District Court judge makes his own case

Richard Postma

I am Richard Postma, and I am privileged and honored to serve our community as a District Court judge. I have a strong work ethic and am dedicated to quality legal work. I am committed to public service and am motivated to make our court system better.

Every year, the Judicial Council sends out survey forms seeking information about a judge's performance. The council's surveys show that jurors, attorneys and police officers who have been in court approve of my performance as a judge, my judicial temperament and my legal abilities. They have found me to be impartial, fair and diligent, as well as courteous and respectful to parties. Their ratings demonstrate my fitness and ability as a judge.

Attorneys have trust and confidence in my judicial ability. One measure of this is a judge's "preemption rate," the number of times attorneys request a different judge without stating a reason. My preemption rate averages 3 per year, one of the lowest of the judges standing for retention. Because my decisions are well-reasoned and clearly explained, very few of my decisions have been appealed, and none have been reversed. And, I have never been late issuing a decision.

Statewide, attorneys reported to the Judicial Council comments about me like: "I think Judge Postma is an excellent judge. He is very fair to all parties, and efficient yet thorough. He treats everyone respectfully and kindly." Another reported: "Judge Postma is my ideal judge. He considers every argument ... He treats everyone in the room with respect ... I have very much enjoyed working with Judge Postma." Two weeks ago, the Board of Directors for the Anchorage Bar Association voted me to be its president next year.

For most of this year, I was temporarily assigned to the Palmer courts. The Palmer Clerk of Court told the Judicial Commission that "Judge Postma is the best judge Palmer has had from Anchorage." The Palmer judges highly approved of my performance, and informed the commission they received only favorable comments about me from staff, attorneys and others.

Jurors rated my judicial performance a 4.9 out of 5, and gave me a perfect 5 out of 5 for being "respectful and courteous to others." One juror told the council: "Judge Postma ... is exactly what a judge should be." Another said: "It is refreshing to see someone so kind, caring and professional. He also has a sense of humor which is great. He puts you at ease, and made the experience an easy one."

As a District Court judge, I have worked hard to make the Anchorage Court System open to internal accountability, change and improvement. The Anchorage Court System could better serve the public if its administration was more willing to consider reforming some of its current practices. For instance, because judges should not cut corners, I object to the Anchorage practice of pre-signing orders before in-custody hearings. Because parties should know the reasons for a ruling, I issue written decisions when in the best interest of justice, even if not required by the rules. And, I disagree with the extensive use of a centralized calendaring system by the Anchorage District court, the only court in Alaska to use it, because it is inefficient and interferes with a judge's independent responsibility to manage cases.

Above all, I believe a court system should be fair and just to those who come before it as well as to those who serve within it. My goal is to ensure equitable treatment of all. For this challenge to the status quo, I have been brought before the Judicial Council and Conduct Commission. For more information about this, please visit www.judgepostma.com.

The State of Alaska and the citizens of Anchorage deserve a judge who will do what is right, especially when doing the right thing is difficult. I am ready to continue doing the right thing and serving our community as a District Court judge. I would appreciate your continued support and your vote for retention. Please vote "YES" to retain Judge Postma.

Richard W. Postma is a district court judge in Anchorage who is up for retention this election. He is also president-elect of the Anchorage Bar Association. Website, www.judgepostma.com