Track Palin gets plea deal in domestic violence case

Sarah Palin's son is reportedly off to "alcohol-related" treatment

By Mary Elizabeth Williams
Published July 18, 2016 7:56PM (EDT)
Track Palin, pictured in 2008.   (AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Track Palin, pictured in 2008. (AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Things seem to be looking up these days in the Palin household. Donald Trump, whom Sarah Palin endorsed earlier this year  in a speech outstanding even in a field littered with conservative incoherence, is about to become the official Republican nominee for president. The family has recently been enjoying some quality bonding time training to build a wall around America. And now Palin's son Track seems to be getting off pretty lightly after being accused of a domestic violence incident earlier this year.

Back in January, police were called to the Palin home, where 27-year-old Track lives with his parents. One of the calls was from a woman identified as Track's girlfriend, saying that "A male had punched her in the face and that a firearm was involved," and the another was from Track himself, saying, "The female was drunk." Officers reported "his eyes were bloodshot, and there was a strong odor of alcohol on his breath and person,” and he was "uncooperative, belligerent, and evasive with my initial line of questions," and observed "bruising and swelling around her left eye” and “a small red area near her knee."

The girlfriend claimed that Palin had threatened to kill himself, and an unloaded AR-15 was a found on the scene. The Associated Press added at the time that Palin had registered a blood alcohol level of 0.189. (A reading of .08 or higher is considered intoxicated in Alaska.) He was charged with "fourth-degree assault, fourth-degree misconduct involving a weapon and interfering with a report of domestic violence."

In 2014, Track and other family members were involved in another incident — a brawl that broke out during a family party that resulted in police being called to the home. No arrests were made.

Unsurprisingly, it didn't take long after the episode came to light for Mama Grizzly Sarah Palin to announce that the incident was Obama's fault. Palin served in an air guard in the US Army's “Arctic Wolves" during his mother's 2008 run for vice president. And shortly after his January incident, she told the crowd during a speech in Oklahoma, “When my own son is going through what he goes though coming back, I can certainly relate to other families who feel these ramifications of PTSD… our soldiers do return with. And it makes me realize more than ever it is now or never for the sake of America’s finest that we have a commander-in-chief who will respect them. They have to question if they’re respected anymore. It starts from the top. The question, though, that comes from our own president where they have to look at him and wonder, ‘Do you know what we go through? Do you know what we’re trying to do to secure America?'"

This was, by the way, mere days after she'd identified herself as belong to the population of "proud clingers of our guns."

The Alaska Dispatch News reports that the former governor's son has now entered a plea deal in Anchorage's special Veterans Court that will include getting two of three misdemeanor charges against him dropped and entering an "alcohol-related" treatment program. Palin's attorney Kevin Fitzgerald told the Dispatch News that "As a condition of his entry into that court the state dismissed the first two counts. Track pled to misconduct involving weapons (in the fourth degree), concerning being under the influence and having a firearm…. It's a pretty unique court. It's designed to get veterans together and it's designed to generate camaraderie, so they all work together." Alaska has one of the oldest and most impressive Veteran's Court programs in the country.

The News adds that "The system requires criminal defendants plead guilty or no contest to at least one charge against them. They receive conventional court sentences if they don't complete their VA treatment but a lesser sentence if they do." If he successfully completes treatment, the weapons misconduct charge will be struck from his record.

If, as his mother suggests, Palin has been suffering with PTSD — and may also have been dealing with alcohol abuse — for the past several years, then a well-supervised course of treatment is certainly a more merciful and useful course of action than throwing the book at a man who may have just recently been suicidal. The next plan of action for him is to be determined at a Tuesday evaluation. And from there, Fitzgerald tells Radar that “It’s a pretty amazing experience. You go in, and it’s all vets. They talk about their treatment and how they’re doing, and if they’ve done well everybody applauds for them."

Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Alcohol Abuse Domestic Violence Mental Health Sarah Palin Track Palin Veterans