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Arthur K. Delaney

Arthur K. Delaney


Arthur K. Delaney


Best remembered today as the first mayor of Juneau, Alaska, Arthur K. Delaney began his professional career as an attorney. Born in New York State, he arrived in Alaska in the 1890s as part of the larger wave of travelers seeking fortune during the Klondike Gold Rush. At the end of 1895, Arthur K. Delaney was admitted as a judge presiding the District Court of the United States in and for the District of Alaska,


In 1896, one of two cases which eventually were heard in the United States Supreme Court involving Arthur K. Delaney began. The case began in May of that year when Ohlin H. Adsit filed suit against John F. Malony. In his case, Adsit charged that he had been the occupant and possessor of half of a tract of land in Juneau for nine years before April 29, 1891, upon which he had constructed a large wooden building. At that time, he charged, Malony had unlawfully ejected him from his property.


In his lawsuit, Adsit asked that the court award him possession of either the land in question or an interest in it. On June 8 of 1896, Malony filed a demurral, a motion stating that the person filing suit does not have sufficient basis for their litigation to proceed. However, on October 9 the court overruled him and gave Adsit time to file a response. Subsequently a trial was scheduled and was heard the following year before Arthur K. Delaney.

The right to trial by jury was waived. In his ruling, Arthur K. Delaney found in favor of Adsit. The following year, Arthur K. Delaney resigned from his position as a judge. However, the case continued after his exit as Malony first filed a "bill of exceptions," a document allowing a party in a legal case to state their objection to a ruling on a legal basis. The judge who signed this document had resigned by the time Malony filed an appeal with the Supreme Court.


The case of Malony v. Adsit was heard by the Supreme Court in 1899. The specific issue at stake was the validity of the bill of exceptions. Because the judge who had signed it had preceded Arthur K. Delaney, the Supreme Court found that the bill of exceptions could not be considered and ruled in favor of Adsit.


Arthur K. Delaney appeared directly before the Supreme Court in 1901, acting as counsel for the defense in the case of Marks v. Shoup, acting on behalf of J.M. Shoup. That same year, Arthur K. Delaney was elected the first mayor of Juneau, serving in that capacity for a year. In 1902, Arthur K. Delaney was succeeded in his office by Ohlin H. Adsit, who served in that capacity until 1904. Arthur K. Delaney left that year and relocated to California, where he died in January of the following year.