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.
- The Juneau Assembly declined to pass a broaden sales tax exemption for seniors. Opposition from businesses prodded elected officials to refer the initiative back to committee.
- Fines for pet owners whose for critters scooped up by animal control officers have gone up. The fees hadn't been adjusted for nearly 17 years.
- Local education officials are applying for state money to replace and repair leaky roofs at several Juneau schools. About $5 million is coming in over the next five years earmarked for school maintenance from sales tax money that voters approved in the Oct. 3 election.
- "They’re calling it GTA, grand theft Anchorage, right now," said Rep. Lora Reinbold, who says she wants to repeal Senate Bill 91. "It’s outrageous, what’s going on in the city that I love.”