Sentencing has been postponed for a Petersburg man convicted in April for an armed standoff with local police on Frederick Point road.
For iFriendly audio, click here:
A jury in April found 30-year-old Jace Cunningham guilty of felony assault in the third degree for placing two officers in fear of imminent, serious injury with a dangerous weapon. The jury also found Cunningham guilty of five other misdemeanors. The charges resulted from a nighttime confrontation at a police roadblock last October on the Frederick Point road.
A sentencing hearing took place Tuesday morning. Court filings were submitted by Assistant District attorney Nick Polasky alleging a prior criminal record for Cunningham outside of Alaska. However those filings were not certified by a court clerk. The certified filings which Polasky says will be entered into the case, need a review period for consideration by the judge and defense attorney.
It was a problem noted by superior court judge William Carey. “This is obviously a case in which prior convictions can play a significant role in the sentencing and the statute I just cited requires authenticated copies to be served on counsel 20 days prior to sentencing and the defense has the chance, has the opportunity to request to deny and request a hearing on those, unless he’s willing to admit them,” Carey said.
The assistant district attorney Polasky apologized for the mistake, while defense attorney Michael Heiser pressed for sentencing to happen that day. Heiser noted Cunningham traveled from the jail in Ketchikan and was appearing in the Petersburg court room. “We are here for sentencing,” Heiser said. It’s taken preparation. It’s costing Mr Cunningham money. There’s ample time to get authenticated copies of these judgements. I mean this case is quite old at this point. So I don’t think there’s any excuse. We need to proceed.”
Judge Carey disagreed and thought proceeding with sentencing would open up the case to an appeal he ruled the sentencing would be continued at a later date.
A hearing to reschedule the sentencing is planned for June 26 at 1 p.m.