The Montana Supreme Court has rejected a request by three state deputy public defenders to stop Missoula County district court judges from sending cases involving indigent defendants to other counties.
The court, in a decision on Tuesday, ruled that intervening in the local court's decisions would be deemed inappropriate and isn't warranted.
Brian Smith, Joan Burbridge and Katie Green filed the petition Oct. 8 contending that sending cases out of the county was a way to punish defendants who tried to change judges and that the practice could be vindictive.
Missoula County Judge Ed McLean says there is no conspiracy, but that the district judges have a sense of frustration that the administration of the public defender's office doesn't have control over its staff.