FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Press Contact:
October 23, 2008 Robin Koutchak
Assistant Attorney General
Noorvik Man Pleads Guilty to
Manufacturing Home Brew
(Anchorage, AK) – Leon Outwater, Sr., age 41 of Noorvik, entered a guilty plea on October 15,
2008 before Judge Richard Erlich in Kotzebue Superior Court, to the felony of Manufacturing
Alcohol Without a License or Permit in a Local Option Area.
Outwater, Sr., a former Noorvik Village Police Officer from 2006-2007, was arrested in July
after police were called to the house in regard to an assault. Outwater’s 19-year-old nephew
reported he had been punched in the face by his uncle when he refused to pay his uncle an
additional $10 for the homebrew the nephew had drank.
Noorvik, population 634 located 47 miles east of Kotzebue, is a community which banned the
sale and importation of alcohol in 1987.
Outwater is the first person in Alaska to be sentenced under the State’s new bootlegging laws
which went into effect July 1, 2008. Outwater’s sentence was 36 months in jail, with 24 months
suspended, a $10,000 fine, mandatory in-patient alcohol treatment, and 3 years of probation. A
condition of probation allows a warrantless search of Outwater when he is traveling to local
option areas. The new law sets out a minimum fine of $10,000 for a first and subsequent offense
and increased mandatory jail time ranging from 120 days for a second offense to 360 days for a
Assistant Attorney General Robin Koutchak of the Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals,
Alcohol Interdiction Unit represented the state at sentencing. Judge Erlich noted Mr. Outwater’s
desire for change from his alcohol addiction but cautioned Mr. Outwater that wanting change
and making change happen were “two different things.”
Deputy Attorney General Rick Svobodny said the new sentencing law was in response to
villages that voted to ban alcohol. "These prosecutions are an effort to stop alcoholism, and the
violence and other social ills that occur in rural Alaska because of alcohol."