KYUK AM

Governor Appoints Will Montgomery To Serve As Bethel District Court Judge

Jul 23, 2018

The State of Alaska courthouse in Bethel, Alaska.
Credit Dean Swope/KYUK

There’s a new judge in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, and he’s one of the youngest in Alaska’s history.

On Friday, Governor Walker announced that he had selected attorney Will Montgomery to serve on Bethel’s District Court. At age 33, he will be both the youngest judge on the bench in Alaska and one of the youngest the state’s ever appointed.

In an interview with KYUK, Montgomery said that he was honored  to be selected. "I was extremely surprised," he said. "It's really a humbling thing."

A graduate of William Mitchell College of Law, Montgomery clerked for several Alaska judges before joining Bethel’s Office of Public Advocacy. He will assume a seat on the District Court bench that has been vacant for the past year, ever since Judge Nathaniel Peters was selected to serve on Bethel’s Superior Court.

Montgomery is deeply invested in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region. He and his wife, attorney Winter Montgomery, are raising their family here. They plan to send their young children to Bethel’s Yup'ik immersion school as soon as they’re old enough. "The people in the Y-K Delta are fantastic people and they deserve a judge that supports them," he said.

In the meantime, Judge Dwayne McConnell’s old seat on Bethel’s Superior Court is still vacant. The Judicial Council nominated Bethel Assistant Public Defender Terrence Haas for that position, but Alaska's Consitution requires the Council to send at least two judicial nominees to the governor for consideration. Because Haas was the only attorney nominated for the judgeship, the selection process will have to start over. According to the Judicial Council's Executive Director, Susanne DiPietro, a new list of applicants for McConnnell's seat will be released on July 27. The governor is expected to make an appointment by the end of the year.

Note: This article has been revised to clarify the Alaska Judicial Council's nomination process.