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Public comments solicited on applicants to succeed Judge Pinski

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Posted at 11:53 AM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 13:53:00-04

Last month, the Judicial Nomination Commission began accepting applications for the position of district court judge for the Eighth Judicial District (Cascade County) to fill the seat that will soon be vacated by Judge Gregory Pinski.

Pinski announced last month that he is stepping down from the bench effective October 2, 2020 (details).

The Commission has received applications from the following attorneys:

  • Steven Brian Bolstad
  • Theresa Lynn Diekhans
  • David J. Grubich
  • Michele Reinhart Levine
  • Matthew Stuart Robertson
  • Sunday Zoie Rossberg

The Commission now is soliciting public comments on the applicants. Click here to see the submissions and writing samples from all six applicants. Comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, September 23.

People can submit public comments either in writing (e-mail or paper) or via telephone at 406-841-2972. The Commission says it is helpful for people to provide information indicating how they know the applicant and describe their experience with the applicant. These comments, which become part of an applicant’s file, will be posted on the Commission’s web page and forwarded to the Governor. Public comment may be submitted to:

Judicial Nomination Commission
c/o Lois Menzies
Office of Court Administrator
P.O. Box 203005
Helena, MT 59620-3005 mtsupremecourt@mt.gov

The Commission will forward the names of three to five nominees to the Governor for appointment after reviewing the applications, receiving public comment, and interviewing the applicants if necessary.

The person appointed by the Governor is subject to Senate confirmation during the 2021 legislative session. The position is subject to election in 2022, and the successful candidate will serve for the remainder of Judge Pinski’s term, which expires in January 2025. Judicial Nomination Commission members are District Judge John Brown of Bozeman; Janice Bishop of Missoula; Karl Englund of Missoula; Elizabeth Halverson of Billings; Hal Harper of Helena; Lane Larson of Billings; and Nancy Zadick of Great Falls.

Pinski was elected to serve as District Court judge in 2012 and again in 2018, and told MTN News last month of voters: “Their confidence in me twice is something that I'm very grateful for, that I’m very appreciative of."

Pinski plans to open a veterans law clinic to provide free legal services to veterans who need it. "There are so many veterans that are facing issues that have become barriers for them in reintegrating into the community,” he said. “In this new role, I’ll really be an advocate for those needs."