State Admits Mistake In Handling Of Jerry Active’s Previous Cases

JERRY-ANDREW-ACTIVE-largeAlaska’s Attorney General held a press conference Thursday in Anchorage to admit that the state made a mistake in how they handled past cases involving Jerry Active.

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Active is accused of killing a Cambodian-American couple and sexually assaulting their 2-year-old great grand-daughter and her 92-year-old great, great grandmother in late May.

Jerry Andrew Active had a history with the law. His first charges were in 2007 when he was 18. They involved furnishing alcohol to a minor in Togiak, where alcohol is banned. That’s a Class C felony. He pleaded guilty, in exchange for a suspended sentence, and got three years probation. But after he committed his next crimes, which included attempted sexual abuse of a minor, that felony conviction didn’t show up in a database authorities used to check his criminal history.

Attorney General Michael Geraghty says that if the database had been up-to-date, Active could have gotten more jail time.

“In the end, the Department of Law, the Department of Corrections and the sentencing judge failed to identify Mr. Active’s prior felony conviction for purposes of calculating the applicable presumptive sentencing term,” Geraghty said.

Active, now 24, is charged with killing a Cambodian-American couple who were babysitting their great-granddaughter at their home in the Mountain View neighborhood, and of sexually assaulting the 2-year-old, along with her 92-year-old great, great grandmother. He faces additional charges for punching both of the 2-year-old’s parents including her pregnant mother.

Active had two more brushes with the law in 2012 and 2013. He was released from the Anchorage Correctional Complex on May 25, 2013, the day he is accused of committing the crimes. Geraghty says it’s hard to say if a longer sentence would have prevented Active from committing the crimes, but because of the mistake in his sentencing, the Alaska Department of Law is reviewing policies and procedures.

“I have undertaken a review with senior management here at the department to make sure that these mistakes are not repeated,” Geraghty said. “Even before this crime occurred, I had ordered a review of the department’s plea negotiation policies and we’ve been meeting for a number of months to review those policies and practices, with a particular emphasis on domestic violence and sexual assault cases.”

If convicted of all of the offenses, Active faces a minimum sentence of 171 years in prison. If convicted of the charges, Active also faces lifetime registration as a sex offender. His sentence would be determined by a judge, who is required to consider the seriousness of the crimes and the offender’s criminal history.

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Daysha Eaton is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network. Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage. Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email. Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.