Connect with:
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
HomeAlaska NewsBarrow judge retires after being hit by truck, disabled

Barrow judge retires after being hit by truck, disabled

(2-minute read) DUNLEAVY TO NAME NEW JUDGE  FOR UTQIAGVIK

Barrow Superior Court Judge Angela Greene didn’t stand for retention last year. It has been a harsh two years for her health-wise, and now she will be leaving the bench altogether.

Greene appeared to have suffered a mini stroke while she was presiding over a case in Kotzebue in September, 2016, just two years into her time as a judge. Presiding Judge Paul Roetman took her to the hospital, and she eventually ended up at the Cleveland Clinic in October of 2016.

The event was serious enough that the Alaska Judicial Conduct Commission investigated whether she was able to continue as a judge. But after receiving a letter from her physicians that was not conclusive, the commission didn’t pursue calling for her retirement.

But then, after returning to work, the judge was hit by a large water delivery truck in Utqiagvik (also known as Barrow) in December of 2017. She was rendered unconscious, and ended up with lingering cognitive difficulties.

Chief Justice Stowers asked the judicial conduct commission to determine if Greene could continue as a judge, and the commission found that she “suffers from a disability that seriously interferes with the performance of judicial duties and that is or may become permanent.”

Judge Greene did not oppose the findings, but the recommendation from the commission needed to go to the Alaska Supreme Court for an actual decision. The Supreme Court specifically noted that her retirement was not due to judicial misconduct.

Greene had replaced Judge Michael Jeffrey, who retired in 2014. She was appointed by Gov. Sean Parnell, after working as the supervising public defender for the Alaska Public Defender Agency for Nome and Kotzebue. She had also worked as a public defender in Bethel and Barrow and was a  volunteer with the Lion’s Club in Bethel, Arctic Outreach Programs with the U.S. Coast Guard, and local food bank programs. She had been on archaeological digs all over the world.

Greene received a bachelor’s degree from Florida International University and a juris doctorate from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. She spend years in Bush Alaska as a public defender, traveling from Savoonga to Kaktovik and numerous other communities.

Greene will leave office on Feb. 4, 2019, having served four years and one month of service as a judge.

The Alaska Judicial Council opened the position in October. The council will recommend two or three names to the governor.

Currently, David L. Roghair, Dianne Thoben, and Nelson Traverso are the applicants who will be interviewed for the sole superior court position in Utqiagvik.

That court last year had 343 cases filed, including 88 felony cases, 63 child-in-need-of-aid cases, 25 delinquency cases, 37 domestic relations cases, 79 general civil cases and 51 probate matters. The Utqiagvik judge hears both criminal and civil matters and earns $239,724 a year.

Roghair is a magistrate judge in Utqiagvik, Thoben is an public defender in Palmer, and Traverso is in private practice in Fairbanks.

The scoring for the three from the Alaska Judicial Council can be found here.

Donations Welcome
Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comment

  • Thank you for explaining what was a somewhat misleading piece in ADN. From all reports Judge Greene was a very good judge. It is tragic that she became disabled through no fault of her own. She wisely chose not to run for retention and was considered disabled to serve by the Supreme Court. She did NOT engage in misconduct in any way as the ADN article might have led readers to believe.

leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.