Walker appoints four judges - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, September 28, 2021
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Walker appoints four judges

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Gov. Bill Walker appointed four judges on Wednesday for the Bethel, Juneau, and Kenai Superior Courts, and the Court of Appeals.


Haas practiced law in Alaska for close to ten years, after Graduating from Roger Williams University School of Law in 2007. He clerked for the Rhode Island Supreme Court before moving to Bethel, where he has been the supervisor for the Bethel and Dillingham Public Defender Offices for the last 10 years. He will join the Bethel Superior Court.


Schally has practiced law in Alaska for more than 20 years, clerking in Kodiak and working as an assistant District Attorney for Southeast, before becoming district court judge and superior court Judge pro tempore in Southcentral in 2005. He will join the Juneau Superior Court.


Gist has practiced law in Alaska for more than 14 years, after graduating from the University of California’s Berkeley School of Law in 2004. He clerked for Alaska’s Chief Justice Alexander O. Bryner, worked in private practice, and has been an assistant district attorney for the State of Alaska since 2008. He joins the Kenai Superior Court.


Harbison has practiced law in Alaska for almost 25 years, after graduating from Harvard Law School in 1993. She clerked for Judge Angela Mary Greene, worked as a public defender and magistrate judge, and is the presiding superior court judge for the Fourth Judicial District, covering Fairbanks and most of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. She will join the Alaska Court of Appeals.

Walker passed over for the second time the application of Julie Willoughby, a Juneau defense attorney who he appointed earlier this year, before rescinding that appointment to the Juneau Superior Court, and giving the position to a lesser-qualified candidate.

Willoughby applied again, this time for the seat left open by retiring Judge Thomas Nave. Instead, the appointment went to Schally.

[Read: Judicial nominees: Will Walker weigh in or pass?]



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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 comments

  • Wow. This could have truly been an opportunity for Gov. Walker to admit he was wrong by what he had done and appoint Ms. Willoughby. Even in the end he couldn’t do it. I have been holding on to the faith that he is deep down a good man, being played by not-so-good people. Perhaps I need to spend more time in front of the mirror and check my own naivete. Ms. Willoughby and all defense attorneys are probably checking their own look in the mirror as well, wondering how they are suppose to defend their clients when that defense is held against them professionally.

  • Bethany Harbison clerked for Judge Mary Greene, not Angela Greene.

  • We NEED new one in Anchorage AND the valley desperately. Hope he and our people in Juneau get that SB91 or whatever it’s called, abolished gone, ousted, NEVER to be seen again!! NOT amended or reworded but GONE!!! That’s ONE of the most AWFUL thing EVER passed!!

  • When there is an opening no doubt Governor Dunleavy will be taking a hard look at Ms. Willoughby, who, in defending the man accused of the sex crime, was doing only what any good defense counsel is obliged to do—to defend one’s client using any and all reasonable defences without fear or favor.

    • Exactly David. Regardless of the crime, isn’t that exactly what your lawyer is supposed to do? She defended as she should have. The kind of defense attorney I’d like on my side if I ever needed one. Walker blew it and failed to recover. She suffers professionally for it – hopefully only temporarily.

  • Walker should have left the new appointments to incoming Dunleavy. But Walker was too busy blasting Dunleavy for sending out resignation notices. Walker is nothing but a Democrat stooge. Btw, has Walker been seen with his soulmate Byron Mallott?
    This was the one resignation Walker tried to hide in the closet, but even a closet has some moral principles.

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