A Facebook page calling for the ouster of Anchorage Judge Michael Corey had more than 2,700 followers by Monday afternoon. Many of those advocating non-retention of the judge in November's election were outraged over a plea deal Cory accepted for 34-year-old Justin Schneider.

 

Schneider was sentenced for strangling a woman he'd offered a ride to until she became unconscious, then masturbating on her. The judge gave Schneider a two-year sentence with one suspended, as well as credit for a year spent on ankle monitoring while he lived at home with his family.

The Alaska Department of Law has backed Corey's sentence, calling it reasonable under what the law would allow. Another group is recommending his retention. It's the Alaska Judicial Council, an independent agency confirmed by the legislature that is charged with evaluating judicial candidates and judges that are up for retention.

The Judicial Council gave Corey a thumbs up in July, well before his controversial ruling. Executive Director Susanne DiPietro said the positive evaluation was based on a year's worth of surveys and interviews with people who have had contact with the judge.

"Including surveys of attorneys, prosecutors and defense attorneys, private civil attorneys, surveys of social workers, surveys of jurors, court employee surveys," said DiPietro. "So the Council is trying to get the feedback of everyone that has seen the job performance of that judge."

DiPietro said there's no mechanism to take back a recommendation from the Council, nor is it clear that members would be inclined to. She added the public will have to make their own decision but hoped they would take a judge's history into account.

All of the information that's been gathered on a judge who is up for retention can be found at the Alaska Judicial Council's website. 

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