For his groundbreaking attention to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) from the bench, NOFAS inducts Michael I. Jeffery into the Tom and Linda Daschle FASD Hall of Fame. Judge Jeffery served as a Superior Court Judge in the Second Judicial District in Barrow, Alaska until he retired in 2014 after a 32-year judicial career. He adapted his court activities for FASD-affected individuals, was a prominent figure in the passage of Alaska’s FASD mitigation legislation, and served on numerous statewide committees dealing with FASD and juvenile justice.
The Stanford University and Yale Law School graduate’s caseload included a substantial number of persons affected by FASDs, including felony and misdemeanor criminal action, civil litigation, probate and child welfare, child custody and juvenile delinquency cases. He served on the Alaska statewide Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Steering Committee and presented at numerous FASD trainings. He served as the Alaska Court System representative to the Alaska FASD Partnership and on the advisory board of the federally funded Arctic Regional FASD Training Center at the University of Alaska Anchorage. He has presented on FASD and justice system issues to the Alaska Bar Association, the Alaska Court System and at regional FASD conferences throughout the U.S.
Judge Jeffery was instrumental in the 2012 passage of the Alaska statute that explicitly allows its judges to reduce a felony sentence for an offender diagnosed with an FASD. As he wrote with Teri Tibbett, an advocacy coordinator on the Alaska Mental Health Board, “The statute promised more humane treatment for offenders [living with FASDs] and significant cost savings to the state.” They added that in order to realize this promise communities must move toward the, “Acceptance of Smart Justice,” best practices for providing effective services to lower the risk of criminal behavior by persons affected by an FASD condition, and for those individuals who do get involved in the criminal justice system.
On behalf of its affiliates, partners and members, NOFAS expresses its gratitude to Judge Jeffery for his leadership and compassion, and enshrines him in the FASD Hall of Fame.