Hardin attorney Matt Wald has filed to run for the 22nd Judicial District judge seat being vacated at the end of this year by retiring Judge Blair Jones.
Jones has been the only judge in the 22nd Judicial District, donning the robe on Jan. 1, 2000, when the district was created to serve Stillwater, Carbon and Big Horn counties. The position requires the judge to travel to all three counties regularly to hear civil and criminal cases.
Wald is in private practice in Hardin, with the majority of his experience being in criminal defense work. He is a member of the Criminal Justice Act Panel, which means the Montana Federal District Court appoints him as defense counsel in federal felony cases in Billings, and also to handle appeals to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, he told the News earlier this week.
Wald does have some prosecutorial experience under his belt, having served as Jones’ law clerk for two years.
“Between my second and third years of law school, I worked as a legal intern at the Big Horn County Attorney’s Office prosecuting cases, and prosecuted for the Missoula County Attorney’s Office as a legal intern during my third year of law school,” said Wald. “I prosecuted as a Deputy Custer County Attorney in 1994 until the position lost funding, and acted as a special prosecutor for the City of Miles City on several cases.”
He grew up in Big Horn County on a ranch near Lodge Grass, and graduated from Lodge Grass High School in 1985, according to a news release. Wald received an undergraduate degree from Montana State University and earned his law degree from the University of Montana School of Law in 1993.
Wald practiced law in Miles City from 1993 until 2000, and then returned to Big Horn County to participate in the family ranching operation.
Wald says he has experience in both criminal and civil law, representing people throughout southeastern Montana.