his compliance with his delinquency case plan. A jury therefore found that Simants was in a "position of authority" over R.H. and convicted her of one count of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor.1 Simants was sentenced to 8 years with 3 years suspended (5 years to serve) and 10 years' probation for this offense.

On appeal, Simants challenges her sentence on three grounds. She asserts that the superior court erred by rejecting the two statutory mitigating factors she proposed at sentencing. She argues, in the alternative, that the court should have referred her case to the statewide three-judge sentencing panel for consideration of a sentence below the applicable presumptive range. Lastly, she challenges a condition of probation that could potentially preclude her from living with her own children after her release.

For the reasons explained below, we conclude that the superior court applied the wrong legal analyses when it rejected the two statutory mitigating factors and imposed the challenged probation condition.

Accordingly, we vacate the probation condition and remand this case to the superior court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. Because Simants may be resentenced, we do not reach the merits of her three-judge sentencing panel arguments at this time.

... ... ...


We VACATE the special condition of probation limiting Simants from residing in a home where a minor is present to the extent that the condition bars her from living with her own children. If the State wishes to renew its request for a probation condition that restricts Simants's contact with her children, the State must affirmatively show
(1) that there is good reason to believe Simants will pose a danger to her children when she is released from prison, and

(2) that the State's proposed condition of probation is narrowly tailored to avoid unnecessary interference with Simants's relationship with her children.
We retain jurisdiction.

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