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You can search the entire site. or go to the recent opinions, or the chronological or subject indices. State v. Strane (1/10/2003) sp-5655

State v. Strane (1/10/2003) sp-5655

     Notice:   This opinion is subject to correction  before
     publication  in  the  Pacific  Reporter.   Readers  are
     requested to bring errors to the attention of the Clerk
     of  the  Appellate  Courts, 303  K  Street,  Anchorage,
     Alaska 99501, phone (907) 264-0608, fax (907) 264-0878,
     e-mail corrections@appellate.courts.state.ak.us.


            THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF ALASKA

STATE OF ALASKA,              )
                              )    Supreme Court No. S-10033
               Petitioner,         )
                              )    Court of Appeals No. A-7014
      v.                       )    District Court No. 3AN-98-887
CR
                              )
PATRICK STRANE,               )    O P I N I O N
                              )
                Respondent.         )    [No. 5655 - January  10,
2003]
                                                                )


          Petition  for  Hearing  from  the  Court   of
          Appeals  of  the State of Alaska,  on  Appeal
          from   the  District  Court,  Third  Judicial
          District, Anchorage, John R. Lohff, Judge.

          Appearances:     Kenneth    M.    Rosenstein,
          Assistant Attorney General, Office of Special
          Prosecutions  and  Appeals,  Anchorage,   and
          Bruce  M. Botelho, Attorney General,  Juneau,
          for  Petitioner.  Quinlan Steiner,  Assistant
          Public Defender, and Barbara K. Brink, Public
          Defender, Anchorage, for Respondent.

          Before:    Fabe,  Chief  Justice,   Matthews,
          Eastaugh, Bryner, and Carpeneti, Justices.

          BRYNER, Justice.


I.   INTRODUCTION

           Patrick  Strane was charged with violating a  domestic

violence protective order after police found him driving in a car

with  D.A., who had recently obtained an order prohibiting Strane

from having contact with her.  Strane claimed to have acted under

the  belief  that the order would not apply if D.A. consented  to

the  contact.   But  the  district court  precluded  Strane  from

asserting  this belief at trial, ruling as a matter of  law  that

D.A.'s   conduct   had  no  effect  on  the  protective   order's

requirements  and that Strane's mistaken belief to  the  contrary

was  not  a  defense.  The court then found Strane  guilty.   The

question  now  presented  is whether Strane  was  entitled  to  a

defense  based  on his mistaken belief that the no-contact  order

was  inapplicable.  Because Alaska law provides that a protective

order's no-contact requirements apply regardless of the protected

person's  willingness  to  have contact,  we  conclude  that  the

district court properly barred Strane's claim as an impermissible

mistake-of-law defense.

II.  FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS

          D.A. obtained a twenty-day domestic violence protective

order  prohibiting  Patrick Strane from  being  in  her  physical

presence  or  telephoning, contacting, or otherwise communicating

with  her,  directly or indirectly.  Two weeks  later,  a  police

officer stopped Strane's car for speeding and found D.A.  in  the

car  with  Strane.  Strane said that D.A. had contacted  him  and

that  Strane believed he was allowed to have contact with her  if

she consented.  Strane was nonetheless charged with violating the

protective order in violation of AS 11.56.740(a).

          On the morning of trial, the state moved to exclude any

evidence that Strane might offer to establish his belief that the

protective order did not prohibit consensual contact.  The  state

argued  that  mistake of law was not a defense  to  the  offense.

District  Court  Judge John R. Lohff granted the state's  motion,

barring  Strane  from  claiming innocence on  the  basis  of  his

mistaken belief that D.A.'s willingness to have contact with  him

overrode the no-contact order's provisions.

           Given  this ruling, Strane waived his right to a  jury

trial  and agreed to submit the case to Judge Lohff for  decision

on essentially the following facts:

                     1.    A  twenty-day  protective  order  that

               prohibited Strane from being in the presence of or

               having contact with D.A. was issued against him on

               January 21, 1998;

                    2.   The protective order was properly served

               upon  and  read  to  him by a  police  officer  on

               January 28, 1998;

           3.    D.A. telephoned Strane and asked him to pick her

up;

           4.    On  February  2, 1998, Strane  was  stopped  for

speeding;

           5.    At the time he was stopped, D.A. was a passenger

in his car;

                     6.    Strane  understood that the protective

               order prohibited him from contacting D.A., but  he

               did  not realize it also prohibited him from being

               in her "mere presence."

Judge Lohff found Strane guilty of violating the order, rejecting

his  claim that the state had the burden of proving that he  knew

that his conduct was unlawful.

           The  court  of  appeals reversed Strane's  conviction,

ruling  that  the  district court had erroneously  construed  the

statute  defining  the offense of violating a  domestic  violence

restraining  order  -  AS 11.56.740(a) -  as  creating  a  strict

liability  offense.1  We vacated the court of  appeals's  opinion

and  remanded  the  case,  directing that  court  to  focus  more

narrowly  on  the propriety of the specific defense  proposed  by

Strane in light of the undisputed facts in his stipulation.2

          On remand, the court of appeals again reversed Strane's

conviction,  concluding that Strane had  a  right  to  present  a

defense  alleging  that he made a good faith mistake  as  to  how

D.A.'s  consent affected his no-contact order.3  We  granted  the

state's petition for hearing to consider this ruling.

III.      DISCUSSION4

           Paragraphs  (1)  -  (7)  of AS  18.66.100(c)  allow  a

protective  order  issued  in response  to  a  domestic  violence

petition to restrict the respondent's contact with the petitioner

in  seven ways.5  A separate criminal provision, AS 11.56.740(a),

makes  it a crime to violate these restrictions; at the  time  of

Strane's  alleged offense, AS 11.56.740(a) defined the  crime  as

follows:   "A person commits the crime of violating a  protective

order if the person is subject to a protective order containing a

provision  listed  in  AS 18.66.100(c)(1)  -  (7)  and  knowingly

commits  or  attempts  to  commit an act  in  violation  of  that

provision."6   The  heart  of the controversy  in  this  case  is

AS  11.56.740(a)'s language allowing a person to be convicted  of

violating  a  protective  order only if  that  person  "knowingly

commits . . . an act in violation of [AS 18.66.100(c)(1) - (7)]."

The   court   of   appeals  called  this  language  "irresolvably

ambiguous"    and    thoughtfully   analyzed   the    ambiguity's

implications.7   The  court  began  by  describing  two   equally

plausible  meanings  suggested by  subsection  .740(a)'s  use  of

"knowingly": either the word refers solely to conduct,  requiring

only that the defendant act knowingly with respect to the conduct

that  constitutes the offense, or it refers to both the  person's

conduct  and  the  circumstances that make the conduct  unlawful,

requiring that the person act knowingly and with knowledge that a

no-contact order applies to that action.8

           To resolve this ambiguity, the court of appeals turned

to  the  principle of lenity - a maxim of statutory  construction

holding  that  "statutes imposing criminal  liability  should  be

construed  narrowly."9  Reading subsection  .740(a)  narrowly  in

keeping  with this principle, the court interpreted the statute's

declaration that a defendant must "knowingly" commit  an  act  in

violation of a no-contact order as requiring the state  to  prove

that  Strane  knowingly had contact with D.A. and, in  doing  so,

knowingly  disregarded  the fact that his  conduct  violated  the

protective order.10

           The  court  then  addressed  how  this  interpretation

affected  Strane's  right  to present  a  defense  based  on  his

mistaken  belief  that  the protective order  allowed  consensual

contact.   The  court started by considering the criminal  code's

provision defining "knowingly."11  Under this provision, "a person

acts `knowingly' with respect to conduct or to a circumstance" if

the  person  "is  aware  of  a substantial  probability  of  [the

circumstance's] existence, unless the person actually believes it

does  not exist."12 Applying this definition, the court concluded

that  "the  State must prove that Strane . . .  was  aware  of  a

substantial  probability  that his conduct  violated  the  order,

unless  Strane actually believed that his conduct did not violate

the order."13  And because this culpable mental state requirement

would be defeated if Strane proved that he had genuinely believed

that  he  was allowed to have consensual contact with  D.A.,  the

court of appeals ruled that the trial court erred in denying  him

the opportunity to present this defense:

          [B]ecause  we  have construed AS 11.56.740(a)
          to  require  proof  that  a  defendant  acted
          "knowingly"  with regard to the  circumstance
          that  their  conduct violated the  protective
          order,  Strane can potentially defend on  the
          basis of a good-faith mistake concerning  the
          terms  of the protective order, even if  that
          mistake was objectively unreasonable.[14]
          
The court of appeals thus reversed Strane's conviction.

