The Juneau District Attorney will review a Haines citizen complaint that accuses the borough assembly of violating a resident’s constitutional rights.
The complaint alleges four assembly members violated resident Diana Lapham’s rights when they denied her appointment to the port and harbor advisory committee.
It was submitted by Don Turner Jr., who sits on the harbor committee, and signed by 14 other residents. It asks the borough attorney to investigate the alleged violation.
But borough attorney Brooks Chandler said the complaint needs to go through different channels in order for him to investigate. In a memo, Chandler said this sort of allegation must go through the assembly, mayor or borough manager. Any of those three could then decide whether to investigate and involve the borough attorney.
It also says Turner’s request to have law enforcement investigate must go directly to police or troopers, since the borough clerk does not have authority to order a criminal investigation.
Turner then filed the complaint directly with Haines Police. Chief Heath Scott referred a preliminary investigation of the complaint to Juneau District Attorney James Scott.
In an email, DA Scott said the complaint was being sent via snail mail, so he had not reviewed it yet. Scott said when his office does receive the information, they will determine whether there is reason to believe a criminal offense occurred. Scott said based on the original complaint, which was sent to him a couple weeks ago by an anonymous email, he ‘strongly suspects’ that no criminal offense was committed.
Turner also submitted the complaint directly to Mayor Jan Hill. Hill said she is waiting for the DA’s decision before she decides what to do next.
The complaint is directed toward the four assembly members who voted against Lapham’s appointment. They are Heather Lende, Margaret Friedenauer, Tresham Gregg and Ron Jackson. Mike Case and Tom Morphet voted for the appointment.
Abbey Collins contributed to this report.