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HomeOpinionSheriffs support Cory Swanson for chief justice

Sheriffs support Cory Swanson for chief justice

By: Broadwater County Sheriff Nick Rauser, Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter, Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino, Missoula County Sheriff Jeremiah Petersen, Gallatin County Sheriff Dan Springer, Beaverhead County Sheriff Dave Wendt, and Ravalli County Sheriff Steve Holton

Law enforcement officers dedicate their lives to protecting public safety, maintaining order, and upholding justice. Our jobs are intrinsically tied to Montana’s judiciary. When law enforcement and prosecutors can trust that the courts will handle criminal cases fairly, it gives us and the public confidence that we can keep our communities safe and achieve justice.

In pursuit of that goal, we are proud to endorse Cory Swanson for Chief Justice of the Montana Supreme Court. Swanson is the best candidate because he will be fair in criminal cases, keep politics out of the courtroom, and uphold the rule of law.

Swanson has served as the Broadwater County Attorney for a decade and developed a solid reputation among law enforcement for being a tough but fair prosecutor. He has an in-depth knowledge of our state’s law and has proven himself to be an effective leader. No candidate in this race has more Montana courtroom experience than Cory Swanson.

We are confident that this positive track record will carry over into the state’s highest court. And it couldn’t come at a better time.

Nationally, the public’s trust in the judiciary is declining. Activist judges—those who come with a political agenda and routinely override legislation—have created instability and left many Americans feeling disaffected. The problem gets even worse as more and more political disagreements find their way into the courts for resolution, rather than being worked out through the legislative process.

From a law enforcement perspective, it’s frightening to see activist judges and woke prosecutors in large American cities seemingly turn a blind eye to many crimes. Rampant drug abuse, property crimes, and violent assaults on innocent people, are at shocking levels in some cities. And too many activist judges simply release criminals back onto the street to repeat their crimes.

We see signs of the same problem in Montana’s courts. We are all aware of cases with top quality investigations that resulted in conviction of some of our most dangerous criminals. Then the Montana Supreme Court reviewed the case, changed the rules of the game, and overturned the jury’s guilty verdict based upon these newly-invented rules for investigation.

Law enforcement officers have a tough job, made even tougher by activist judges that send the message they just don’t trust officers who lay their lives on the line every day they put on the badge and gun. Even worse, criminals have become emboldened, resulting in more brazen crimes in our communities.

Judicial activism isn’t just about one side of a political fight winning and the other side losing. It is also about judges who don’t follow the law, but rather change the law to their liking. It results in less public trust in our courts and ultimately in our belief that every American has the same rights and access to justice as everyone else.

Many Montanans are ready for an independent judiciary that will uphold law and justice, utilize common sense in reviewing the hard work of everyone involved in the law enforcement and prosecution process, and employ a judicially conservative — not activist — temperament in the courtroom. If keeping politics out of the courtroom resonates with you, we encourage you to join us in supporting Cory Swanson for Chief Justice of the Montana Supreme Court.

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