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Hamilton attorney disbarred for false, reckless ads against sitting judge

Friday, December 29, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Joe Menden
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Hamilton attorney Robert C. Myers was disbarred on Dec. 28 for his conduct in his 2016 campaign for 21st Judicial District judge – including running false and reckless advertisements against the sitting judge.

The Montana Supreme Court accepted the Commission on Practice's findings that Myers sent a mailer to Ravalli County residents and placed advertisements against District Judge Jeffrey H. Langton, all of which contained knowingly false and reckless statements. In the ads, Myers made unsubstantiated claims that Judge Langton had presided over a case against the boyfriend of the judge’s “cocaine and sex partner,” and that the judge had purchased illegal drugs from a 13-year-old.

One of the ads featured a song containing the lines "Liquor Langton, Liquor Langton, He's the coke snorting, meth buying, drunken judge."

The commission concluded that Myers violated Rules 8.1(a) and 8.4(c) of the Montana Rules of Professional Conduct by making or causing to be made statements that he knew to be false or made with reckless disregard for the truth concerning the integrity of a judge, and by engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation. The commission also found evidence that Myers violated numerous provisions of Canon 4 of the Montana Code of Judicial Conduct, which applies to judicial candidates under Rule 8.2(b) of the Montana Rules of Professional Conduct.

The disbarment was one of three separate orders of discipline the Montana Supreme Court handed down to Myers on Thursday.

The court also suspended Myers for three additional years for placing an advertisement earlier in the same judicial campaign. In this ad, Myers directed a former client to make false statements about the judge. Myers also provided a false written statement to the local newspaper about the same matter.

The third discipline order, a seven-month suspension, arises from Myers' conduct in representing the client who appeared in the false ad. According to court records, Judge Langton found that Myers failed to timely file an opening brief or to timely file a Rule 60 Motion during his post-hearing representation of Cox, squandering his right of direct appeal and his right of review on claims of surprise and fraud.

During that case, the judge also determined that Myers made baseless accusations of conspiracy, fraud, bias, unethical behavior, and illegal acts against numerous people, including adverse counsel and Judge Langton himself.

Judge Langton ordered $10,000 in sanctions against Myers, which the Supreme Court affirmed, and referred him to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel for violations of Rules 3.1(a) and 8.2(a) of the Montana Rules of Professional Conduct.

The suspensions are to run consecutively, meaning that Myers may not petition for reinstatement for eight years and seven months from the effective date of disbarment.