State shuffles Southeast Alaska prosecutors

Posted: Sunday, May 18, 2003

KETCHIKAN (AP) The attorney general's office is adding a new district attorney position and shifting criminal cases in Southeast to ''more aggressively respond to and prosecute crime,'' according to Attorney General Gregg Renkes.

The change includes moving a prosecutor who's been something of an institution. Longtime Juneau District Attorney Richard Svobodny, who's held the job since 1984, has accepted a new position as senior assistant district attorney in Juneau.

He will handle specially assigned cases throughout the region, mentor new prosecutors and provide assistance and training to the region's police departments, he said.

''I'll continue to live in Juneau, but I view that as a Southeast position,'' he said. Svobodny has been the longest serving district attorney in Alaska and has over 25 years experience as a prosecutor.

The reorganization covers the First Judicial District, which stretches from Metlakatla to Yakutat.

Patrick J. Gullufsen will be Juneau's new district attorney starting June 1. Gullufsen, deputy attorney general for the criminal division, also has been an assistant district attorney in Fairbanks and worked in the Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals. He's also served as Juneau's prosecutor before.

An additional assistant district attorney position will be added to the Juneau office. Jack Schmidt, who grew up in Juneau, will be transferred from the Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals.

Svobodny said he will take cases assigned by Gullufsen and Ketchikan District Attorney Steve West as needed. He also will be responsible for prosecuting Wrangell cases, a job now handled out of Ketchikan.

Svobodny will travel to Wrangell for those cases, with the switch tentatively scheduled for July, he said.

The Ketchikan prosecuting staff will remain the same. The reorganization should give Ketchikan's three prosecutors more time to spend on less-serious charges, West said.

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