Daniel Schally was named to the Juneau Superior Court on Wednesday. (Courtesy Photo | Alaska Judicial Council)

Daniel Schally was named to the Juneau Superior Court on Wednesday. (Courtesy Photo | Alaska Judicial Council)

Valdez judge selected for Juneau Superior Court

New seat was created to handle rise in local felonies

Daniel Schally’s first time in Alaska was as an intern for the City and Borough of Juneau’s Law Department. Now, he’s returning to Juneau, this time as a Superior Court judge.

Gov. Bill Walker named Schally as Juneau’s newest Superior Court judge. The position replaces a District Court judge position left by the retirement of Thomas Nave. The new Superior Court seat was created by the Alaska Legislature earlier this year in response to the rising number of felony cases in Juneau. A district court typically handles misdemeanors, while superior court typically handles felonies.

Schally has been a judge in Valdez since January 2005, according to the biographical statement he supplied to the Alaska Judicial Council. He also stated that in that role, he handled both superior and district court cases.

Schally was born in Minnesota and was an intern for the CBJ Law Department when he was in law school. After that, he worked as a law clerk for Kodiak Superior Court Judge Donald Hopwood. He worked as a prosecutor in Ketchikan after that, working under then-District Attorney Trevor Stephens (who is now a Ketchikan Superior Court judge).

The other finalist for the judgeship was Juneau defense attorney Julie Willoughby. Willoughby was also a finalist for another open seat on the Juneau Superior Court earlier this year. Walker selected then-CBJ Municipal Attorney Amy Mead for the position over Willoughby after he took offense to the way Willoughby wrote a brief in defense of a client accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

In the anonymous surveys conducted by the Alaska Bar Association as part of the decision-making process, Schally scored 4.5 out of a possible 5 points. Willoughby scored well, too, coming in at 4.4 out of 5.

There was some doubt as to whether Walker or Gov.-elect Mike Dunleavy would make the appointments of judges. Walkers selections were announced Wednesday afternoon.

Juneau nearly lost a Superior Court judge during this cycle as well. Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg was one of three finalists for an opening on the Alaska Court of Appeals. Walker named Fairbanks Superior Court Judge Bethany Harbison to the position.

Harbison and Pallenberg both received a rating of 4.4 out of 5 from the bar association’s survey. Tim Terrell, the third finalist, received a rating of 4.5 out of 5.

• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or amccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.

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