By Chris Klint
Channel 2 News
5:32 PM AKST, November 30, 2012
Experts in Yup'ik Eskimo culture will be allowed to testify in the cases of 21 Bethel area residents arrested last summer for illegally fishing during a poor salmon run, their attorney said after a Friday status hearing.
James J. Davis, Jr. had asked to consolidate the cases so the experts would only be required to testify once. Davis said Judge Bruce Ward did not rule on the consolidation; instead, he said the experts could testify at the first trial and their testimony could be re-used in all the others.
The judge postponed all the trials until a two-week period beginning April 15, 2013. That will give Davis and the prosecution time to submit arguments to the judge about exactly what the experts will be allowed to discuss.
The two sides will also submit arguments on a second motion by Davis, claiming that because the fishermen were engaged in traditional subsistence, their activities are protected under the freedom of religion clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Contact Ed Bennett
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