March 21, 2019 (Juneau, Alaska) – Alaska Governor Michael J. Dunleavy today announced his selections to fill Alaska Superior and District Court judgeships in Utqiagvik, Kodiak, Anchorage, and Palmer.
“Congratulations to these dedicated individuals. Their qualifications and record of public service are a positive testament to their ability to serve the people of Alaska as members of our judiciary. We wish them all the best as they serve our state and their communities in this new capacity,” said Governor Dunleavy.
Governor Dunleavy’s judicial appointments are:
John C. Cagle has been appointed to the Palmer Superior Court. Mr. Cagle has been an Alaska resident for 8 ½ years and has practiced law for 14 years. He graduated from Gonzaga University School of Law in 2003 and is currently an assistant district attorney in Anchorage.
Nelson Traverso has been appointed to the Utqiagvik Superior Court. Mr. Traverso has been an Alaska resident for 36 years and has practiced law for 35 years. He graduated from Northeastern University School of Law in 1981 and is currently in private practice in Fairbanks.
Stephen B. Wallace has been appointed to Kodiak Superior Court. Mr. Wallace has been an Alaska resident for 36 years and has practiced law for 29 ½ years. He graduated from the University of Oregon School of Law in 1988 and is currently the district attorney in Bethel.
David Nesbett has been appointed to the Anchorage District Court. Mr. Nesbett has been an Alaska resident for 47 years and has practiced law for 20 years. He graduated from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, in 1998, and is currently in private practice in Anchorage.
Governor Dunleavy has also declined to select a second candidate to serve on the Palmer Superior Court, citing his concern for a truncated list of candidates and questions whether the judicial selection process was consistent with the merit and qualifications based standard of the Alaska judicial system.
“For the two positions on the court, the Council received 11 applications. From this field of candidates, you only nominated three candidates for two positions,” Governor Dunleavy wrote in a letter to the Alaska Judicial Council. “I believe there are qualified candidates that the Council inexplicably did not nominate for this position.”
“Alaska’s constitutional judicial selection process is supposed to be merit and qualifications based. The list you provided me does not appear to uphold this important standard,” wrote Governor Dunleavy.
“My authority to appoint members to the bench carries with it the obligation to exercise that authority thoughtfully and responsibly. My office has requested more information from the Council on candidates that were not recommended, including the Council’s reasoning for excluding some candidates,” Governor Dunleavy wrote. “I would like an opportunity to review and consider the Council’s reasoning to determine whether additional qualified candidates could be nominated by the Council for this position.”
Governor Dunleavy’s full letter to the Alaska Judicial Council can be found here.