Carpeneti appoints presiding judges

Ketchikan Superior Court Judge Trevor Stephens is the new presiding judge for the First Judicial District, which encompasses Juneau and the rest of Southeast Alaska.

Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Walter Carpeneti yesterday (Tuesday) appointed the presiding judges for the state’s four judicial districts.

Superior Court Judge Ben Esch has been named presiding judge for the Second Judicial District covering the most northern areas of the state, including Barrow, Nome and Kotzebue superior courts.

Superior Court Judge Sen K. Tan is the presiding judge for the Third Judicial District for Southcentral Alaska and the Aleutian chain; and Superior Court Judge Douglas Blankenship will preside over the Fourth. The huge district is administered from Fairbanks, and extends from the Canadian border west to the Bering Sea.

Three of the four presiding judges have served in their district for more than a decade. Stephens was appointed to the superior court in the first district in 2000. Esch has served in the second district since 1996, and Tan has been a superior court judge in the third district since 1996. Blankenship was appointed to the bench in the fourth district in 2005.

In addition to regular judicial duties, presiding judges are administrators, business managers, and must make sure their district trial courts follow statewide court objectives and policies. The one-year terms begin in January. Incumbents can be reappointed.