Judge orders Recall Dunleavy to be temporarily halted until appeal heard

Gov. Mike Dunleavy responds to Friday's court decision on the recall petition against him....
Gov. Mike Dunleavy responds to Friday's court decision on the recall petition against him. (KTUU Jan. 10, 2020) (KTUU)
Published: Jan. 21, 2020 at 9:26 AM AKST
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Update Jan. 22, 2020:

Judge Aarseth reversed Tuesday's ruling, saying the order granting the stay was "inadvertently" issued.

Original Story:

An Anchorage Superior Court judge has ordered that the effort to recall the governor from office should be temporarily halted until the case is heard in the Alaska Supreme Court.

Judge Eric Aarseth ordered that the Recall Dunleavy effort could move forward on Jan. 10 after it was denied certification by the director of the Division of Elections. His order required that booklets be printed before Feb. 10.

On Tuesday, Aarseth granted a motion to stay that was filed by Stand Tall with Mike, a group formed to defend the governor from the recall effort.

On Jan. 15, attorneys with Stand Tall with Mike filed the motion to temporarily halt the recall application, citing that its members faced “irreparable harm” if the application was certified while the case waits to be heard on appeal.

Aarseth signaled on Jan. 10 that he was not inclined to grant a motion to stay. Brewster Jamieson, an attorney with Stand Tall with Mike, said Aarseth must have read the motion and agreed with the arguments and authorities cited.

“Good judges keep open minds,” Brewster said of Aarseth’s decision to grant a stay. “This reaffirms my faith that judges are committed to making decisions based on the law and the arguments that are put before them.”

Brewster said he did not think Tuesday’s decision by a Superior Court judge meant it was more or less likely that the Supreme Court will deny the recall effort.

Stand Tall with Mike released a statement explaining that it "believes staying the collection of signatures pending appeal is the right approach."

The central argument is that if the Supreme Court strikes down any of the allegations from Recall Dunleavy that Alaskans who are set to sign the recall petition will need to sign again.

"If the Supreme Court rules charges can go forward, but deviates at all from the Superior Court as to which ones are valid, then the signature booklets should reflect the charges as they will be on the ballot," Stand Tall with Mike wrote in a statement. "It is proper for the Court and parties to take the time to get it right so that Alaskans are fully informed."

“We appreciate the court’s quick decision on the stay, which gives the Division of Elections firm direction,” Attorney General Kevin Clarkson said in a prepared statement. “The Division of Elections was already holding off on printing pending the outcome of the stay, and in light of the stay, will not be printing booklets. We look forward to filing our notice of appeal and presenting our arguments to the Alaska Supreme Court.”

On Jan. 10, Gov. Michael Dunleavy said that he was prepared for the

that a recall election could occur.

Recall Dunleavy said it was not dissuaded by Tuesday's decision.

"It is very important to note that this latest order does not impact the merits of his primary ruling—the recall application that over 46,000 Alaskans signed is still valid," wrote Claire Pywell, a spokesperson for the group. "Recall Dunleavy intends to pursue all necessary procedures at every level to guarantee that Alaskans will have the opportunity to sign the recall petition as soon as possible."

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