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Merit selection panel to consider reappointment of Magistrate Judge Johnston

A merit selection panel will consider the reappointment of U.S. Magistrate Judge John T. Johnston of Great Falls to a new eight-year term when his current term expires on Jan. 5, 2023.

Comments from the members of the bar and the public are invited as to whether the panel should recommend Magistrate Judge Johnston for reappointment by the court. Comments may be submitted by email to; or mailed to Merit Selection Panel, c/o Tyler P. Gilman, Clerk of Court, U.S. District Court, P.O. Box 8537, Missoula MT 59807. Comments must be received by May 31, 2022.

According to the Clerk of U.S. District Court, the responsibilities of the position are wide ranging and include:

  • conduct of most preliminary proceedings in criminal cases;
  • trial and disposition of misdemeanor cases;
  • conduct of various pretrial matters and evidentiary proceedings on delegation from a district judge;
  • and trial and disposition of civil cases upon consent of the litigants.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris issued an order establishing the panel on April 27.

Members appointed to the selection panel are attorneys Jordan Crosby of Ugrin Alexander Zadick in Great Falls, Hank Branom of Federal Defenders of Montana, Jessica Betley of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Roland Durocher of Durocher and Winter in Great Falls, and Domenic Cossi of Western Justice Associates in Bozeman; and community members the Honorable Mistee Rides At The Door of Blackfeet Tribal Court and Jon Sesso of Butte.