Court: Alaska Judges Can Consider Deportation in Sentencing

The Alaska Court of Appeals has ruled a three-judge panel can modify a Juneau felon's prison sentence so he can avoid deportation.

The Juneau Empire reports the ruling would allow the sentence for Jose Manuel Perez to be below the presumptive sentencing range, if the panel finds that deportation is an unduly harsh consequence of his conviction.

Perez's attorney has argued that it is, saying the 38-year-old Perez has lived lawfully in the U.S. for most his life and has virtually no ties to the Dominican Republic, his home country.

Perez is awaiting sentence following his 2011 conviction of felony interfering with official proceedings and misdemeanor fourth-degree assault. The jury deadlocked on a drug charge, and Perez pleaded guilty to felony fourth-degree drug misconduct rather than stand trial again.