Kenai bench goes cold, judges sought

Posted: Thursday, January 25, 2007

With Superior Court Judge Harold Brown’s announcement last week that he will retire in June, and District Court Judge David Landry leaving the bench in February, the Kenai Courthouse may soon be displaying the “Now hiring” sign.

Brown, who turns 67 in October, said he feels there are other things he’d like to do in his life, not the least of which is to get into better physical shape so he can do more fly fishing, a longtime passion of his.

Planning to retire on June 11, Brown said he will leave just about the time construction begins on three new courtrooms at the Kenai Courthouse.

“We’ll actually be losing one of our courtrooms in the expansion, leaving us with a net gain of two,” Brown said Tuesday.

The state Legislature approved one additional Superior Court judge for Kenai last year, and the names of Kenai District Court Magistrate Anna Moran and Soldotna attorney Chuck Robinson were forwarded by the Alaska Judicial Council on Jan. 18 to Gov. Sarah Palin, who is expected to appoint one to the new position.

Applications are now being accepted by the Judicial Council for Brown’s position.

In August, Kenai’s only other Superior Court Judge — Charles Huguelet — is slated to be deployed with the U.S. Air Force to the Multinational Security Transition Command-Iraq. An instructor with the Judge Advocate General’s staff, he expects to be helping Iraqis with the financial end of rebuilding projects.

Last fall, Alaska voters chose not to retain Judge Landry on the Kenai District Court bench following charges of willful misconduct brought by the Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct and the recommendation of the Alaska Judicial Council that he be ousted.

Landry, the sole Kenai District Court judge, is to step down Feb. 2. The court also is served by two magistrates.

In addition to being recommended for the new Superior Court position, Moran has applied for the District Court job.

Others from the Kenai Peninsula who have applied for Landry’s job are assistant district attorney Scot Leaders and public defender Joe Montague.

Applications for Judge Brown’s seat will be accepted by the Judicial Council until 3 p.m. Feb. 16.

“I think there will be a gap between the time I leave and when they fill the position,” Brown said.

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