In re Marriage of Martin, PR 22-0001

CitationPR 22-0001
Case DateSeptember 22, 2022
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Montana

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF: BENJAMIN MARTIN, Co-Petitioner, and BRANDI WILLIAMS, Co-Petitioner.

No. PR 22-0001

Supreme Court of Montana

September 22, 2022


ORDER

Benjamin Martin, representing himself, has filed an affidavit in support of his request to disqualify the Honorable John C. Brown from presiding in Cause No. DR-12-60C in the Eighteenth Judicial District Court, Gallatin County, pursuant to § 3-1-805, MCA.

Section 3-1-805, MCA, provides that an affidavit for disqualification for cause must allege facts showing personal bias or prejudice of the presiding judge. Section 3-1805(1)(c), MCA, provides in part that an affidavit that does not allege facts showing personal bias or prejudice may be set aside as void. Martin's affidavit makes no allegations of bias or prejudice on the part of Judge Brown, only asserting that Martin did not attend a hearing because of illness, Judge Brown later attempted to reschedule the hearing, and Martin sent Judge Brown a "notice of intent to sue" but has not actually filed suit against Judge Brown. Since Martin's affidavit offers nothing that demonstrates personal bias or prejudice on the part of Judge Brown, Martin has not satisfied the requirements of § 3-1-805, MCA, and it is therefore unnecessary to appoint a judge to hear this matter.

In addition to Martin's filing, this Court has further received a Notice to Montana Supreme Court of Motion to Disqualify for Cause from Judge Brown and a Response to Motion for Disqualification of Judge Brown filed by counsel for Brandi Williams, Co-Petitioner

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in the District Court matter. Williams's filing, in addition to arguing against disqualification, requests attorney fees for the preparation of the response. Under § 3-1-805(1), MCA, when a party files an affidavit in support of a disqualification for cause of a presiding judge, "such judge shall proceed no further in the cause," but shall refer the matter to this Court. Thus, responsive filings are neither contemplated by the statute nor are they relied upon by this Court in determining whether the filing is in compliance with § 3-1 -805(1)(a)-(c), MCA, and whether a judge shall be assigned to hear the matter. Since Williams's filing was unnecessary, she is not entitled to her attorney fees.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the motion to disqualify District Judge John C. Brown from Gallatin County Cause No. DR-12-60C is DENIED.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Co-Petitioner Brandi Williams's request for...

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