Peterson, Application of, No. 1066

CourtSupreme Court of Alaska (US)
Writing for the CourtBONEY
Citation499 P.2d 304
PartiesApplication of Arthur H. PETERSON, for Admission to the Alaska Bar Association.
Docket NumberNo. 1066
Decision Date17 July 1972

Page 304

499 P.2d 304
Application of Arthur H. PETERSON, for Admission to the
Alaska Bar Association.
No. 1066.
Supreme Court of Alaska.
July 17, 1972.

Page 305

Arthur H. Peterson, in pro per.

Mary F. La Follette, Anchorage, for Board of Governors of the Alaska Bar Assoc.

Page 306

OPINION

BONEY, Chief Justice.

This case is the renewal of Arthur H. Peterson's petition for admission to the Alaska Bar Association. Peterson wrote and failed the bar examinations given in January and September of 1967. In his first application, 1 this court declined to rule on the merits of Peterson's appeal until after the Board of Governors provided him a fair hearing. 2 Our concern then was only with the hearing and review procedures of the Alaska Bar Association which we held to be deficient. 3 We held that:

In order for such a hearing to have attained the characteristics of a fair proceeding, the applicant must, sufficiently in advance of the appellate hearing, be given access to the examination questions, his answers thereto, the model answers, and an adequate sampling of both passing and failing examination papers. 4

Peterson was provided with those materials as ordered. A hearing was held before an impartial member of the bar on April 17, 1970. The hearing officer, fully considering the arguments presented, submitted a Memorandum Decision to the Board of Governors of the Alaska Bar Association recommending that Peterson be denied both review of his examination papers and admission to the bar. Pursuant to its by-laws, 5 the Executive Director of the Alaska Bar Association then conducted a poll by mail of the members of the Board of Governors. 6 The Board voted to adopt the hearing officer's decision, and on July 14, 1970, the Executive Director so notified Peterson.

Peterson then petitioned the Board for reconsideration under the Alaska Administrative Procedure Act, AS 44.62.540. His request was denied.

In renewing his application before this court, Peterson questions the adequacy of the hearing afforded him by the Alaska Bar Association. He also alleges unfairness in the scoring system used whereby he failed first in January, 1967, when the passing score was 65, and again in September, 1967, when he scored a 67.5 but the passing grade was raised to 70.

We now must reach the merits of the issues raised by Peterson. While this court ultimately reserves the authority to determine whether or not an applicant should be admitted to the bar, considerable administrative responsibility has been delegated to the Alaska Bar Association. 7 The legislature has expressly included the Board of Governors of the Alaska Bar Association as an agency subject to the adjudicative procedures of the Alaska Administrative Procedure Act, AS 44.62.010-650. 8 That act provides that abuse of discretion by agencies is established on review if the agency's findings are not supported by 'substantial evidence in the light of the whole record.' 9 In order to prevent 'dislocations

Page 307

of the respective functions' of administrative agencies and the courts, 10 we have consistently adhered to the substantial evidence test as the appropriate scope of review with regard to appeals from administrative agencies. 11

Peterson argues that he was again denied a fair hearing and that such a repeated denial constitutes grounds for this court to review more broadly both the examination system used in January and September of 1967 and his examination answers. With no transcript of the hearing, the Board itself merely voted by mail to adopt the hearing officer's proposed decision. Peterson did not appear before the Board. We do note that the Board complied with the provisions of the Alaska Administrative Procedure Act: the Board has the authority both to delegate its powers, 12 and to appoint hearing officers; 13 the Board, by an allowed method, 14 properly adopted the hearing officer's proposed decision. 15 Nevertheless, we are concerned by the manner which the Board reviewed the findings of the hearing officer. 16 However, while our inherent supervisory powers over admission to the bar would allow us to invoke a broader standard of review, we conclude that the substantial evidence test is appropriate in this case.

On this appeal, the arguments...

To continue reading

Request your trial
8 practice notes
  • Galt v. Stanton, No. 3520
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alaska (US)
    • March 2, 1979
    ...Board of Health's decision that a particular building should be removed as a health and safety hazard). See also Application of Peterson, 499 P.2d 304 (Alaska 1972) (review of denial of admission to the state...
  • Simpson, In re, No. 5963
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alaska (US)
    • June 11, 1982
    ...case, In re Peterson, we held that our review of such findings of fact was to be limited by the "substantial evidence" standard of review. 499 P.2d 304, 306 (Alaska 1972). At the time Peterson was decided, however, the Alaska Bar Association was subject to the provisions of the Alaska Admin......
  • Sullivan v. Alaska Bar Ass'n, No. 2783
    • United States
    • Alaska Supreme Court
    • June 14, 1976
    ...511 P.2d 136 (Alaska 1973). 4 Under AS 44.62.010-650, it is subject to the Administrative Procedure Act. 5 Application of Peterson, 499 P.2d 304, 306 (Alaska 6 This court welcomes proposals from the Bar Association spelling out their perception of the relationship between that body and the ......
  • Allen v. State, Dept. of Labor, No. 6623
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alaska (US)
    • February 4, 1983
    ...proceedings. E.g. City of Fairbanks v. Alaska Public Utilities Commission, 611 P.2d 493, 495 (Alaska 1980); Application of Peterson, 499 P.2d 304, 306-07 (Alaska 1972). See Citizens to Preserve Overland Park, Inc. v. Volpe, 401 U.S. 402, 91 S.Ct. 814, 28 L.Ed.2d 136 (1971). The superior cou......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8 cases
  • Galt v. Stanton, No. 3520
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alaska (US)
    • March 2, 1979
    ...Board of Health's decision that a particular building should be removed as a health and safety hazard). See also Application of Peterson, 499 P.2d 304 (Alaska 1972) (review of denial of admission to the state...
  • Simpson, In re, No. 5963
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alaska (US)
    • June 11, 1982
    ...case, In re Peterson, we held that our review of such findings of fact was to be limited by the "substantial evidence" standard of review. 499 P.2d 304, 306 (Alaska 1972). At the time Peterson was decided, however, the Alaska Bar Association was subject to the provisions of the Alaska Admin......
  • Sullivan v. Alaska Bar Ass'n, No. 2783
    • United States
    • Alaska Supreme Court
    • June 14, 1976
    ...511 P.2d 136 (Alaska 1973). 4 Under AS 44.62.010-650, it is subject to the Administrative Procedure Act. 5 Application of Peterson, 499 P.2d 304, 306 (Alaska 6 This court welcomes proposals from the Bar Association spelling out their perception of the relationship between that body and the ......
  • Allen v. State, Dept. of Labor, No. 6623
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alaska (US)
    • February 4, 1983
    ...proceedings. E.g. City of Fairbanks v. Alaska Public Utilities Commission, 611 P.2d 493, 495 (Alaska 1980); Application of Peterson, 499 P.2d 304, 306-07 (Alaska 1972). See Citizens to Preserve Overland Park, Inc. v. Volpe, 401 U.S. 402, 91 S.Ct. 814, 28 L.Ed.2d 136 (1971). The superior cou......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT