Daniel Winfree becomes Chief Justice of Alaska | Alaska News

The Alaska Supreme Court has a new Chief Justice.

Fairbanks Chief Justice Daniel Winfree was sworn in on Thursday by Judge Dario Borghesan, who worked for the Chief early in his Borghesan career. Winfree is the first Alaskan-born Chief Justice and the second Chief Justice of Fairbanks.

Under the Alaska Constitution, the chief justice is chosen from among the judges by a majority vote. The Chief Justice serves a three-year term as administrative head of the judicial branch of government, presides over Supreme Court debates and conferences, appoints presiding justices for all judicial districts, and chairs the Alaska Judicial Council .

Winfree joined the Alaska Supreme Court in January 2008, according to a press release from the Alaska court system. Born in the Alaska Territory at Fairbanks in 1953, he was the grandson of the turn-of-the-century Yukon and Alaska gold miners. From 1975 to 1978, he was a truck driver and storekeeper at pipeline construction camps and in Prudhoe Bay, working on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Winfree received a BS in Finance from the University of Oregon in 1977 and in 1981 an MBA and JD from the University of California at Berkeley. He was called to the Alaskan Bar in 1982 and spent 25 years in private practice in Anchorage, Valdez and Fairbanks, working with large and small businesses and as an individual practitioner.

He served nine years on the board of governors of the Alaska Bar Association and served as its president from 1994 to 1995, the statement said. He has also served on the Bar Association’s ethics committee and several terms on the fees arbitration committee. He was awarded its Distinguished Service Award by the Bar Association in 2007. After his last term on the Board of Governors, he joined the Alaska Bar Foundation Board of Trustees and served as its President for two years. He now chairs the Judicial Code of Conduct Rules Committee and the Supreme Court Appeal Rules Committee. Judge Winfree is married to another Fairbanks-born third generation Alaskan, Cathleen Ringstad Winfree. They have two children.

Contact the press room at 907-459-7572.

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