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Gov. Gianforte Announces Advisory Council for 10th Judicial District Vacancy

Governor Greg Gianforte today announced an advisory council to assist in reviewing qualified candidates to fill the district court judge vacancy in the 10th Judicial District (Fergus, Judith Basin, and Petroleum Counties).

“Representing the interests of their communities, members of our judicial advisory councils play a critical role in identifying candidates to fill judicial vacancies that interpret laws, not make them from the bench,” Gov. Gianforte said. “I look forward to the 10th Judicial District advisory council’s work over the coming weeks and receiving their recommendations.”

Members of the 10th Judicial District advisory council include:

  • Kris Birdwell, attorney at Stogsdill & Birdwell, PC

  • Bonnie Boettger, former probation and parole officer for the Montana Department of Corrections

  • Bill Cassell, Petroleum County Sheriff

  • Diane Cochran, deputy county attorney for Fergus County

  • Nathan Descheemaeker, cattle rancher and board member of Petroleum County Conservation District

  • Justin Jenness, Lewistown Police Chief

  • Jim Peterson, rancher and former legislator

  • Betty Sampsel, owner of Hughes Newford Co.

  • KellyAnne Terry, chair of Fergus County Port Authority and Lewistown City Commissioner

  • Oliver Urick, attorney at Urick Law Firm

  • Bing Von Bergen, owner and operator of Von Bergen Farms

Gov. Gianforte announced in March that he is accepting applications and nominations for the 10th judicial district vacancy of any lawyer in good standing who has the qualifications set forth by law for holding the position of district court judge. The application form is available electronically at Applications must be submitted electronically as well as in hard copy by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 19, 2022. Applications will be made available to the public.

Commencing Wednesday, April 20 and continuing through Thursday, May 19, 2022, the public will be given the opportunity to provide letters of support or other comments regarding the applicants to Applicants must receive at least three letters of support to be considered for appointment by the governor.

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