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13.5: End-of-Chapter Material

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    Summary

    Crimes against morality are often viewed as conduct that occurs between consenting adults and should not be criminalized. Others argue that such crimes are not victimless at all, but instead, crimes that prey on unsuspecting victims. These crimes include drug and alcohol offenses, gambling, and prostitution.

    All states and the federal government criminalize specific conduct relating to controlled substances (i.e., drugs). Jurisdictions classify drugs in schedules, based on their harmful or addictive qualities, and punish drug offenses accordingly. Alaska’s drug schedules are similar to the federal drug schedules, but significant differences exist. Alaska’s drug statutory scheme is largely broken into two groups: possessory offenses and trafficking offenses. Possessory offenses are normally prosecuted at the misdemeanor level, depending on the drug. Trafficking includes the manufacture, delivery, and possession for sale, with the grading ranging from a misdemeanor to a felony, depending on the defendant’s conduct and the drug. Alaska has largely legalized the cultivation, distribution, sale, and possession of marijuana, which potentially violates the federal supremacy clause since the federal government does not legalize marijuana for any purpose.

    Alaska has relatively restrictive alcohol laws. In addition to laws that criminalize the possession and sale of alcohol to prohibited persons, Alaska also allows local communities to prohibit the importation, sale, and possession of alcohol if approved by a majority of the community’s voters. Such laws are frequently referred to as local option laws.

    The law also permits police to take an individual into protective custody if they are intoxicated or incapacitated. A person taken into protective custody is held until they are sober and no longer a danger to themselves.

    Alaska’s gambling laws are intended to criminalize established gambling enterprises and not private social games. A person accused of illegal gambling may assert the affirmative defense of hosting a social game. A social game is when there is no house advantage, house odds, or house income. Gambling enterprises may be prosecuted for promoting gambling, which is a felony. Both gambling proceeds and devices are subject to forfeiture upon conviction. Alaska’s gambling statutes exclude charitable gaming, which permits certain charities to host bingo games and raffles for remuneration.

    Although some argue that prostitution should not be a crime, and at least one state (Nevada) has legalized prostitution, Alaska has rejected this view. Alaska treats both sex trafficking and human trafficking as forms of modern-day slavery. Although prostitution is a crime, the legislative history suggests that the legislature views those who practice prostitution are victims of sex trafficking. Prostitution is offering, agreeing, or engaging in sexual conduct for something of value (normally money). Prostitution is a misdemeanor with sentencing enhancements for habitual offenders or patronizing a juvenile prostitute.

    Unlike prostitution, sex trafficking focuses on larger commercial sexual activity. Sex trafficking is graded into various degrees, with first-degree sex trafficking being the most serious. First-degree sex trafficking prohibits forcing another person to engage in prostitution through violence or the threat of violence. The code also prohibits prostitution enterprises or maintaining a place of prostitution. Human trafficking is similar to sex trafficking but encompasses a larger course of conduct, including sexual conduct, adult entertainment, or forced labor.

    Answer to <"Is Evidence of Drug Use Evidence of Drug Possession?"

    The Court of Appeals, in Thronsen v. State, 809 P.2d 941 (Alaska App. 1991), held that while the presence of a drug in one’s body may be considered circumstantial evidence of possession, the presence of drugs in the person’s body alone is insufficient for conviction. To convict a defendant of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, the state must prove that the defendant consciously possessed, either physically or constructively, the substance and that the defendant had actual knowledge of the nature of the substance. A defendant​ who had previously injected drugs no longer possesses the drugs since the defendant has no dominion or control over the drug. “[C]ontrol is an essential element of possession and that because the host body cannot exercise control or dominion over a substance after it is ingested … the mere presence in the body cannot support a criminal conviction for possession.” You can read the entire Thronsen v. State, 809 P.2d 941 (Alaska App. 1991) online at the University of Alaska Anchorage Consortium Library using your student credentials.


    This page titled 13.5: End-of-Chapter Material is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Rob Henderson via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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