Applicants line up for open judge position in Juneau

In this file photo from April 2012, Juneau Superior Court Judge Louis Menendez, center, holds a conference with Assistant Public Defender Eric Hedland, left, and then-District Attorney David Brower during a criminal trial. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

There’s been no shortage of applicants to fill the seat left by departing Juneau Superior Court Judge Louis Menendez.


Ten attorneys have applied to take the open spot after Menendez retires, according to a press release from the Alaska Judicial Council. The AJC’s seven members will evaluate the applicants, conducting background checks, interviews and surveys of Alaska Bar members.

Interviews for the Juneau position will be held May 18, and the Council will send two or more nominees to the governor’s office. The governor will then have 45 days to make an appointment from the Council’s list.

Half of the applicants for the Juneau position are in private practice: Lael Harrison, Kevin Andrew Higgins, Franklin E. Spaulding, Gary L. Stapp and Julie Willoughby. Spaulding and Stapp practice in Fairbanks while the other three are located in Juneau.

Amy Gurton Mead, the attorney for the City and Borough of Juneau, has also applied for the position.

The other applicants are Assistant Public Advocate Margaret McWilliams; Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska Presiding Judge Debra O’Gara; Assistant Attorney General Hanna Sebold; and Assistant Public Defender William W. Taylor. Taylor is currently in Kenai, while the others are in Juneau.


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