Alvarez-Perdomo v. AlaskaAnnotate this Case
The court of appeals determined that Paino Manuel Alvarez-Perdomo was coerced to take the stand at his criminal trial, thus violating his privilege against self-incrimination in both the federal and Alaska constitutions. But the court of appeals held this error was not a structural error requiring reversal, and that the error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. The Alaska Supreme Court granted certiorari to decide an issue of first impression: whether the violation of a criminal defendant’s right not to take the stand was a structural error., The Court concluded it was indeed a structural error, because it implicated personal interests more fundamental than the ordinary risk of a wrongful conviction. Accordingly, the Court reversed the appellate court and remanded for a new trial.