Sitting judges, a public defender, assistant district attorneys and a private practice lawyer are among the eight applicants vying to become the next Kenai Superior Court judge.
Anchorage attorney Roberta C. Erwin; Kenai Magistrate Judge Martin C. Fallon; Anchorage Assistant District Attorney Jason Gist; Kodiak Assistant Public Defender Hatton Greer; Kenai District Attorney Scot H. Leaders; Valdez District Court Judge Daniel Schally; Kenai Assistant District Attorney Samuel D. Scott; and Palmer Assistant District Attorney Shawn Traini have all applied to replace Superior Court Judge Charles T. Huegelet, according to a July 30 Alaska Judicial Council release.
Huegelet will retire in October after 15 years on the Kenai Superior Court bench. The Superior Court seat is the second to open up this year in Kenai — Judge Anna M. Moran retired earlier this month after more than a decade on the Superior Court.
The applicants include several locals, including Fallon and Leaders — who both applied to fill the vacancy left by Moran.
Schally also applied for the position left open by Moran, and was one of the two finalists chosen by the Judicial Council in May. Lance Joanis, who formerly served as the assistant attorney general for the Kenai Children’s Protective Section, was ultimately chosen by the governor for the position.
Kenai Assistant District Scott, a 15-year resident of Alaska who graduated from the University of Houston Law Center in 2000, is also among the applicants.
Other applicants for the upcoming Superior Court vacancy come from a variety of backgrounds.
A 49-year resident of Alaska and graduate of the University of Puget Sound School of Law, Erwin has practice law for 24 years and currently works in private practice in Anchorage.
A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law, Anchorage Assistant District Attorney Jason Gist has lived and practiced law in Alaska for 14 years.
A 42-year resident of Alaska, Greer graduated from the Chicago-Kent School of Law in 2003 and currently serves as an assistant public defender in Kodiak.
Traini, who graduated from the University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law, has lived in Alaska 33 years. He currently serves as an assistant district attorney in Palmer.
Alaska Superior Court judges can hear all cases — both criminal and civil — brought before the state courts, excepting cases that go directly to the Supreme Court. The Superior Court also acts as an appellate court for cases that have already been tried in the District Court.
The seven-member Alaska Judicial Council — made up of the Chief Justice, three public members and three attorney members — will evaluate applicants on a number of criteria, including an applicants’ case history, input from references, former employers and an Alaska Bar Association survey that allows the legal community to give their opinions on the applicants’ legal skills and integrity.
The council will hold public hearings in November to get community input on the candidates before choosing at least two finalists, whose names will be forwarded to the governor. The governor will then have 45 days to make appointments from the council’s list.