State won’t look at attorney complaints

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The Montana Attorney General’s Office will not investigate the Flathead County Attorney’s Office as requested last month by three Flathead Valley attorneys.

A complaint filed Aug. 25 with the Prosecution Services Bureau by Jack Quatman, Phyllis Quatman and Tim Baldwin alleged “unethical and criminal activities” in the Flathead County Attorney’s Office.

The attorneys requested that the Attorney General’s Office investigate.

Assistant Attorney General Brant Light sent a letter last week to the Quatman and Quatman law firm in Whitefish saying he “did not believe that any of the allegations you have outlined in your letter warrant a criminal investigation of Ed Corrigan or Kenneth Park.”

Corrigan is Flathead County attorney and Park is a deputy county attorney.

However, Light said the numerous ethical violations alleged by the attorneys were “troubling.”

Light said the Attorney General’s Office does not investigate ethical violations and refers such matters to the state Commission on Practice. Light said that he will leave it up to the attorneys whether they wanted to pursue their complaints before the Commission on Practice; however, he said he forwarded a copy of the complaint to the Commission on Practice “as an FYI.”

Park issued a brief statement on Friday:

“We still have not received any paperwork regarding a letter from the Quatmans or Mr. Baldwin. We still have not heard anything about an investigation from the Attorney General’s Office. So based on that, we have nothing that we can comment on.”

Baldwin expressed his disappointment with Light’s decision.

“What investigation did [the Attorney General’s Office] really do?” Baldwin said. “They didn’t call me. They didn’t call Ed Corrigan. They didn’t provide the accusations to Corrigan. So what did they really do? It doesn’t sound like they did anything to me.

“It seems like it’s just a quick reaction, that they didn’t want anything to do with it and forwarded it to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.”

Baldwin stressed that the responsibility of the Attorney General’s Office is not just to prosecute crimes, it is to supervise county attorney offices.

The next step for the Quatmans and Baldwin will be sending the complaint to Gov. Steve Bullock as well as the American Civil Liberties Union.

“It appears to me that the Attorney General’s Office really didn’t want to get involved with this,” Baldwin said.

Reporter Brittany Brevik may be reached at 758-4459 or by email at bbrevik@dailyinterlake.com.

 

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