842 P.2d 614 (Alaska App. 1992)
At trial, the primary fact in contention was whether defendant drove on a highway or a vehicular way. The defense claimed that he drove within a parking lot, while the State alleged that he drove from the parking lot onto the road. Over objection, the trial court ruled that he would take judicial notice of the fact that the road was a highway as that term was used in § 28.15.291(a)(1).
- Reversing, the court held that in order to convict defendant, the jury was required to find that he drove on a highway or vehicular way or area.
- The manner in which the trial court took judicial notice of the road's status as a highway affected defendant's substantial right to have the jury decide every element of the crime.
- The court agreed with defendant's contention that the trial court's instruction amounted to a directed verdict for the prosecution on one of the essential elements of the charge.
- The error in the case was that the wrong entity judged defendant guilty.
The court reversed the conviction.
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