           The  state urges us to reverse the court of  appeals's

ruling  and  to  hold  that subsection .740(a)'s  requirement  of

knowing  action  applies  only to  the  conduct  element  of  the

offense, not to its surrounding circumstances - that the  offense

only  requires knowing action, not a subjective awareness of  the

prohibited nature of those actions.  In response, Strane urges us

to  affirm  the court of appeals's conclusion that the  crime  of

violating  a protective order can be committed only by  a  person

who  knowingly engages in prohibited actions and knows that those

actions are prohibited.

           In  our  view, however, the correct interpretation  of

subsection   .740(a)  lies  somewhere  between   these   opposing

positions.   As already mentioned, during the time at issue  here

subsection  .740(a)  provided  that  the  crime  of  violating  a

protective  order  occurred  when  a  "person  is  subject  to  a

protective  order  .  . . and knowingly commits  or  attempts  to

commit an act in violation of [a no-contact provision included in

the  order]."15   The  court  of  appeals  recognized  that  this

definition   comprises   three  necessary  elements:   prohibited

conduct,  an  inculpating circumstance,  and  a  culpable  mental

state.16  The conduct element requires proof of contact between a

person who is subject to a domestic violence protective order and

the  person  ostensibly protected by that order; the  inculpating

circumstance element requires proof of a valid order containing a

no-contact  provision  that  prohibits  this  contact;  and   the

culpable  mental  state  requirement requires  the  crime  to  be

committed "knowingly."

           Under  subsection .740(a)'s plain terms,  the  conduct

element  of  the  crime must be committed while  the  inculpating

circumstance is present - the defendant must be "subject to"  the

protective  order.   But the scope of the culpable  mental  state

requirement  is  ambiguous: it might attach only to  the  conduct

element  or  it  might  also extend to the circumstance  element.

Invoking  the  rule of lenity, the court of appeals extended  the

culpable mental state requirement to both aspects of the offense.17

We agree with this part of the court's ruling and affirm it.

           But  having  decided  to extend  subsection  .740(a)'s

culpable  mental  state to the surrounding circumstances  of  the

offense, the court of appeals reasoned that this extension  meant

that  "the  State  would  have to prove that  Strane  `knowingly'

disregarded  the  fact that his conduct violated  the  protective

order."18   We  disagree  with this part of  the  court's  ruling

because, in our view, it oversimplifies the circumstance  element

of the disputed offense.

            As  defined  in  subsection .740(a) at  the  time  of

Strane's  offense,  the  circumstance element  of  the  crime  of

violating  a  protective order required proof of at  least  three

distinct  circumstances: (1) the existence of a valid restraining

order applicable to the defendant and the alleged victim; (2) the

existence  in the restraining order of at least one of the  seven

no-contact restrictions listed in AS 18.66.100(c)(1) -  (7);  and

(3) the inclusion in at least one of these listed restrictions of

a  prohibition  covering the specific contact that the  defendant

allegedly  committed.19  Thus, a culpable  mental  state  element

requiring  Strane  to  "knowingly"  disregard  the  circumstances

surrounding  his  conduct  might mean at  least  three  different

things:  (1)  that  Strane had to know that a  valid  restraining

order existed and named him as its subject; (2) that he also  had

to  know of the order's contents - in other words, that he had to

be  on  notice of the relevant no-contact provision; or (3) that,

beyond knowing of the order's existence and contents, Strane  had

to understand its meaning and effect as applied to his conduct  -

that is, that Strane had to realize that the order prohibited his

actions.   In concluding that subsection .740(a) required  Strane

to act knowingly with respect to the inculpating circumstances of

his  conduct,  the  court  of appeals found  this  third  meaning

applicable:  to  be  convicted, the court ruled,  Strane  had  to

realize that his conduct violated the protective order.20  But the

court  failed to explain why it adopted this meaning;  indeed  it

did  not  recognize any other possible meaning.   And  compelling

reasons weigh against the meaning it selected.

