Eight superior court judges are on the ballot this year. KDLG spoke to the judges on the ballot about their backgrounds, and why they decided to pursue law in Alaska.
This general election voters will decide whether eight superior court judges in the third judicial district keep their jobs.
The Alaska constitution prohibits judges from actively campaigning to avoid political affiliation and to keep judges impartial. Instead, the judges are recommended for retention or removal by the Alaska Judicial Council. All judges this year received a 6-0 recommendation for retention. Judges also provide information through the Division of Elections.
KDLG spoke to the judges on the ballot about their backgrounds, and why they decided to pursue law in Alaska.
Danya “Dani” Crosby
Judge Dani Crosby was appointed as a superior court judge in 2015. She serves as chair of the Civil Rules Committee and revisits Alaska’s procedural civil rules. She is also a member of both the Judicial Code Committee and the Trauma-Informed Court Committee.
Crosby moved to Sitka when she was 12 years old. She finished school there before going to college in California and law school at Gonzaga University. She has lived in Anchorage for 24 years. Crosby said she wanted to become a judge because she enjoys the variety of cases and the challenges that come with the job.
Crosby said her time as a judge has been rewarding and that she is grateful for her position to serve the public.
Judge Andrew Guidi was appointed as a superior court judge in 2010. He is a member of the Child in Need of Aid Court Improvement Committee, CINA Development Committee, and the Court Civil Rules Committee.
Guidi attended the University of California Davis for his undergraduate education and later attended UCLA for law school, where he received a doctorate of jurisprudence. After graduating, he moved to Juneau and later to Anchorage where he has now lived for nearly 38 years.
Guidi said it is a privilege and an honor to serve the citizens of Alaska as a Superior Court judge.
Judge Jennifer Henderson was appointed as a District Court judge in 2012 and appointed as a superior court judge in 2017. She is a member of the Alaska Bar Association and is a prior founder and board member of Girls on the Run Serving Southcentral Alaska.
Henderson went to college at Claremont McKenna College and received a Bachelor of Arts degree before attending Yale Law School, where she received her doctorate of jurisprudence in 2001. She moved to Anchorage the same year and worked as a prosecutor for the Anchorage District Attorney’s Office before becoming a litigator.
Henderson said it is an honor to serve her community and preside over a diverse range of cases.
Judge Yvonne Lamoureux was appointed as a Superior Court judge in 2017. She currently serves on the Alaska Bar Association, the Anchorage Bar Association, the Anchorage Association of Women Lawyers, the National Association of Women Judges, the Child In Need of Aid Rules Committee, and the CINA Court Improvement Program.
Lamoureux attended Colombia University for her undergraduate degree before attending the University of Virginia School of Law where she received a doctorate of jurisprudence. After she graduated law school she moved to Anchorage, where she lives now.
Lamoureaux said she wanted to become a judge to better serve the public and praised the Alaska judicial system. She said she is proud of her work with CINA and would be honored to continue serving.
Judge Gregory Miller was appointed as a superior court judge in 2011. He is now chair of the Newer Judge Training Committee and head of the court’s statewide newer judge mentoring program, and a member of the Alaska Bar Association.
Miller attended Fullerton College where he obtained an associate degree in police science. He later attended Portland State University and Reed College, where he received a bachelor of arts in political science before attending the Northeastern University School of Law, where earned his doctorate of jurisprudence. He moved to Anchorage in 1987, where he still lives.
Miller said he became a judge to help people to find positive resolutions whenever possible. He welcomes the long hours that comes with the job and hope to continue to serve in this capacity.
Judge Christina Reigh was first appointed as a magistrate judge in 2014, then as a Superior Court judge in 2017.
Reigh worked in Dillingham for several years as a lawyer with Alaska Legal Services, a nonprofit corporation. When the judge position opened up, she applied because she thought it was important that a local person who was familiar with the town was the judge there.
Reigh said she usually brings students to the courthouse to teach them about the court system so they can be better prepared when they serve as jurors after high school.
Reigh attended St. Mary’s College for her undergraduate education, and later Seattle University for law school where she earned her doctorate of jurisprudence in 2003. She moved to Anchorage in 2003, and then to Dillingham in 2004, where she lives now.
Reigh said she is proud of her work so far and hopes to continue her connections with the school districts to educate future jurors and to preside over local area cases.
Judge Jennifer Wells served as a public defender in Kenai before becoming a Superior Court Judge in 2017. She is now a member of the National Association of Women Judges, national Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, Alaska Bar Association, and the Kenai Peninsula Bar Association.
Wells attended Mount Holyoke College for her undergraduate degree, She worked as a paralegal in Boston, where she said she grew disheartened due to the expensive and competitive culture of corporate law. She attended Suffolk University for law school to pursue a career in public service.
Wells has lived in Alaska for 30 years. She moved to Anchorage in 1990, Kenai and Soldotna in 1991, Tok in 1994, Eagle River in 1997, and Kasilof and Nikiski in 2007, where she now lives.
Wells said her top priorities include customer service, community outreach, and transparency. One of her favorite projects was to help develop a joint jurisdiction wellness court, which she now presides over. The court was created with the Kenaitze Indian Tribe, and it combines best practices from the criminal justice system with meaningful cultural components to address drug and alcohol addiction and criminal behavior. It is the first of its kind in the state.
Judge Jonathan Woodman was appointed as a Superior Court Judge in January 2016.
Woodman said he is proud of his work on the Families Infants and Toddlers court in Palmera pilot project in Palmer, specializing in infants and toddlers age three or younger. The FIT Court applies science of early childhood development and provides services to address parental substance use, skills, family safety and children’s needs. The advanced services are also meant to bring children to loving homes within 12 months.
Woodman attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he studied aerospace engineering before attending law school at the Ohio State University College of Law and earned a doctorate of jurisprudence.
Woodman said while he enjoyed practicing law, he preferred to find common ground, and he decided that becoming a judge would be more conducive to his goals. Woodman looks forward to continuing his work with the FIT Court and serving the people of Alaska.
More information about judges in Alaska can be found on the Alaska Judical Council website. Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (907) 842-2200