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Jefferson/Crook County Judge Daniel Ahern to retire


(Update: Judge Ahern comments on his tenure; adding video)

Gov. Kate Brown announced Wednesday that she is accepting applications for a judicial vacancy on the Jefferson/Crook County Circuit Court created by the planned retirement of Judge Daniel J. Ahern.

The governor thanked Judge Ahern for his dedicated judicial service, and announced that she will fill the position by appointment.

Judge Ahern’s retirement takes effect March 31.

Ahern joined the court in 2002 and was relected without opposition in 2014 for a term that was due to expire in January 2021. He previously served as a judge on the Jefferson County court and worked as an attorney in private practice.

Ahern, who grew up in Madras, attended the University of Oregon Law School and has been a judge (commissioner) or circuit judge since 1996.

He told NewsChannel 21 on Wednesday some of his favorite experiences were in specialty courts that deal with issues such as drugs, family law and mental health.

“In these smaller communities like Madras and Prineville, most of these people aren’t going anywhere,” Ahern said. “They are going to be part of our community for the next 20, 30, 40 years.

“So to the extent that we can help them break their cycle, which is the goal of Drug Court, I get a lot of success. So I see people in the community that were a graduate of my drug program six, seven years ago that I see them employed, doing well, and it’s a good feeling to be a part of that.”

Although he’s retiring from full-time duties, Ahern said he’ll still fill in as a judge on occasion around the state for the next five years.

Interested applicants for the judgeship should mail or deliver their completed application forms to: Misha Isaak, General Counsel, Office of the Governor, 900 Court Street NE #254, Salem, OR 97301-4047.

Forms must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6. Forms emailed by 5:00 p.m. on the closing date will be considered timely so long as original signed forms postmarked by the closing date are later received.

Brown fills judicial vacancies based on merit. She encourages applications from lawyers with a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. ORS 3.041 and 3.050 provide that at the time of appointment to the court, the candidate must be a citizen of the United States, a resident of Oregon, and a member of the Oregon State Bar.

ORS 3.041 requires that this vacancy must be filled by an applicant who is a resident of or has a principal office in Jefferson/Crook County. ORS 3.041(5) provides the required length of time for the residency requirements.

To receive answers to questions about the appointment process or to request an interest form, contact Shevaun Gutridge at 503-378-6246 or

The judicial interest form is also available online.

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