Wednesday, April 13, 2011


in re: Alaska v. Karr


What constitutes an excessive sentence for punishment of embezzlement under Alaska state law?


Under Alaska law, as amended, a person convicted of embezzlement in a serious offense is subject to imprisonment for not less than one, nor more than ten years. The law was amended in 1980. The crime under discussion took place between 1979 and 1981.


Karr was a trusted employee at a real estate firm, entrusted with handling the firm’s financial affairs. Over a period of two years, from 1979 to 1981, Karr abused her position of trust to take personal possession of company funds in the amount of $350,000.

Though the offenses that led to the conviction occurred under different legal conditions, Karr was sentenced under the new law. Because of the severity of her offense, and the fact that it would be difficult to impossible for the company to recover the amount of lost moneys, and Karr would face hardship in restitution after completing her sentence, the judge sentenced her to consecutive five-year terms for the two counts to which she pled no contest.

Her argument that the sentence was excessive for a first offense is juxtaposed with the impact her actions have had, and will continue to have for her former employer. The judge took this into account when imposing the punishment.

*Karr knew she was stealing from her employer.

*Karr knew she was converting company funds to her personal use.

Kerr knew she was violating her position of trust.

*Karr committed a serious offense under two different laws.


While this was a first offense, it was serious enough to lead to consecutive rather than concurrent sentences.