Unicycle examining magistrate loses job after writing letters denigrating Republicans

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Alaskans already know liberal-leaning judges in Alaska. This is because the governors who appoint them must choose, according to the Alaska Constitution, from a shortlist provided by the Alaska Judicial Council, which still has members of the Alaska Bar Association, an association liberal professional. Offerings have been tilted to the left for generations.

But a Seward trial judge took partisan leanings to a whole new level by writing letters to the Daily News from Anchorage in which he denigrated the Republican Party, its members, and by inference all those who vote Republican. In a letter in December, Magistrate Seward George Peck wrote a letter titled “Protecting Our Rights” which was the last straw in his career.

“Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s recent comment promised that the government’s infringement of our rights “will not go unchecked” by his party. It’s rich, coming from a leader within the party whose members have recently and vigorously attempted to deny 81 million voters the right to vote and whose party is actively trying to rule the United States. in an authoritarian kleptocracy, ”Peck wrote.

This was not the only such letter Peck published by the DNA regarding his take on Republicans’ bad traits.

“Now that it’s clear that a majority of Republican politicians and voters agree with their president’s recent sedition attempt, one wonders if they’ll be successful next time,” Peck wrote to the DNA in February 2021.

But the most recent letter Peck wrote was published after Dunleavy declared himself a candidate for re-election. While the previous letter may have seemed inappropriate to many, the December letter clearly violated the Judicial Code of Ethics, and for that, Peck lost his job.

Peck came to Alaska to be a magistrate in 1974 and has been since then. After retiring in 2016, he has since served as a temporary magistrate, but the letter published by ADN in December was too burdensome for Judge William Morse, president of the Third Judicial District.

“The renewal of your temporary appointment is currently under review. In determining whether your temporary appointment should be extended, I have taken into account the business needs of the Seward court and your ability to meet those needs, ”Morse wrote in his letter to Peck.

“When questioned, you confirmed that you were the author of this letter and that you wrote it,” due to the
current undemocratic behavior of the Republican Party. You did not think that writing this letter could create an ethical problem under the Code of Judicial Conduct and that it would not affect the public’s perception of your ability to be fair and impartial. when deciding when the State of Alaska is a participating party. I do not agree. Judicial canons require that in all activities you act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. You must not allow politics to influence your conduct or judgment. As a trial judge, you are entrusted by the public with deciding cases with the greatest fairness, independence and impartiality. The power of your own voice, even when expressed by the court, can become inextricably linked with your position, especially in a small community where you are the only bailiff, ”Morse wrote.

Morse said the district needed a full-time magistrate to handle the workload anyway. and that from January 7, Peck’s services are “no longer needed”. He reminded Peck that the staff rules state that his appointment was to an “at will” employee and that he is not eligible to grieve unless he has a discrimination complaint.

Peck moved to Alaska in 1974 after working in Nepal in the Peace Corps and spending nearly a decade at the University of Idaho, where he earned degrees in physics, law and education, according to a story. in The Atlantic Magazine, who reported on him as a talented self-taught rider.

Peck has been a member of the Alaska Bar Association since 1975 and as a longtime employee of the State of Alaska he no doubt has a nice Level 1 retirement program that will easily cover his cost. of life – and more. The average magistrate judge in Alaska, according to Salary.com, is $ 191,959, ranging between $ 188,291 and $ 214,822.

Read: The Atlantic Magazine article on George Peck, the unicyclist.

Watch the Alaska Public Media video of Peck’s Unicycle at this link.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1997/04/rough-terrain-unicycling/376837/


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