By Patrick Winderl/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
Hill County Attorney David Rice said he intends to seek the state District Court vacancy created by Judge John Warner's appointment to the Montana Supreme Court.
Rice said Thursday that he will apply for the position later this month. Warner will resign from the District Court seat on May 18. Warner, a Great Falls native, has served in Havre as a district judge since 1988. He replaces Terry Trieweiler, who resigned from the high court to enter private practice.
Rice said he has considered making a bid for Warner's spot since Warner applied for the Supreme Court earlier this year.
"It's something I've thought about in the past," he said. "I think it's always been in the back of my mind."
Rice, who has been the Hill County attorney for 17 years, said he believes he would be an excellent trial judge. He added that his current position requires balancing interests and making judgment calls, as does a judge's.
"My obligation is to look at all the issues," he said. "I'm considered to be very fair."
Rice must complete a lengthy application to the Judicial Nomination Commission within the next 30 days, he said. The group will review all the applications and interview candidates before selecting the top several to provide to Gov. Judy Martz for review. Martz will make the selection, which must be approved by the state Senate during the next legislative session, Rice said.
If Rice is appointed as district judge, the Hill County Commission will have to appoint a new county attorney, Rice said. That person will serve until the next election, when the position will appear on the ballot.