FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) Attorneys, judges and members of the public welcomed Fairbanks’ newest judge, Brent Bennett, to the bench at an installation ceremony. Bennett has served as a superior court judge since July but did not have his ceremony last Thursday.
Superior Court Judge Brent Bennett is the newest judge to be installed to the Bench in Fairbanks. (John Dougherty/KTVF)
Bennett moved from Ohio to Alaska with his wife Amy and family in 2006. When they arrived they both went to work at the Fairbanks Public Defenders agency. After working with the public defenders for a while Bennett then became the supervising attorney of the Fairbanks’ Defense Section of the Office of Public Advocacy.
Bennett said he applied to be a judge because he wanted to be able to help more people. “I could help the whole community, anybody who is coming into court to feel heard, to feel like they are getting a fair shake, to feel like they have access to justice as well," Bennett said.
Bennett said that he wants to be remembered as a judge who always was fair.
"When I was a litigator, even if a judge ruled against me, if I felt like I was heard, if I felt like they were really thinking about the legal arguments that I was making, and they were fair, that was really important," Bennett said.
To do this Bennett said it is important that he slows down and listens to make sure he hears everyone and can help them reach the best solution for everyone.
Bennett said there have been some difficulties in becoming a judge. His wife still works as a public defender and they have had to make sure that she doesn’t have any cases in his courtroom. He also said that he has had lots to learn and the job requires more work.
Despite the challenges, Bennett is glad he became a judge. "I am loving this job. It is… it's been quite a challenge, but it has been a fun challenge to learn new things, to look at things from different perspectives, to apply the law in the ways that I am being asked," Bennett said.
Bennett, who is only 38, said he plans on being in Fairbanks for a long time but he is still young and he doesn’t know where his career will take him.
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