           Perhaps  the most prominent reason against  construing

subsection  .740(a)  to  require actual knowledge  of  illegality

resides  in a sister provision to this subsection,  AS 18.66.130,

which  expressly  provides that a petitioner's  consent  to  have

contact  with  a  respondent neither  waives  nor  nullifies  any

provision in a protective order:

                (a)   If  a  respondent in a protective
          order  issued under AS 18.66.100 _  18.66.180
          is  prohibited  from communicating  with  the
          petitioner,  excluded from the  residence  of
          the  petitioner, or ordered to stay away from
          the    petitioner   as   provided    in    AS
          18.66.100(c)(2) - (5), an invitation  by  the
          petitioner   to   communicate,   enter    the
          residence   or   vehicle,   or   have   other
          prohibited  contact with the petitioner  does
          not  waive  or  nullify any  provision  in  a
          protective order.[21]
          
Enacted  as  part of the Domestic Violence Prevention and  Victim

Protection Act of 1996, this provision expressly limits the scope

of   defenses  that  might  otherwise  be  available   under   AS

11.56.740(a).

           Furthermore, by specifying that consent has no  effect

on   a   no-contact  order,  AS  18.66.130(a)  activates  another

important provision of law, AS 11.81.620(a).  This statute limits

the  effect  that  mistake or ignorance of the law  can  have  on

criminal  liability:  it  prohibits courts  from  interpreting  a

provision  defining  a  crime to require proof  of  "[k]nowledge,

recklessness,  or  criminal  negligence  as  to  whether  conduct

constitutes an offense . . . unless the provision of law  clearly

so provides."22  Under the limiting effects of this ignorance-of-

law  provision,  AS  11.56.740(a)'s ambiguous  phrase  "knowingly

commits  or  attempts  to  commit  an  act  in  violation  of  [a

protective  order]," cannot be construed to  require  proof  that

Strane understood that his conduct constituted an offense.   This

conclusion    follows   because   the   mistake-of-law    statute

categorically forbids adopting this meaning "unless the provision

of  law  clearly so provides";23 and because subsection .740(a)'s

definition   of  the  culpable  mental  state  for  violating   a

restraining  order  is,  in the court  of  appeals's  own  words,

"irresolvably  ambiguous,"24 the statute's reference  to  knowing

conduct  certainly does not "clearly provide"  for  knowledge  of

illegality.   The  defense Strane sought to  raise  below  -  his

mistaken  belief concerning the effect of D.A.'s consent  -  thus

falls   squarely  within  AS  11.81.620(a)'s  definition   of   a

prohibited claim of ignorance of the law.

           A  recent court of appeals decision nicely illustrates

this point, albeit in a slightly different statutory context.  In

Busby v. State, the defendant was convicted of driving while  his

license was revoked.25  The court of appeals had previously  held

that  the  statute  defining the crime of driving  while  license

revoked  required proof of criminal negligence as  to  the  chief

inculpating circumstance of the offense - the revoked  status  of

the  license.26   Like Strane, who admitted knowing  that  a  no-

contact  order existed at the time of his alleged offense,  Busby

acknowledged knowing that his Alaska license was suspended.27  But

Busby sought to defend himself based on his mistaken belief  that

an  international  driver's license he had subsequently  obtained

overrode  the Alaska suspension and allowed him to  drive.28   In

affirming  the  trial court's refusal to allow Busby  to  present

this defense, the court of appeals explained:

          Busby  admittedly  knew  that  the  State  of
          Alaska  had  revoked  his  driver's  license.
          That  license  revocation was  what  prompted
          Busby   to   research  the   law   concerning
          international driving permits and the  United
          Nations  Convention on Road Traffic.   Rather
          than   claiming  ignorance  of  his   license
          revocation,  Busby wanted to  tell  the  jury
          about  his understanding of the legal  effect
          of  that  revocation.  He wished  to  testify
          that,   based  on  his  legal  research,   he
          believed   that  his  international   driving
          permit   entitled  him  to  drive  in  Alaska
          despite   the  fact  that  his  license   was
          revoked.
          
