Brian Flanagan


State v. Hazelwood shook Alaska's jurisprudence and suggested the end of the due process requirement of awareness of wrongdoing for serious criminal convictions. However, prior and subsequent case law suggest a more limited principle that the awareness of wrongdoing requirement only applies to cases involving omission liability or willful violation, not to the entirety of criminal law, and Hazelwood would survive only as an extension of this distinction. Still, premising such a requirement on judicial classification of offenses as positive action or omission liability does not appear to have emerged by design, and the result has the potential for inconsistency, arbitrariness, and misapplication. This Note first demonstrates that the only recognizable pattern to emerge from the case law is to require an awareness of wrongdoing for omission offenses and for violations of statutes that specifically require willful violation and second argues that the requirement of awareness of wrongdoing should not hinge on omission versus affirmative action liability, because it has too great a potential for arbitrary and inconsistent application.

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