Thirteen apply for new Homer Superior Court judgeship

Thirteen apply for new Homer Superior Court judgeship

Thirteen people have applied for a new Homer Superior Court position created by the passage of Senate Bill 41, which established superior court judgeships for the Homer and Valdez courts, the last two in Alaska that had lacked a superior court judge.

A superior court judge can hear all cases, including felony criminal cases. A district court judge can only preside for misdemeanor criminal cases or for initial arraignment of felony cases. Homer is in the Third Judicial District for Southcentral Alaska, and in the past superior court judges from Kenai commuted to Homer for felony cases.

Homer’s most recent district court judge, Judge Margaret Murphy, retired at the end of June. Magistriate Judge Suzanne Cole of Anchorage has been assigned to the Homer Court to fill in until a new superior court judge is appointed.

A Kenai superior judge will continue to commute to Homer about one week a month to handle Superior Court cases.

The small increase in funding to convert Homer from a District Court to a Superior Court judgeship is in the capital budget. That budget has not yet been passed and is under consideration in the special session going on now of the Alaska Legislature.

According to a press release from the Alaska Judicial Council, the people applying for the Homer Superior Court judge position are:

■ Craig S. Condle, a magistrate judge in Palmer;

■ Martin C. Fallon, a magistrate judge in Kenai,

■ Andrew V. Grannick, an assistant attorney general in Anchorage,

■ Jürgen Jensen, a lawyer in private practice in Homer,

■ Kelly J. Lawson, an assistant attorney general in Anchorage and former prosecutor in Kenai,

■ Russell G. Leavitt, a supervisory general attorney with the U.S. Air Force in Anchorage,

■ David L. Roghair, a magistrate judge in Utgqiagvik,

■ Bride Seifert, an assistant district attorney in Bethel and Kotzebue,

■ Gary Soberay, a practicing attorney for 28 years not currently employed,

■ Colin A. Strickland, a practicing attorney in Anchorage,

■ William W. Taylor, an assistant public advocate in Kenai,

■ Nicholas Richard Torres, an assistant district attorney in Kenai, and

■ Lance Christian Wells, an attorney in Anchorage.

The Alaska Judicial Council seeks public comment on the applicants. To comment, write Susanne DiPietro, Executive Director, Alaska Judicial Council, 510 L. St., Suite 450, Anchorage AK 99501-1295.

The seven-member Alaska Judicial Council will evaluate the applicants by conducting background investigations, surveying Alaska Bar members and conducting personal interviews. Interviews and public hearings will be held in November. From the list the council will select two or more nominees and send their names to Gov. Mike Dunleavy for appointment. The governor has 45 days to make an appointment from the nominees.

Other judgeships also in the process of being selected include the Valdez Superior Court, the Kenai District Court and the Palmer District Court.

Reach Michael Armstong at

More in News

Coast Guardsmen and state employees load the Together Tree bound for the Alaska Governor’s Mansion on a truck on Nov. 29, 2021 after the Coast Guard Cutter Elderberry transported the tree from Wrangell. (USCG photo / Petty Officer 2nd Class Lexie Preston)
Governor’s mansion tree arrives in Juneau

No weather or floating lines could stay these Coast Guardsmen about their task.

The Kenai Community Library health section is seen on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. The Kenai City Council voted during its Oct. 20 meeting to postpone the legislation approving grant funds after members of the community raised concerns about what books would be purchased with the money, as well as the agency awarding the grant. The council will reconsider the legislation on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai council to consider library grant again

The council earlier voted to postpone the legislation after concerns were raised about what books would be purchased.

EPA logo
Alaska Native group to receive EPA funds for clean water projects

The agency is handing out $4.3 million to participating tribal organizations nationwide.

Study: PFD increases spending on kids among low-income families

New study looks at PFD spending by parents

Image via the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
Nikiski soil treatment facility moves ahead

The facility, located at 52520 Kenai Spur Highway, has drawn ire from community residents.

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Bycatch becomes hot issue

Dunleavy forms bycatch task force.

Rep. Chris Kurka, R-Wasilla, leaves the chambers of the Alaska House of Representatives on Friday, March 19, 2021, after an hour of delays concerning the wording on his mask. On Monday, Kurka announced he was running for governor in 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Wasilla rep announces gubernatorial bid

Kurka said he was motivated to run by a sense of betrayal from Dunleavy.

The Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson star is Illuminated on the side of Mount Gordon Lyon on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, just east of Anchorage, Alaska, in observation of the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. A crew from the base went to light the 300-foot wide holiday star, but found that only half of the star’s 350 or so lights were working, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Airmen from the 773rd Civil Engineer Squadron Electrical Shop haven’t been able to figure out what was wrong and repair the lights, but they plan to work through the week, if necessary, base spokesperson Erin Eaton said. (Bill Roth/Anchorage Daily News via AP)
Avalanche delays holiday tradition in Alaska’s largest city

ANCHORAGE — A holiday tradition in Alaska’s largest city for more than… Continue reading

AP Photo/Gregory Bull,File
In this Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, photo, George Chakuchin, left, and Mick Chakuchin look out over the Bering Sea near Toksook Bay, Alaska. A federal grant will allow an extensive trail system to connect all four communities on Nelson Island, just off Alaska’s western coast. The $12 million grant will pay to take the trail the last link, from Toksook Bay, which received the federal money, to the community of Mertarvik, the new site for the village of Newtok. The village is moving because of erosion.
Federal grant will connect all 4 Nelson Island communities

BETHEL — A federal grant will allow an extensive trail system to… Continue reading

Most Read