Former cat owner still wants animals back; plans to sue trial judge

The Juneau woman convicted of neglecting seventeen cats is still trying to appeal her case — filing motion after motion — in an effort to obtain justice and eventually regain ownership of the animals. The latest motions filed by 54-year old Christen Blake allege judicial misconduct and ask for more time to submit documents supporting her appeal.

Blake appears to have given up with her civil suit seeking custody of the cats. That case was essentially thrown out June 1st, but Blake continued filing motions as much as seven weeks after the judge tossed out the lawsuit.

She’s forging ahead in the appeal of her criminal case by acting as her own attorney and producing numerous filings. Many motions are multiple pages in length and some filings include a mix of pages produced on both a manual typewriter and a computer.

After a conviction by a jury in April, Blake was sentenced to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine. But the jail time and fine were both suspended and probation was set at five years. As part of her sentence, she was also forced to give up the cats that she collected and confined in her van at the Auke Bay harbor parking lot last winter. Another condition of her sentence makes any future possession of animals contingent on her compliance with mental health treatment.

The original charge of cruelty to animals in the form of neglect is a misdemeanor normally handled at the District Court level. But the case was eventually handled by Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg of Juneau partly because another judge had recused himself. District Court criminal cases can usually be appealed to Superior Court or the Alaska Court of Appeals. Superior Court Judge David George of Sitka is currently considering the appeal, but it’s unclear yet whether he plans on hearing any oral arguments. CBJ attorneys said they’ll wait to file a response until they know for certain which judge will consider the case.

Meanwhile, as part of her effort to get the cats back, Blake has threatened to sue the trial judge in federal court. In a short letter recently sent to Judge Pallenberg and copied to the local media, Blake said there was never any evidence that she was hurting the cats and alleges that the Gastineau Humane Society is euthanizing all of them. She wants Pallenberg to be found guilty of cruel and unusual treatment.

One cat was returned to its previous owner. Aside from three cats that were considered feral, the rest were put up for adoption. Shelter officials said shortly after the jury trial at that least seven cats were quickly placed in new homes.

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