SENATE BILL NO. 254
INTRODUCED BY D. SANDS
AN ACT REVISING THE PROCEDURE FOR SELECTING A CHIEF MUNICIPAL COURT JUDGE IN A MULTIJUDGE CITY; AMENDING SECTION 3-6-201, MCA; AND PROVIDING AN IMMEDIATE EFFECTIVE DATE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
"3-6-201. Number of judges -- election -- term of office -- chief judge -- duties of chief judge -- assistant judge. (1) The governing body of a city shall determine by ordinance the number of judges required to operate the municipal court.
(2) A municipal court judge who is not a part-time assistant judge appointed under subsection (6) must be elected at the general election, as provided in 13-1-104(3). The judge's term commences on the first Monday in January following the election. The judge shall hold office for the term of 4 years and until a successor is elected and qualified.
(3) Except as provided in subsection (2), all elections of municipal court judges are governed by the laws applicable to the election of district court judges.
(4) (a) If there is more than one municipal court judge, the judges shall adopt a procedure by which they either:
(i) select a chief municipal court judge at the beginning of each calendar year; or by which
the position of chief municipal court judge rotates among the judges in order of seniority at the beginning of each calendar year, with the most senior judge serving during the first year of the rotation.
(ii) select a chief municipal court judge for a specific period of time.
(b) If the judges cannot agree, the judge with the most seniority shall serve as the chief municipal court judge.
(5) The chief municipal court judge shall provide for the efficient management of the court, in cooperation with the other judge or judges, if any, and shall:
(a) maintain a central docket of the court's cases;
(b) provide for the distribution of cases from the central docket among the judges, if there is more than one judge, in order to equalize the work of the judges;
(c) request the jurors needed for cases set for jury trial;
(d) if there is more than one judge, temporarily reassign or substitute judges among the departments as necessary to carry out the business of the court; and
(e) supervise and control the court's personnel and the administration of the court.
(6) A municipal court judge may, with the approval of the governing body of the city, appoint a part-time assistant judge, who must have the same qualifications as a judge pro tempore under 3-6-204, to serve during the municipal court judge's term of office. An order by a part-time assistant judge has the same force and effect as an order of a municipal court judge."
Section 2. Effective date. [This act] is effective on passage and approval.
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Prepared by Montana Legislative Services