Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 2. Municipal Court Judges

Number Of Judges -- Election -- Term Of Office -- Chief Judge -- Duties Of Chief Judge

3-6-201. Number of judges -- election -- term of office -- chief judge -- duties of chief 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 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

(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.

History: En. Sec. 3, Ch. 177, L. 1935; re-en. Sec. 5094.3, R.C.M. 1935; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 429, L. 1977; R.C.M. 1947, 11-1703; amd. Sec. 376, Ch. 571, L. 1979; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 99, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 167, L. 2005; amd. Sec. 13, Ch. 49, L. 2015; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 318, L. 2019; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 184, L. 2021.