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Lawsuit by Senate Candidate Claims Montana Disclosure Rule Infringes on Free Speech

Photo courtesy of Jon King

Former Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate, Dan Cox is starting a class action lawsuit against the Montana Judicial Standards Commission. Cox wants the public to know about misconduct by a judge he claims to have witnessed. However, Cox’s attorney Matthew Monforton says there are big penalties if Cox makes the alleged misdeeds public.

“That complaint was dismissed summarily by the commission without any kind of investigation,” Monforton said. “Unfortunately for Mr. Cox, the commission has a rule that if Mr. Cox wants to criticize the commission’s actions by publicizing the complaint that he filed he could be held in contempt and subject to up to six months in jail.”

Monforton says this is a free speech issue that effects more people than just Dan Cox.

“Any other person that files a complaint against a judge in the state faces the same kind of penalty,” Monforton said. “It’s an egregious violation of Mr. Cox’s first amendment rights and the rights of every other Montanan that’s chosen to criticize judges. Montana is the only state that I know of that still enforces this kind of Draconian penalty.”

Because this is a class action lawsuit, Monforton is asking others with similar grievances against Montana judges to contact the Monforton Law offices in Bozeman to join the suit.


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