Chief Justice Carpeneti Announces Retirement

Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Walter “Bud” Carpeneti of Juneau has announced his retirement, effective Jan. 31, 2013.

Carpeneti was appointed to the state Superior Court in Juneau in 1981 by Gov. Jay Hammond. He served for 17 years, retained three times by voters. Gov. Tony Knowles appointed him to the Supreme Court in 1998 and he was retained by voters in 2002.

Alaska Supreme Court justices selected Carpeneti as chief justice in June 2009. The chief justice serves a three-year term and Carpeneti’s ends this month.

He is retiring at 66 years old, four years before the state’s mandatory retirement.

“Alaska has a mandatory retirement age of 70, but I kind of look at it from the other perspective. I was appointed in 1998 so I’ve been on the bench for over 30 years. And it just seems like it’s probably the right time now to get some younger folks in with a little more vitality,” he said, laughing. “It just seems like the right time to me.”

Originally from San Francisco, he came to Alaska just after he earned his law degree from the University of California Berkeley in 1970. He served as law clerk to Alaska Supreme Court Justice John H. Dimond then with Justice Jay A. Rabinowitz.

In a news release from the Alaska Court System, he says he’s giving early notice of retirement because of the long process for filling vacancies on the Supreme Court. Alaska’s Constitution adopted a system for selecting judges based on merit, which requires a lengthy evaluation of judicial candidates by the Alaska Judicial Council. The evaluation includes detailed applications, extensive investigation of applicants, polling of all lawyers in the state, public hearings, interviews, nominations to the governor, and appointment by the governor.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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