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Judge Nesbett named to Anchorage Superior Court, and Judge Haas is new Alaska Public Defender

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.

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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.

Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
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.


  1. So are these ‘moderately’ leftist (if there is even such a thing anymore) judges, or are they are now-typical radical extremist leftists judges? Because we know that they are SOME flavor of leftists — “vetted by the (oligarchic and undemocratic) Alaska Judicial Council” is a guarantee of that.

  2. No one should be surprised that Haas is leaving his Judgeship when he did this: ‘

    We all knew Haas would be pushed out. Haas actually had the audacity to chastise the corrupt State of Alaska OCS agency. Judges either get in line with the State corruption or they lose their Judgeship. Period. Attorneys either get in line or they will lose their license to practice. Therapists either get in line and push the corrupt agenda or they are blacklisted and lose their jobs. What the Alaskan citizen is left with is a corrupt system.

    A Reckoning is coming….come out from among them.

  3. Is either of these Judges in compliance with As39.05.050 or As 39.15.010 -100 ? I believe they are not. Violation or ignorance is no excuse or defense of the law! When will the People of this State demand that our Judiciary follow the LAW?


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