                   AS   11.81.620   declares   that   a
          defendant's   "knowledge,  recklessness,   or
          criminal  negligence as to the . . .  meaning
          .  . . or application of the provision of law
          defining  an offense . . . is not an  element
          of  [the] offense unless the provision of law
          clearly  so provides."  AS 28.15.291(a),  the
          statute defining the crime of driving with  a
          suspended  or  revoked  license,   does   not
          specify   that  the  government  must   prove
          anything  about  the  defendant's  subjective
          understanding of the effect or scope  of  the
          license  suspension or revocation.   Instead,
          the  government must prove that the defendant
          knew or should have known that the suspension
          or  revocation  had occurred.  Therefore,  it
          was  irrelevant whether Busby had  researched
          the  Convention on Road Traffic, and  it  was
          likewise   irrelevant   whether   Busby   had
          mistakenly concluded, based on this research,
          that   his   international   driving   permit
          authorized him to drive in Alaska despite the
          fact that his Alaska license was revoked.[29]
          
           For  almost  identical reasons,   Strane's  subjective

understanding of the effect or scope of the protective order's no-

contact restriction was likewise irrelevant.  It does not  matter

whether Strane mistakenly concluded - for whatever reason -  that

the  no-contact  order  was inapplicable  to  his  conduct;  what

matters according to Busby is Strane's admitted awareness of  the

restraining order's existence and contents.

           The  court of appeals's opinion in Strane nevertheless

suggested  that  the court thought a different  rule  applies  to

mistake-of-law claims in cases involving disregard  for  judicial

orders.30  This suggestion is embedded in Strane's discussion  of

an earlier court of appeals precedent, Russell v. State.31  Mavis

Russell  had been subpoenaed to testify in a criminal  trial  and

was charged with contempt after failing to appear.32  She claimed

at  trial that she had believed the subpoena to be invalid.33  In

discussing this defense, the court of appeals in Russell observed

that  "[t]he essence of Russell's argument appears to be a  claim

of  mistake  of  fact."34  But in Strane,  the  court  questioned

Russell's   characterization,  commenting   that   "[o]ne   might

plausibly  argue that Russell's defense amounted to  a  claim  of

`mistake of law.' "35  The court in Strane then construed Russell

to  stand for the proposition that "questions as to what  conduct

is  required  or  prohibited  by a court  order  are  treated  as

questions  of  fact."36  But this interpretation  of  Russell  is

overly  broad, for Russell's characterization of the  defense  at

issue there hinged on the unique facts of that case.

          The subpoena at issue in Russell had originally ordered

Mavis  Russell  to  appear  on January 12.37   Without  notifying

Russell,  the trial court canceled the January date and continued

the trial until March.38  Despite this cancellation, however, the

court  ordered the January 12 subpoenas to remain in effect,  and

Russell  was  later charged with contempt for failing  to  appear

that day.39  In the ensuing contempt trial, Russell attributed her

failure  to appear to a mistake that occurred because she learned

that  the trial had been continued but was never notified of  the

order  keeping the original subpoenas in effect.40   Given  these

circumstances, the dispute in Russell turned on Russell's lack of

notice  of  the  intervening order - a mistake involving  a  true

question  of fact - rather than her understanding of the original

subpoena's  meaning and effect.  Thus, we do not read Russell  to

suggest  that  the  usual  rule  precluding  defenses  based   on

ignorance  of  the  law  must  be  relaxed  in  prosecutions  for

violating judicial orders.

           Nor  does  precluding Strane's mistake-of-law  defense

create  a constitutional problem.  The court of appeals  did  not

act  out of constitutional necessity when it selected "knowingly"

as  the  culpable  mental state that applies to the  circumstance

element for the crime of violating a protective order.41  Instead,

it  selected  this  standard only because  the  word  "knowingly"

appeared  in the text of the statute then defining the offense.42

Strane   now   claims  that  this  culpable   mental   state   is

constitutionally mandated.  Yet Strane cites no cases  suggesting

that  due  process requires courts to recognize claims  of  legal

ignorance when they arise solely from the defendant's failure  to

understand  an  order whose meaning and effect are  unambiguously

spelled out by statute.

           The  closest  Strane comes to a relevant precedent  is

Hentzner  v.  State.43  But Hentzner's holding  is  unremarkable.

