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D.A. eyes position on bench

Posted: Wednesday, April 05, 2000

Dwayne McConnell, Kenai district attorney, is one of five Alaskans being considered for a Superior Court judge position in Ketchikan.

"After you put your name in the hat for one of these positions, you really aren't supposed to be talking about it very much," said McConnell.

However, he was able to share an outline of the route through Alaska that his career has taken him.

McConnell graduated from University of Missouri at Kansas City in 1975. He came to Alaska 19 years ago and served first as assistant district attorney, and then district attorney, in Bethel. From there, he has served as a prosecutor in Palmer, Kodiak and Anchorage.

In the early 1990s, McConnell had a private practice in Texas. He returned to Alaska in 1994 and worked as an assistant district attorney in Juneau.

McConnell came to Kenai in 1998.

The judgeship for which McConnell has applied is currently held by Thomas M. Jahnke. Jahnke will remain Superior Court judge until a replacement is appointed. Ketchikan has two Superior Court judges. The second position is held by Michael A. Thompson

McConnell's competition includes Scott A. Brandt-Erichsen, a municipal attorney in Ketchikan; Sigurd E. Murphy, an Anchorage District Court judge; Trevor Stephens, currently in private practice in Ketchikan; and Stephen R. West, a Ketchikan district attorney.

According to a March 28 press release distributed to the Alaska Judicial Council, applicants will be evaluated by the council's seven members, which include a chief justice, three attorneys and three non-attorney members.

William T. Cotton, executive director of the council, said background investigations, a survey of Alaska Bar members and personal interviews with the candidates are all part of the evaluations.

Results of the bar survey, which is mailed to all active members of the Alaska Bar on April 5, will be made public on May 22. Interviews with the candidates will be held in Ketchikan in mid-June. A public hearing also will be held at that time.

Two or more nominees then will be submitted to the governor by the council, after which the governor has 45 days to make an appointment from the council's list.



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