The Montana Judicial Nomination Commission has set an Oct. 4 deadline for people to apply to replace state District Judge David Rice of Havre.
Rice announced last month his resignation effective Nov. 1.
The commission, which accepts applications and selects three to five candidates to send to the governor, set a Nov. 4 deadline for public comment following the application deadline.
After reviewing the applicants and public comments and conducting interviews, the commission will forward recommendations to Gov. Brian Schweitzer to appoint a judge to finish Rice’s term, which expires Dec. 31, 2012.
The position, for the district judge in Montana Judicial District 12, holds court in Hill, Chouteau and Liberty counties.
Rice, 64, said he decided to retire to allow him and his wife, Linda, to spend more time with their growing family and to allow them to enjoy the opportunity to travel.
Rice started his career in Hill County law in 1973, when he was appointed part-time Hill County deputy attorney and also started a private practice.
In 1986, he won the election for Hill County attorney as a write in, just weeks after the incumbent and candidate, Ron Smith, died.
In 2003, Gov. Judy Martz appointed Rice to the judge position. Rice took the place of John Warner, who left the position in the 12th Judicial District when Martz appointed him to an open position on the Montana Supreme Court.
Warner retired from the Supreme Court December 2009.
The Judicial Commission, which is made up of members appointed by the governor, the Supreme Court and state District Court judges, received the official notice of Rice’s retirement from Chief Justice Mike McGrath Wednesday.
It announced it is accepting the applications of candidates in good standing: to be eligible for the position, the applicant must be a U.S. citizen who has resided in Montana at least two years and has been admitted to the practice of law in Montana for at least five years before being appointed.
Applications, in both Word for Windows and WordPerfect format, are available online at the commission’s webpage, and must be submitted both in writing and electronically.
The applications also are available through Andrew P. Suenram, secretary of the Judicial Nomination Commission, at email@example.com, PO Box 1366, Dillon, MT 59725, (406) 683-2391.
The applications received will be posted on the webpage, and people will be able to make comments at that site.
The members of the judicial commission are: District Judge Richard Simonton of Glendive; Shirley Ball of Nashua; Mona Charles of Kalispell; Monica Paoli of Missoula; Martha Sheehy of Billings; Andy Suenram of Dillon; and Paul Tuss of Havre.
On the Net: Montana Judicial Commission nomination webpage: http://courts.mt.gov/supreme/boards/jud_nomination/default.mcpx