Appeal disputes exclusion of village residents from juries

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The Alaska Court of Appeals' decision on a case could impact how remote Alaska village residents are included in juries.

Alaska Public Media reports attorney Kelly Taylor argued Thursday that his client, Teddy Kyle Smith, was not tried by a jury of his peers when he was convicted of attempted murder for shooting two men near his home village of Kiana in 2012.

Smith's trial was in Kotzebue, the closest courthouse to Kiana but still more than 50 miles away.

Alaska jurors are only assigned to criminal trials from communities within 50 miles of the courthouse where the trial is held.

Taylor says the court will have to decide whether the right to participate in jury service of village residents is violated by their categorical exclusion from the jury panel in the case.

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