Damage control: U.S District Court clerk explains what will happen to Judge Joshua Kindred’s caseload

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The clerk of the U.S. District Court for Alaska said in a statement today that U.S. District Court Judge Joshua M. Kindred, who resigned suddenly on Tuesday, has 77 open criminal cases with 102 defendants, as well as 148 civil cases that are open in the District of Alaska. All of the cases will be reassigned to Chief Justice Sharon Gleason, with the exception of seven cases in the Juneau division that will be assigned to Senior Judge Timothy Burgess.

The clerk, Candice Duncan, noted that the district is down to just one judge — Gleason — since with Kindred’s departure on Monday and the current vacancy that hasn’t been filled since Dec. 31, 2021, there are two empty seats in the district. That third seat belonged to Burgess, who has now entered “senior status.”

And if she knows why Kindred, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, is suddenly quitting, she’s not saying.

“Alaska currently has three Article III District Court judicial positions. Article III judges are nominated by the President of the United States. The individual nominated by the President must then be confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve on the federal bench as a lifetime appointment. There is no mandatory retirement age for Article III judges. One of the active Article III judicial positions also holds the “Chief Judge” designation for the district. The Chief Judge often serves a seven-year term as Chief, although this can vary depending on circumstances, and is involved in budgetary and administrative matters of the district,” the clerk’s office wrote in a statement.

Senior judges are Article III judges who have met age and service requirements and generally take a reduced caseload. Alaska currently has five district court Judges in senior status. These judges may agree to hear cases reassigned from Judge Kindred depending on personal availability, current caseload, etc. Judge Kindred will not qualify to serve as a senior judge due to
his resignation, the clerk noted.

His departure will delay justice for some, Duncan advised.

“With Kindred’s departure, Chief Judge Gleason will be the remaining active Article III judge on the Alaska Bench with the assistance and support of the senior judges and magistrate judges. With only one Article III district judge position filled at this time, the increased caseloads will lead to some delays due to the reassigned judge’s availability and/or due to the reassigned
judge’s increased case load,” the clerk wrote.

It is possible that judges from other federal district courts may be available to sit as visiting judges in the District of Alaska. Cases will continue to be scheduled for hearings and trials based on availability of the assigned judicial officer and the parties in the case and the requirements of the Speedy Trial Act in criminal cases. The Clerk’s Office will continue to provide case management and courtroom support on all cases.

“The Clerk’s Office has no further information regarding Judge Kindred’s resignation other than what has been posted to the District of Alaska Website under News and Announcements at https://www.akd.uscourts.gov,” the clerk’s office said.

9 COMMENTS

  1. The remaining senior judges are H. Russel Holland (age 87), James Singleton (age 85), John Sedwick (age 78) and Ralph Beistline (age 75). The last time I heard Holland’s name mentioned in the course of judicial duties, he was presiding over the case of the polygamist LDS sect, where he collapsed on his way to the bench one day. Wikipedia specifically notes Singleton as inactive. After a while, many senior judges tend to move to California within proximity of 9th Circuit headquarters, even if they’re still technically associated with Alaska by virtue of their position. In other words, lots of luck to all those requiring need of the court’s services.

  2. Oh, great!! gleason. She’s a nightmare. They probably pushed this GUY OUT just to give some case to her for a special ruling to screw us All over. Gleason is another Merchan.. Completely biased to the left

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