Deborah M. Smith was sworn in as a United States Magistrate Judge for the District of Alaska in February, 2007, and became the district’s Chief Magistrate Judge in 2014, following a successful career as a federal prosecutor and trial lawyer. For the past two years, Judge Smith served as Chair of the Ninth Circuit Magistrate Judges Executive Board and as an appointed observer on the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council. In Alaska, Judge Smith presides over federal criminal matters and conducts civil settlement conferences. In 2015, she chaired the committee which established Alaska’s first federal reentry court.Judge Smith graduated cum laude from the University of Florida, where she served as editor of the daily newspaper and was a Board of Regents Scholar. After college, she worked as a journalist, serving as education editor of the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. Judge Smith graduated from Northeastern Law School in Boston.
Judge Smith is active in community and bar association activities. She has served as the District Court liaison to the Alaska Bar Association and its convention planning committee for nine years. She is a member of the Downtown Anchorage Rotary Club, and served as co-chair of its World Community Service Committee. In that role, she traveled to northern India to assist in the National Polio Vaccination Program in 2011. She is currently Chair of the Alaska World Affairs Council. She also serves as a mentor for the Color of Justice Minority Mentoring Program and the Anchorage High School Mock Trial Program.