A good defense attorney can help a client in Alaska’s confusing and complicated legal system. There are many fundamentals about law that require consideration; and there are advantages to working with a lawyer with prestige and a proven history of courtroom success that can provide a client with the information needed to get the most out of their investment.
Attorney, Rex Lamont Butler is the owner of Rex Butler and Associates, a law firm located in Anchorage, Alaska and has practiced law in Alaska for over 32 years.
Benjamin Briggs: Good afternoon, Welcome to the show. This is Benjamin Briggs with the Alaska Business Journal and today we have with us Mr. Rex Lamont Butler esquire, practitioner of law and member of the Alaska Bar Association.
Rex Butler: Today we are going to be talking about his practice, some leagal approaches and what lies in the future of law, so without further ado, welcome to the show Mr. Butler.
Benjamin Briggs: How long have you been in Alaska?
Rex Butler: I came to Alaska the first time in the summer of 1982 and did an internship with an attorney named M. Ashley Dickerson and I went back to finish up my third and final year of law school. In the course of that year decided I will come back to Alaska. I came back that following summer of 1983 and I’ve been here since then.
Benjamin Briggs: Give us some history of you, your qualifications and any other ventures that you are involved in.
Rex Butler: In my family linage. I and my brother Cranson were the first to go to college. We both graduated in 1977, but he graduated from West Point and fulfilled a military career that spanned just over 20 years. I got my bachelors degree from University of North Florida at Jacksonville at a time when it was a very small school and fairly new. I think it opened in 1974 and I graduated in ‘77. I went to the Florida junior college for two years and graduated there with my associate’s degree and then I transferred to the University of North Florida. The University of North Florida, at that time, was built to allow students coming out of the junior colleges in Florida to go there to finish up. I attended two more years indulging in majors and graduated with a bachelor’s degree.
Benjamin Briggs: You definitely have to have time management skills.
Rex Butler: Well you have to. And energy management as well; I can recall working from 3 to 11 Monday through Friday at the City hospital in Jacksonville Florid; and that was the busiest hospital. Jacksonville had its share of ghettos and high rises and crime and so it wasn’t unusual on my shift to be called down to the emergency room to take an emergency x-ray of someone who’d been knifed, shot or had been in an automobile accident. If you were poor had no insurance then the EMTs, at that time, would take you to the city hospital.
Benjamin Briggs: That sounds like an interesting history. In anchorage…whether you know this or not, you are seen as a premier defense attorney. What is it like having that kind of stature in this city?
Rex Butler: I didn’t know that’s how people seen me. But I do know that I’m a senior attorney. Obviously that creates some degree of pressure because you’re expected to know a lot. And while it’s true it would probably be difficult for me to be faced with something I have not been faced with before. It’s different when you’re a young lawyer. The law changes all the time and even though you have a lot of knowledge as a senior, you have to keep up with the law and because it changes all the time. A certain legislative group gets into play in Juneau and they change the law.
Benjamin Briggs: So basically, you have to stay ready so you don’t have to get ready?
Rex Butler: Exactly!
Benjamin Briggs: Do I need a criminal defense attorney if I have been falsely accused?
Rex Butler: Absolutely…In fact, you need a criminal defense attorney before you utter a syllable to police. That’s one of the major problems in the country is that people do not listen when their read those Miranda rights.
Benjamin Briggs: They just keep talking?
Rex Butler: They wave them like they’re invaluable. Your Miranda rights are the most valuable thing you have going at that moment.
Benjamin Briggs: What if the police violated my constitutional rights, how would I go about that?
Rex Butler: If this is the case, you need to talk to a civil lawyer. And you want one that has likely taken on the government civilly in the past for police misconduct. There aren’t that many civil lawyers here in Alaska. Alaska is a very conservative state and people do not like to hand out awards against police officers.
Benjamin Briggs: State vs. Federal court. What is the difference concerning criminal defense issues?
Rex Butler: In state court, you get a lot of discovery. Defendants get to know who all the players are, and get their statements. All is up front before you go to trial. In federal land, they don’t have to give you the names of all the players in the case who’s informing on your client.
You don’t get that information up front nor do you get the interview statement that was made by them up front. You have to wait until you get to trial. Sometimes you get it the Friday before trial starts or the day the trial starts. Sometimes you might be lucky enough to get a day or two earlier. But the remedy is to ask for a continuance of your trial.
While you’re in trial, when they call a witness to the stand, they don’t have to give you the statement until it’s time to cross examination the witness. At this point, you have to take that time to read the statement and go in there and do your cross unless you can have a reason to put it off until the next day or the following week.