Legal Question in Constitutional Law in Alaska

Court Jurisdiction

Does a constitutional structural error ''AKA Structural Defect'' deprive a sentencing court jurisdiction?, If so name case law.

Asked on 4/16/05, 2:33 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

Re: Court Jurisdiction

Structural error is a complicated concept and I won't try to explain it here in any detail. Basically, it means that the trial itself was carried out in a way that was so fundamentally unfair to the defendant that he is entitled to a retrial no matter what the result; there is no such thing as "harmless error" in such a case.

Structural error has no effect on a court's jurisdiction. Jurisdiction is about *whether* a court can hear a given case, but structural error concerns *how* the court conducts the trial. They are entirely separate concepts.

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Answered on 4/16/05, 5:54 pm

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