James Nick Sentenced to 18 Years for 2013 Assault on Anchorage Police Officer
March 10, 2016
On March 4, 2016, 33 year old James Nick was sentenced for four felony offenses, including a felony assault on an Anchorage Police Officer. Nick had previously pled guilty to assault in the third degree, misconduct involving a controlled substance in the third degree, failure to stop at the direction of a peace officer, and burglary in September 2015. Based on his guilty pleas, he faced a sentence of up to 25 years in prison. Anchorage Superior Court Judge Michael Wolverton sentenced Nick to a composite sentence of 25 years with seven years suspended and five years of felony probation.
On August 21, 2013, Nick was contacted by a uniformed Anchorage Police Officer conducting an investigation into a stolen vehicle. When the officer contacted Nick, Nick responded by pointing a firearm at the officer and firing several rounds. The officer was not injured but Nick was able to evade arrest.
Anchorage Police obtained an arrest warrant for Nick and conducted surveillance to find and arrest him. On August 22, 2013, members of the Anchorage Police Department contacted Nick in a stolen vehicle. Nick repeatedly told the officers he was not going back to jail and they would have to kill him. Nick did not comply with the officers’ commands and would not show the officers his hands. The officers tried to detain Nick, and Nick responded by ramming Anchorage Police vehicles then fled on foot.
Anchorage Police used a canine to assist in Nick’s apprehension. The dog was able to bite Nick but Nick fought with the dog and ultimately got away. Officers then used nonlethal bullets and struck Nick with Tazer prongs, causing Nick to finally collapse. Officers found a loaded firearm in the vehicle Nick used to ram the patrol vehicles.
At the sentencing hearing, Judge Wolverton heard from a substance abuse counselor who described the long-term psychological and physiological impacts of methamphetamines, which is believed to have been a factor in Nick’s crimes. Nick addressed Judge Wolverton as well as the courtroom, which included members of his family, the officer he shot at, as well as several other Anchorage Police officers. Nick explained that he was “not arrested but was rescued” by the Anchorage Police Department. He apologized to the officer he shot at as well as the entire Anchorage Police Department. Nick told Judge Wolverton he was tired of what drugs have done to him, his family and his friends. He asked the court for forgiveness.
Judge Wolverton commented on the improvements he noted in Nick’s behavior and indicated hope for Nick’s continued recovery. Judge Wolverton complimented the Anchorage Police Department for their forbearance and restraint in their use of deadly force. Judge Wolverton told Nick that in many other jurisdictions in the country, Nick would have been shot and killed by the police and it would have been justified.
Judge Wolverton explained that his sentence focused on isolation for the protection of the public, community condemnation, and reaffirmation of societal norms. Judge Wolverton placed Nick on probation, explaining that he believed probation was a necessary component of Nick’s rehabilitation.
CONTACT: District Attorney Clint Campion @ (907) 269-6300 at the Anchorage District Attorney’s Office.
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