Press Release

Joe Slusser Retires as Bethel District Attorney
Lance Joanis appointed as Slusser's replacement

May 31, 2007

(Anchorage) Attorney General Talis Colberg announced today the appointment of Lance Joanis as the new District Attorney for Bethel, Alaska. Joanis replaces Joe Slusser, who is retiring on June 1, 2007.

Slusser graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1982 from the Detroit College of Law. He was second in his class of 105 students. In 1982 he began work in the Fairbanks' office of Hughes, Thorsness, Gantz, Powell & Brundin. Prior to his career with the Department of Law, Slusser served as a Magistrate in Delta Junction, Alaska, from July 1984 through November 1985.

"Joe brought our office a wealth of experience and a great outlook punctuated by his sense of humor," said Lance Joanis, who will take over as the Bethel District Attorney. "He is a consensus and relationship builder, and during his time helped tighten our office bonds with law enforcement."

In 2006 Slusser was the recipient of the "Making a Difference Award" for his contributions as the District Attorney for Bethel. "Working in a unique and remote community presents challenges and opportunities alike," said Rick Svobodny, Deputy Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the Department of Law. "Joe is an excellent prosecutor who worked hard for his community and whose professionalism was a model for the type of attorneys Alaska needs. He will be missed by the department."

Slusser served as a state prosecutor for over 14 years including nearly two years in Barrow, three years in Fairbanks, over eight years in Kodiak and one year in Bethel.

Lance Joanis will take over for Slusser in June. Joanis received his law degree from the University of Idaho, College of Law in Moscow, Idaho, in 2004. Joanis currently serves as an Assistant District Attorney in the Bethel office.

"Lance represents the kind of prosecutor that we need in Alaska," said Svobodny. "In my estimation Lance embodies the qualities role-modeled by Joe Slusser as Bethel's outgoing District Attorney."

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