Harry Hentzner had solicited money to develop gold mining claims,

promising  to repay the investments with gold from his  claims.44

He  was convicted of selling unregistered securities under former

AS  45.55.210(a), which provided that a "wilful violation" of the

Securities Act was a felony.45  The registration statute at issue

relied  on  a  definition  of  "security"  that  listed  numerous

undefined  types of instruments and transactions, that ultimately

encompassed  "any  interest or instrument  commonly  known  as  a

`security,' " and that had been construed as looking  to  federal

securities   law  for  a  source  of  more  precise  definitional

guidance.46  Hentzner's charge was based on the theory that he had

offered and sold an "investment contract," as that term was  used

in this definition.47

           The trial judge told Hentzner's jury that Hentzner did

"not  have  to  intentionally violate the law; he (did)  have  to

intentionally  do the acts which are prohibited  by  law."48   We

reversed.   Noting that the conduct regulated by  the  Securities

Act  is  malum  prohibitum,  that  the  act  regulates  extremely

complicated commercial transactions, and that Hentzner's offenses

were  felonies  carrying  maximum  terms  of  twenty  years,   we

concluded  that the statutory requirement of a "wilful violation"

required something "more than mere conscious action."49  We  thus

relied   on  contemporaneous  federal  cases  construing  similar

securities statutes to hold that "in securities crimes prosecuted

under  statutes similar in structure to AS 45.55.210(a), `wilful'

requires awareness of wrongdoing as an essential element  of  the

offense."50   But while recognizing the "awareness of wrongdoing"

standard as one that would certainly pass constitutional  muster,

we  stopped short of holding that this particular culpable mental

state was constitutionally necessary.51

           Moreover,  even  if  Hentzner had purported  to  adopt

"awareness of wrongdoing" as a standard that was constitutionally

mandated  in the particular setting at issue there, that standard

would  not apply here, for Strane's case is distinguishable  from

Hentzner's  in at least two ways.  The first point of distinction

involves the practical issue of notice.  Before being prosecuted,

Hentzner  had received no prior warning or notice that he  needed

to  comply with the requirements of the Securities Act; and  even

had  he  received  such  notice,  the  complexity  of  the  act's

regulatory  regime  and  its intricate,  abstract  definition  of

securities  would  have  made  it  extremely  difficult  for  any

reasonable person to confidently predict how the act might  apply

to  Hentzner's  activities.   In  stark  contrast  to  Hentzner's

situation,  though,  Strane  received  specific  notice  of   his

continuing  obligation  to  comply  with  the  domestic  violence

restraining  order  and was explicitly notified  of  the  order's

contents   -   its  facially  clear  and  unqualified  no-contact

provisions.   Had  he bothered to check, moreover,  Strane  would

have  discovered  black-letter law unambiguously  confirming  the

order's literal meaning and scope.  In these circumstances, then,

knowledge  of  the order's existence and contents  seems  a  fair

substitute for Hentzner's "awareness of wrongdoing" requirement.

           The  second feature distinguishing Strane's case  from

Hentzner  is  the complete absence of precedent here.   As  noted

above,  Hentzner drew its "awareness of wrongdoing" test  from  a

significant   body   of  federal  precedent  addressing   similar

violations  prosecuted  under nearly identical  securities  laws.

Yet here, by contrast, Strane cites no comparable case, let alone

any line of case law, adopting subjective awareness of wrongdoing

as  a necessary or appropriate culpable mental state for a person

accused of violating a domestic violence restraining order's  no-

contact  provisions.  We know of no decision  from  the  domestic

violence arena supporting Strane's position.  And as the court of

appeals  observed in Strane, courts ruling in the analogous  area

of  criminal contempt routinely apply a culpable mental state  of

reckless  disregard, a standard less demanding on the prosecution

than  consciousness of wrongdoing, and one that does  not  permit

defenses  based on either a pure mistake of law or a  good  faith

but unreasonable mistake of fact.52

           In summary, then, the court of appeals ruled correctly

insofar as it interpreted AS 11.56.740(a) as requiring the  state

to  prove that Strane's actions were knowing, that he knew of the

restraining  order's  existence, and that he  was  aware  of  its

literal requirements.  But the court erred in requiring the state

to  go  further by proving that Strane also knew that his conduct

violated  the  law  -  that  he  actually  understood  that   the

protective order's requirements applied to his actions regardless

of  D.A.'s  consent and that his conduct therefore  violated  the

protective order.  As explained above, AS 18.66.130(a)  precludes

this  interpretation by establishing as a matter of  law  that  a

respondent's consent has no legal effect on the requirements of a

no-contact order.  And under AS 11.81.620(a), Strane cannot claim

ignorance  of  AS 18.66.130(a) as a defense to his charge,  since

the  statutory  definition  of violating  a  protective  order  -

AS   11.56.740(a)  -  contains  no  clear  legislative  directive

allowing that defense.

