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Governor Parnell Names District Court Judges for Anchorage, Palmer

January 29, 2010, Anchorage, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell announced his selections of two experienced Alaska jurists as District Court judges, appointing Paul E. Olson of Anchorage to the Anchorage District Court, and David L. Zwink of Wasilla to the Palmer District Court.

“Both Paul Olson and David Zwink have years of experience in our state’s legal community, and real-world experience in administering justice in Southcentral Alaska’s District Courts,” Governor Parnell said. “I am confident they will continue their valuable service to Alaskans in their new appointments to the bench.”

Olson, 60, was born in Starbuck, Minnesota, and received a bachelor’s degree in political science from SaintOlafCollege and a law degree from the South Texas School of Law. He has most recently served as an acting Anchorage District Court judge from August 2009 – January 2010, and has previous experience on the Anchorage bench as an acting Anchorage District Court judge from 1987-88 and from 1996-99, and as judge and committing magistrate from 2007 to March 2009. Olson’s career in Alaska also includes work as general counsel for General Communications, Inc., in 2004, hearing examiner for the Regulatory Commission of Alaska from 1999 -2003, attorney in private practice in Anchorage from 1989-96, assistant district attorney in Anchorage and Fairbanks from 1978-83, and work for Alaska Legal Services as a VISTA volunteer in Kotzebue. He will fill a new seat on the Anchorage District Court created by the Alaska State Legislature in 2009.

Zwink, 53, was born in Buffalo, New York, and received a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Buffalo State College. He taught in New York schools for three years. After earning a law degree from the University of Oregon Law School, he moved to Wasilla and worked as a private attorney from 1986-89. After operating his own law firm in Wasilla from 1989-90, he joined the Palmer District Court in 1990, and has served there as a magistrate, standing master and District Court judge pro tem. Zwink will fill the vacancy on the Palmer District Court created in 2009 when Judge Gregory L. Heath was appointed to the Palmer Superior Court.

Alaska’s District Courts have jurisdiction over state misdemeanors and violations of city and borough ordinances. They may also hold preliminary hearings in felony cases, try civil cases valued at less than $100,000 and small claims cases valued at less than $10,000, hear domestic violence cases, and issue summonses, arrest warrants and search warrants.

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