Jury Finds Hubbards Not Guilty on All Counts

F/V Kruzof seen recently in Seward small boat harbor

F/V Kruzof seen recently in Seward small boat harbor

By Rick Smeriglio for Seward City News –

At about 8:00 pm on Tuesday the 15, a jury of 12 returned a unanimous verdict of not guilty on all 12 counts against James T. Hubbard and Rhonda K. Anderson-Hubbard, who own J&R Fisheries and operate F/V Kruzof. On the most serious charge of attempted perjury, the jury could not agree that Mr. Hubbard’s actions satisfied all four conditions needed for a guilty verdict. On the misdemeanors of falsifying information on fish tickets, the jurors could not agree that the Hubbards intended to deceive anyone. State of Alaska has not announced whether it will pursue the matter further on appeal.

The morning after the verdict, Mrs. Hubbard said, “I’m heartened by the people [the jurors] who took the time for us.”

Hubbard said that after the verdict, one juror thanked the Hubbards for “fighting for us”. The jury deliberated for about 4 hours after spending about 7 days hearing witnesses and considering evidence. State of Alaska pays them $25 a day, but not for the first day.



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Juror Bobby Dunno, a diesel instructor at Alaska Vocational Technical Center related some of the jury’s grappling with the charge of attempted perjury. According to Carol Holley, Assistant Attorney General in the State of Alaska Office of Special Prosecutions who prosecuted the case, the jury had to find that Mr. Hubbard did four things to have committed the crime. He had to have (one) knowingly made a sworn statement (two) that statement must be false (three) he had to know the statement was false and (four) he had to have taken a substantial step regarding the subject of the statements. In this case, Mr. Hubbard made statements about whether he bought fish from other licensed fishermen on his boat. Dunno said the jury thought that Hubbard made a true statement and must have regarded it as true.

When asked whether he thought the jury system worked in this case, Dunno said, “Yeah, I think so.”

Fish tickets (issued by fish buyers to fish sellers) lay at the core of this case. Dunno explained that the jury found the ticket coding system for various species and various dispositions, “fuzzy”. The tickets lacked a code for what the Hubbards wanted to do with some of the fish they landed. They wanted to sell some outright at the wholesale level and they wanted to keep some to sell through their retail business, J&R Fisheries. They had state-issued licenses to do both or either.

After a year of court proceeding before the trial, the Hubbards seemed ready to resume work. On Wednesday morning, the crew of F/V Kruzof had the boat out conducting oil spill drills and safety training.

Rhonda Hubbard seemed relieved when she said, “I’m trying to get back to marketing and selling fish.”

4 Comments

  1. Congratulations Jim and Rhonda. Best wishes. Pam and Mike.

  2. ericlandenburger says:

    Good job Jury! I was able to attend three days of the trial, and was impressed by the attention the jury members paid to the testimony. From what I heard, It was obvious to me that the amount of taxes the State was accusing the Hubbard’s of avoiding on a few lbs. of by catch was miniscule compared to the value of say 80,000 lbs. of halibut that was the bulk of a given landing. It appeared to be a matter of reporting format confusion rather than tax evasion. Ten years in jail? – Absurd! The real question here is how much the state squandered in pursuing this attack on the Hubbard’s who should praised for their hard work and business acumen, rather than being dragged thru the ringer. I’m certain the cost both in dollars and emotional stress to Rhoda and Jim in fighting this frivolous attack has been immense, and I hope there is some avenue where the State can be forced to compensate them. Here in Alaska many folks consider the federal government to be the “bad guy”, and the State as being more concerned with the wellbeing of Alaskans. But in this instance, I find it frightening that the State would use its immense power to persecute good people. If the State can do this to the Hubbard’s, who fortunately had the resources to fight the charges, then a couple vindictive bureaucrats could destroy any of us who might not be in a position to wage a court battle. I truly love Alaska, but I’m ashamed of the attack my state made on these fine people.

  3. ericlandenburger says:

    Rhonda – sorry for misspelling your name in the above.

  4. From what I saw and heard it seemed like much ado about nothing, but it sure caused a lot of sleepless nights and money on both sides. Ridiculous. Rhonda hoped that the jury would listen with their hearts, and apparently they did.

    Good thing the Kruzoff didn’t get Kruzoffied. Dot