           We  thus hold that AS 11.56.740(a) did not require the

state  to prove Strane's actual knowledge of illegality; instead,

the  statute's  culpable  mental  state  requirement  as  to  the

surrounding circumstances of the offense could be met by  showing

that  Strane  knew  of  the  restraining  order's  existence  and

contents  and  that,  so  knowing, he  recklessly  disregarded  a

substantial   and  unjustifiable  risk  that  his   conduct   was

prohibited  by the order.  Since ignorance of the law  is  not  a

defense  under this culpable mental state requirement, it follows

that  the  district court did not err in precluding  Strane  from

presenting  his  ignorance  of law defense;  and  since  Strane's

recklessness as to the illegality of his conduct could readily be

inferred from his admitted knowledge of the order's existence and

contents,  the stipulated evidence supports the district  court's

judgment of conviction.

IV.  CONCLUSION

           For  these reasons, we REVERSE the court of  appeals's

decision and AFFIRM the district court's judgment of conviction.

_______________________________
1See  State  v.  Strane, Mem. Op. & J. No. 0935 at  2-3  (Alaska,
September  22,  1999)  (vacating Strane v. State,  981  P.2d  122
(Alaska  App.  1999),  withdrawn, 1999  WL  378740  (Alaska  App.
1999)).
2Id. at 4.
3See Strane v. State, 16 P.3d 745, 752 (Alaska App. 2001).
4We review questions of statutory construction de novo.  Todd  v.
State,  917  P.2d  674,  677  (Alaska 1996).   When  interpreting
statutes,  we use the statutory language as our "primary  guide."
Commercial Fisheries Entry Comm'n v. Apokedak, 680 P.2d 486  489-
90   (Alaska  1984).   We  also  consider  collectively  statutes
addressing  common subject matter, reading them "as  a  whole  in
order  that a total scheme evolves which maintains the  integrity
of  each  act and avoids ignoring one or the other."  Hafling  v.
Inlandboatmen's  Union  of Pacific, 585  P.2d  870,  878  (Alaska
1978).
5AS 18.66.100(c) provides, in relevant part:

                A  protective order under this  section
          may
          
                 (1)    prohibit  the  respondent  from
          threatening to commit or committing  domestic
          violence, stalking, or harassment;
          
                 (2)    prohibit  the  respondent  from
          telephoning,    contacting,   or    otherwise
          communicating directly or indirectly with the
          petitioner;
          
                (3)   remove and exclude the respondent
          from   the   residence  of  the   petitioner,
          regardless of ownership of the residence;
          
                (4)  direct the respondent to stay away
          from  the  residence,  school,  or  place  of
          employment of the petitioner or any specified
          place  frequented  by the petitioner  or  any
          designated household member;
          
                 (5)    prohibit  the  respondent  from
          entering   a   propelled   vehicle   in   the
          possession of or occupied by the petitioner;
          
                (6)  prohibit the respondent from using
          or  possessing a deadly weapon if  the  court
          finds   the  respondent  was  in  the  actual
          possession  of  or used a weapon  during  the
          commission of domestic violence;
          
                (7)  direct the respondent to surrender
          any   firearm  owned  or  possessed  by   the
          respondent  if  the  court  finds  that   the
          respondent was in the actual possession of or
          used  a firearm during the commission of  the
          domestic violence[.]
          
6AS 11.56.740(a) was amended in 2002 to read:

          A  person  commits the crime of  violating  a
          protective order if the person is subject  to
          a  protective  order containing  a  provision
          listed  in  AS  18.66.100(c)(1)  -  (7)   and
          knowingly  commits or attempts to  commit  an
          act  with  reckless disregard  that  the  act
          violates or would violate a provision of  the
          protective order.
          
