State defends no-jail sentence for Anchorage man who strangled woman unconscious

The Alaska Department of Law stood by a judge's sentence that calls for no jail time for an Anchorage man who authorities say offered a woman a ride and choked her until she was unconscious.

Justin Schneider, 34, pleaded guilty to one count of felony assault in the case. A kidnapping charge was dropped as part of the plea deal.

Anchorage Superior Court Judge Michael Corey sentenced Schneider to two years with a year suspended.

Schneider also received credit for a year he served under house arrest and will serve no additional time as long as he doesn't violate the conditions of his probation.

The sentence drew public outrage Friday, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

A movement is underway calling for the ouster of the judge. An Anchorage social worker created a Facebook page calling for a "no" vote Nov. 6 on retaining Corey.

Schneider choked an Alaska Native woman and then masturbated over her unconscious body, according to charging documents. He also told the woman he would kill her if she screamed, Anchorage police detective Brett Sarber wrote in a sworn affidavit.

The victim was not present or on the phone during the hearing.

The sentence highlights a deeply flawed legal system, according to sexual assault advocates.

"This is another example of an Alaska Native woman not getting the justice they deserve," said Elizabeth Williams, a sex-assault survivor.

A number of concerned citizens told the state law department that they also believed Schneider's sentence was too lenient.

Anchorage Assistant District Attorney Andrew Grannik has argued that Schneider lost his job as an air traffic controller over the charges and called that a "life sentence."

Criminal Division Director John Skidmore reviewed the case and said it was "consistent with, and reasonable, under current sentencing laws in Alaska."

Schneider did not have a criminal record prior to the incident.
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