Chappell v. State, 4054

CourtSupreme Court of Alaska (US)
Citation592 P.2d 1218
Docket NumberNo. 4054,4054
PartiesMargaret CHAPPELL, Appellant, v. STATE of Alaska, Appellee.
Decision Date30 March 1979

Walter Share, Asst. Public Defender, Juneau, Brian Shortell, Public Defender, Anchorage, for appellant.

Larry R. Weeks, Dist. Atty., Avrum M. Gross, Atty. Gen., Juneau, for appellee.




Margaret Chappell appeals her sentence of one year in jail on each of six counts for obtaining, by means of false statements, greater public assistance than that to which she is entitled, a violation of AS 47.25.405. The sentences on five of the counts were suspended for a period of one year. 1

From the facts stated in the probation report which were admitted by Mrs. Chappell, she wrongfully obtained, over a six-year period, $34,241.00 from the Aid to Families with Dependent Children Program; $1,148.76 from the Medical Assistance Program and additionally is believed to have received an overpayment of $9,946.00 under the Food Stamp Program. 2

At the time of sentencing, Mrs. Chappell was forty-four years old. She has had twelve children, eleven of whom are living. Seven of the children, ranging in ages from seventeen to eight, resided with Mrs. Chappell and her husband who has been totally disabled since 1967 when he suffered a massive heart attack. Mrs. Chappell has apparently been an excellent mother. The older children are productive members of the Juneau community, and the younger children are well-liked by their classmates and teachers, according to the probation officer's report.

Mrs. Chappell was aware at the time that she filed applications for public assistance that if she reported the total amount of income from her husband's veteran's and social security benefits, she would have been found ineligible for the State Program of Aid to Families with Dependent Children and Medical Assistance. She told the probationary officer that she could not support her husband and her children on the amount of money she was receiving. The probation officer found that Mrs. Chappell was not remorseful at receiving the illegal funds but she was concerned over being caught and was fearful of public condemnation for her conduct.

The probation officer found it highly unlikely that Mrs. Chappell would ever be able to repay the state but considered that since Mrs. Chappell was the head of a family of seven minor children, incarceration would only add to the further financial burden of the Chappell family and the state. The probation officer's report recommended a five-year suspended sentence, including among its conditions partial repayment to the state and voluntary public service during the five-year period.

Although considering Mrs. Chappell's offense to be "outrageous," the district attorney had no suggested alternative to the probation officer's recommendation.

In imposing the sentence of one year to serve, the district court was apparently influenced by the amount of money fraudulently obtained and its belief that no meaningful restitution could be obtained. Although not discussing in detail the Chaney 3 criteria for sentencing, the judge indicated concern with deterring the defendant and others and reaffirmation of societal norms. He further indicated a belief that remorse was a necessary concomitant of rehabilitation, and that incarceration was required in this case to assure meaningful remorse. The court was also influenced by the belief that funds were used for other items than those necessary for support of the family. 4

Mrs. Chappell contends that the district court did not adequately consider the Chaney requirements. In Evans v. State, 574 P.2d 24, 26 (Alaska 1978), we stated:

With reference to the sentence appeal, we hold that a trial judge need only demonstrate consideration of sentencing goals stated in State v. Chaney, 477 P.2d 441 (Alaska 1970). The trial court need not recite the goals of sentencing as long as it is clear that it has considered those goals.

While the sentencing court might well have given a more extensive review of the standards, it was apparent that they were considered and different requirements given varying weights according to the facts of this case.

It is also contended that since the...

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6 cases
  • Andrew v. State, A-201
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Alaska
    • January 25, 1985
  • Smith v. State, 5383
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Alaska
    • November 30, 1984
    ...... See, e.g., Moore v. State, 597 P.2d 975 (Alaska 1979); Chappell v. State, 592 P.2d 1218, 1221 (Alaska 1979); Fox v. State, 569 P.2d 1335, 1337 (Alaska 1977).         Smith's final argument, that his ......
  • Houston v. State, 5364
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Alaska
    • July 30, 1982
    ...sentence.2 State v. Chaney, 477 P.2d 441 (Alaska 1970).3 See also Padie v. State, 594 P.2d 50, 62 n.40 (Alaska 1979); Chappell v. State, 592 P.2d 1218, 1220 (Alaska 1979); Alpiak v. State, 581 P.2d 664, 665 n.2 (Alaska 1978).4 We would prefer that trial judges specifically address each of t......
  • Walls v. State, 4099
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alaska (US)
    • August 24, 1979
    ...not excessive, we do no reach the question of whether the combined maximum for the offenses should be utilized. See Chappell v. State, 592 P.2d 1218, 1221 (Alaska 1979); Fox v. State, 569 P.2d 1335, 1337 (Alaska 1977). But see Ferguson v. State, 590 P.2d 43, 45 (Alaska 1979).2 See Donlun v.......
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