7Strane, 16 P.3d at 747, 750-52.
8Id. at 750.
9Id.  at  751  (quoting State v. ABC Towing, 954  P.2d  575,  579
(Alaska App. 1998)).
10Id. at 752.
11Id. (discussing AS 11.81.900(a)(2)'s definition of "knowingly").
12AS 11.81.900(a)(2) defines the mental state of "knowingly":

                     [A]  person acts "knowingly"  with
          respect  to  conduct  or  to  a  circumstance
          described  by a provision of law defining  an
          offense  when  the person is aware  that  the
          conduct  is  of  that  nature  or  that   the
          circumstance  exists; when knowledge  of  the
          existence of a particular fact is an  element
          of  an offense, that knowledge is established
          if   a  person  is  aware  of  a  substantial
          probability  of  its  existence,  unless  the
          person actually believes it does not exist; a
          person  who  is  unaware  of  conduct  or   a
          circumstance of which the person  would  have
          been   aware   had  that  person   not   been
          intoxicated  acts knowingly with  respect  to
          that conduct or circumstance[.]
          
13Strane, 16 P.3d at 752.
14Id.
15AS 11.56.740(a).
16See  Strane, 16 P.3d at 749-50 (explaining the culpable  mental
state  required when a statute makes conduct criminal only  under
certain circumstances).
17Id. at 752.
18Id. at 750.  Relying on the statutory definition of "knowingly,"
AS  11.81.900(a)(2), the court of appeals also observed that  the
state  could  alternatively prove "that Strane  was  aware  of  a
substantial  probability  that his conduct  violated  the  order,
unless  Strane actually believed that his conduct did not violate
the  order."   Id. at 752.  Because this aspect of the  statutory
definition has no bearing on our decision, we need not discuss it
here.
19See AS 11.56.740(a).
20Strane, 16 P.3d at 752.
21AS 18.66.130(a).  AS 18.66.130 also requires a protective order
to   expressly  state  in  bold-face  type  that  a  petitioner's
invitation "does not in any way invalidate or nullify the order."
AS  18.66.130(d)(2).   In  keeping  with  this  requirement,  the
protective  order issued against Strane contained the  bold-faced
warning:  "If  you  are  ordered to  have  no  contact  with  the
petitioner  .  . . an invitation by the petitioner  to  have  the
prohibited  contact  .  . . does not in  any  way  invalidate  or
nullify the order."
22AS 11.81.620 declares:

          Effect   of   ignorance   or   mistake   upon
          liability.
          
                 (a)    Knowledge,   recklessness,   or
          criminal  negligence as  to  whether  conduct
          constitutes   an   offense,   or   knowledge,
          recklessness,  or criminal negligence  as  to
          the existence, meaning, or application of the
          provision of law defining an offense, is  not
          an element of an offense unless the provision
          of  law  clearly  so provides.   Use  of  the
          phrase "intent to commit a crime", "intent to
          promote  or  facilitate the commission  of  a
          crime", or like terminology in a provision of
          law  does not require that the defendant  act
          with  a  culpable  mental  state  as  to  the
          criminality of the conduct that is the object
          of the defendant's intent.
          
23AS 11.81.620(a).
24Strane, 16 P.3d at 747.
2540 P.3d 807, 809 (Alaska App. 2002).
26Id. at 816 (citing the interpretation of AS 28.15.291 adopted in
Gregory v. State, 717 P.2d 428, 431 (Alaska App. 1986)).
27Id. at 816.
28Id.
29Id. at 816-17.
30See Strane, 16 P.3d at 748-49.
31793 P.2d 1085 (Alaska App. 1990).
32Id. at 1086.
33Id. at 1087.
34Id.
35Strane, 16 P.3d at 748.
36Id. at 749.
37Russell, 793 P.2d at 1086.
38Id.
39Id.
40Id.
41See Strane, 16 P.3d at 752.
42Id.
43613 P.2d 821 (Alaska 1980).
44Id. at 822.
45Id. at 822, 824-25.
46See  id.  at 823-24 & n. 4 (quoting AS 45.55.130 and discussing
pertinent federal law).
47Id. at 823.
48Id. at 825.
49Id. at 826-27 & n.10.
50Id. at 827.
51Id. at 828.
52Strane, 16 P.3d at 748-49.