Judge Dan Ahern to retire from the bench
Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Daniel J. Ahern is retiring at the end of March.
Gov. Kate Brown announced Feb. 13, that she is accepting applications for a judicial vacancy on the Jefferson-Crook County Circuit Court created by Ahern's retirement.
The governor thanked Ahern for his dedicated judicial service and announced that she will fill the position by appointment. Ahern's retirement takes effect March 31.
Historically, new judges appointed come from interested and qualified local attorneys, or prosecutors from the district attorney offices who live, or have offices in, the judicial district.
The last three appointees for the district have come from within district attorneys' offices.
Ahern, appointed in 1996, is the only appointee who has not been from either the Crook or Jefferson County district attorney's office, since the district was formed in the 1990s.
The last appointed judge was Daina Vitolins, the former Crook County district attorney.
Interested applicants should mail or deliver their completed application forms to: Misha Isaak, General Counsel, Office of the Governor, 900 Court Street NE No. 254, Salem, OR 97301-4047.
Forms must be received by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6. Forms emailed by 5 p.m. on the closing date will be considered timely so long as original signed forms postmarked by the closing date are later received.
Ahern was raised in Madras and returned to his hometown to start a law practice in the mid-1980s. In 1988, he ran for Jefferson County judge, which at that time was the lead county administrator and also presided over juvenile court.
He was re-elected to that position in 1994, and then in 1996, was appointed to the Circuit Court. For the past several years, he has been the presiding judge on the Jefferson-Crook County Circuit.
Brown, who fills judicial vacancies based on merit, encourages applications from lawyers with a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. ORS 3.041 and 3.050 provide that at the time of appointment to the court, the candidate must be a citizen of the United States, a resident of Oregon, and a member of the Oregon State Bar.
ORS 3.041 requires that the vacancy must be filled by an applicant who is a resident of, or has a principal office in Jefferson or Crook County. ORS 3.041(5) provides the required length of time for the residency requirements.
If no judge is ready to serve as of April 1 — which is only five weeks away — it's quite likely Ahern will continue to be on the local bench for a period. Retiring judges are offered health insurance and other benefits by agreeing to serve as replacement or as vacation-relief judges for seven weeks per year. Ahern plans to do that.