Ethics complaint filed against Anchorage judge

Megan Holland

An Anchorage District Court judge faces removal from the bench after the Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct filed a formal ethics complaint against him Tuesday.

Judge Richard Postma, 43, is accused of being mentally unstable, among other charges.

Postma was appointed to the bench by former Gov. Sarah Palin in 2007 and is up for retention by voters this year. He was an assistant attorney general in Anchorage before his appointment.

The complaint says Postma has mental health difficulties that "render him likely to be unable to fulfill the duties expected of a district court judge in Anchorage."

An independent mental health expert evaluated Postma in April. The complaint says that the doctor determined Postma has a disability that "seriously interferes with the performance of duties and is or may become permanent." The complaint does not further detail the disability.

Postma now has 20 days to respond through his lawyer, Thomas Van Flein. The commission will hire an outside prosecutor, and the charges will then be heard before the commission, made up of three judges, three lawyers and three public members. The commission decides whether the charges are supported and if they are makes a recommendation for action to the Alaska Supreme Court.

The complaint also accuses Postma of exhibiting "a level of anger and lack of judgment," and failing to cooperate with other judges and his administrative staff.

A district judge usually handles court procedures like misdemeanor crimes, arrest and search warrants, and smaller civil cases.

Court administrators were not immediately available to comment on whether Postma will be allowed to continue on the bench until resolution of the charges.

Find Megan Holland online at or call 257-4343.