Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced the appointment of Judge David Nesbett to the Anchorage Superior Court, and has named Judge Terrence Haas the new Alaska Public Defender.
Judge Nesbett was previously appointed to the Anchorage District Court in 2019. He is a lifelong Alaskan who has lived in Anchorage his entire life, earned a bachelor’s degree at Wesleyan University, College of Letters, and a J.D. at University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.
Nesbett was a shareholder at Nesbett & Nesbett, from 2011-2019, and was an associate at
Dorsey & Whitney, and Jermain Dunnagan & Owens from 2007-2010. From 2004-2007 he was special assistant U.S. attorney and assistant district attorney, and had been an assistant municipal prosecutor in Anchorage from 2001-2004. He was a law clerk for U.S. District Judge H. Russel Holland.
The state courthouse in Anchorage is named for Nesbett’s grandfather, Buell Nesbett, the first Supreme Court Chief Justice when Alaska became a state; Justice Nesbett was appointed by Gov. Bill Egan, Alaska’s first governor.
Judge Haas was previously appointed to the Bethel Superior Court in 2018 and was the presiding judge of the Fourth Judicial District. Apparently he is done with being a judge and wants to go back to public defender work. Judge Haas worked for the Alaska Public Defender Agency in Bethel for more than a decade prior to his appointment to the bench.
Of 10 applicants for the job, Judge Haas and assistant Anchorage Public Defender Gary Soberay were nominated by the Alaska Judicial Council to replace Samantha Cherot, whose four-year term as head of the Public Defender Agency expires this month.
Both appointments were chosen from a list of applicants vetted by the Alaska Judicial Council, which forwarded the top candidates on to the governor.