Judicial Council seat filled by Anchorage lawyer

Anchorage attorney James E. Torgerson has been appointed to serve on the Alaska Judicial Council, a state-wide panel responsible for screening judicial applicants.

Torgerson is a private attorney specializing in civil trial defense. He’s a former managing partner who has returned to litigation at the Anchorage office of Stoel Rives. His biography also lists him as a former chief of both the criminal and civil divisions for the U.S. Attorney in Alaska, and as a special assistant Attorney General for the State of Alaska in Washington, D.C.

The Alaska Judicial Council checks the background and interviews applicants for the bench in Alaska. They pass on their top recommendations to the Governor who makes the final appointment for each judgeship. The Council also researches Alaska justice issues and makes recommendations for improvement.

Torgerson succeeds Kevin Fitzgerald for a seat on the council reserved for attorneys. He’ll serve a six-year term that expires in February 2020.

According to the bylaws of the Alaska Judicial Council, only public appointees to the panel must be confirmed by vote of the Alaska Legislature. Attorney members of the panel, like Torgerson, are named by the Alaska Bar Association and would not be subject to legislative confirmation.

Other councilmembers include attorneys Aimee Oravec of Fairbanks and Julie Willoughby of Juneau. Non-attorney or public members of the council include Ken Kreitzer of Juneau, Dave Parker of Wasilla, and Kathleen Tompkins-Miller of Fairbanks. Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Dana Fabe chairs the council and only casts a vote to break ties or when her vote might change an outcome.

Torgerson is the spouse of former Alaska Supreme Court justice and current Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Morgan Christen.

(Editor’s note: Story has been corrected to specify that only a public member or non-attorney appointees to the Alaska Judicial Council are subject to legislative confirmation.)

Recent headlines

  • Arctic Chinook exercise concludes

    Coast Guard wraps up Arctic exercises

    The series of simulated drills was known as the Arctic Chinook exercise and wrapped Thursday morning in Kotzebue, according to a Coast Guard press release.
  • Bacteria that causes botulism.

    Science and cooking collide to fight botulism

    Scientists are trying to learn how to prevent botulism in seal oil, a main ingredient in many traditional Alaska Native foods.
  • Earthquake Simulator

    Earthquake simulator will shake up Juneau

    Alaska's earthquake simulator will visit Wednesday, Aug. 31, to Thursday, Sept. 1, in downtown Juneau giving residents some emergency preparedness practice at an event that promises to shake, rattle and roll.
  • Dan DeBartolo is one of four candidates running for the Juneau School Board. (Courtesy of Dan DeBartolo)

    School board candidate juggles race and Facebook

    The creator of the Facebook page the Juneau Community Collective is running for public office and that created a problem. He had to figure out how to continue moderating political comments on the page without falling into a conflict of interest.

Comments

Playing Now: