On KDLG's Bristol Bay and Beyond earlier this month, former assistant district attorney Duke Circle spoke with Dave Bendinger about his time in Bristol Bay, the ups and downs of prosecuting cases in small towns, and his view of what's to come for law enforcement amidst shrinking state funding. That conversation is posted below, as is a letter Mr. Circle wrote to the people of Bristol Bay.
Below is "An Open Letter to the People of Bristol Bay," from Duke Circle:
Nearly two years ago I came to the Bristol Bay region as an Assistant District Attorney. It was my first time here. The area was beautiful and the people warm. I had the honor bestowed upon me to represent the people of the Bristol Bay communities for the State of Alaska. Little did I know that I would be leaving due to a budgetary lay-off just short of two years later.
Over the years, I have lived all around most of Alaska in many of its small villages. However, I have never found a place with more gracious and warm people than the Bristol Bay region. I am greeted wherever I go with smiles, well wishes and caring small talk.
Now you might expect such warmth from victims of crime, but the wonderful thing is that the defendants here make up the majority of persons expressing such warmth. Persons for whom I requested jail sentences, some of them long jail terms, have maintained a polite, open and friendly relationship with me. It is great to hear their success stories in making new choices or overcoming prior adversity. It is a remarkable experience that few prosecutors will have the joy of experiencing.
I want to thank all the people in the legal system that have been so much a part of my daily world for the last two years. That includes Judges, court staff, defense attorneys, police, witnesses, jurors, and those who support all those persons. I would be very amiss if I did not especially thank my two fellow ADA's, Mari Carpenetti and Beth Oates, and the DA office staff, in making the completion of my job possible.
I cannot express how wonderful my experience has been here in the Bristol Bay area serving the State of Alaska and the Bristol Bay communities. Working together we have made a difference. I thank each person here who has made my work and living experience so great. The Bristol Bay area is one of Alaska's best kept secrets, as few realize its beauty and the warmth of those living here.
Goodbye (at least for now), and best wishes to all forever.
Duke K. Circle
Former Assistant District Attorney