Juneau district attorney to take post with Legislature

Posted: Thursday, December 16, 2010

Juneau District Attorney Doug Gardner will resign his position Dec. 31 to begin duties as Director of Legislative Legal Services Jan 3.

Gardner successfully interviewed on Monday with the Legislative Council.

"I am thrilled about being able to be involved with such a professional staff of people working to support the legislators in all the different laws they are thinking about passing or not passing," Gardner said. "Just the fine work the folks at legislative legal do I am honored to have that chance."

Gardner's duties will be to supervise the attorneys that are drafting legislation for legislators and provide advice on parliamentary procedure and constitutional issues that come up to the legislature.

"My duty will be to advise and otherwise represent the Alaska Legislature and individual legislators," he said.

As district attorney, Gardner's office was responsible for all criminal prosecution from Yakutat to Kake, including Sitka, Wrangell, Petersburg, all the islands, Haines, Skagway, Hoonah, and all Fish & Wildlife prosecutions. This included all felonies and most misdemeanors, aside from what the City and Borough of Juneau prosecutes.

"And God bless them for the work they do," Gardner said. "They are a great team. Part of the mission of the DA's office, if it is run well, and I like to think we have done this pretty consistently over the years is to do training, whether it be DUI law updates for the local law enforcement agencies, or search and seizure, just lots of training on legal issues as they come up."

District attorneys in Alaska are not elected. State district attorneys in Alaska tend to be career prosecutors, appointed by the attorney general.

Criminal Division Deputy Richard Svobodny is expected to select Gardner's replacement from a statewide pool. Svobodny is acting attorney general until Fairbanks attorney John Burns, selected Nov. 30 to replace Attorney General Dan Sullivan, takes office Monday.

Gardner, with an bachelor's degree from the University of Washington and a law degree from Willamette University, began his career as a law clerk for Larry Weeks.

In 1995 he joined the Attorney General's office in the Civil Division, Human Services section, doing Child In Need Of Aid, Department of Labor issues, and Department of Motor Vehicles cases.

In 1996 he began working for then-Revenue Commissioner Wilson Condon as part of his "gas line team" at the time of Gov. Tony Knowles' attempts to get a state gas line flowing.

In July of 1997, Gardner's life changed when the British Columbia fishing fleet blockaded the AMHS motor vessel Malaspina in Prince Rupert, British Columbia in protest of the lack of progress in U.S-Canadian salmon talks. Gardner was assigned to address Alaska's claims of damages. At that point, Gardner began working for then-Attorney General Bruce Botelho for two years until taking over as Supervisor of the Transportation Section at the Department of Transportation from 1999 to 2002.

In 2002, Gardner joined the DA's office as an assistant under former DAs Svobodny and Patrick Gullufsen.

"I remember I was late for my first day of work," Gardner said. "I had gone to play bagpipes at the Yukon Quest Dog Sled Race and we got snowed in."

Gardner took over for Gullufsen in June 2006 supervising the northern panhandle.

• Contact reporter Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or at klas.stolpe@ juneauempire.com.

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