Court system seeking new Superior Court judges

Posted: Friday, May 18, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A bill expected to be signed into law will create two new Superior Court vacancies and the Alaska Judicial Council is taking applications for the jobs.

The positions are the result of the Legislature passing House Bill 172, which sets up therapeutic courts on a test basis in Anchorage and Bethel.

Therapeutic courts emphasize intervention, treatment and close monitoring as an alternative to jail time for chronic drunk-driving offenders.

The bill calls for the courts to be set up Jan. 2 as pilot projects for three years. The new courts will handle approximately 120 offenders annually.

House Speaker Brian Porter, R-Anchorage, sponsored the bill. The former police chief said four out of five convicted drunk drivers never reoffend and the new law is aimed at those who continue to drive while intoxicated despite court convictions and jail sentences.

The judicial council is taking applications for the new judgeships through June 18.

William Cotton, judicial council executive director, said current judges may take on therapeutic court responsibilities and the new judges may be assigned traditional court duties.

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