Two senior prosecutors at the Missoula County Attorney’s Office have been appointed to dual roles as assistant chief criminal deputies, together filling a position that has been vacant since March.
Deputy county attorneys Suzy Boylan and Jennifer Clark will divide the responsibilities of chief criminal deputy county attorney in tandem. The position was formerly held by Kirsten Pabst LaCroix, who in February announced she was leaving the county attorney’s office to pursue a private legal practice.
Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg announced the appointments of Boylan and Clark on Monday, saying he decided to disburse the heavy workload evenly rather than appoint one lawyer to do the job.
“I have decided that instead of having one person do all of the work, it may be better to divide the responsibilities among two people, and Jen and Suzy are certainly qualified for the job,” he said.
The appointments are effective as of next Monday, July 9.
Van Valkenburg is in the process of hiring another attorney to fill an entry-level position, but said the position of chief criminal deputy county attorney will not be filled for at least a year.
Under the new arrangement, Clark will be responsible for overseeing cases that involve property crimes, as well as all drug offenses and most traffic-related cases. She will also be the office’s primary liaison between the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, Montana Highway Patrol, Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Missoula Correctional Services, the DUI task force and all federal agencies. Also, she will be responsible for handling any issues that arise with the Missoula County justices of the peace.
Boylan’s responsibilities will include overseeing all crimes against persons. She will serve as liaison to the Missoula Police Department, University of Montana Office of Public Safety, Department of Corrections, Youth Court Probation, the Crime Victim Advocates office, the First Step Program and the Just Response Program. She will also be responsible for handling any issues that arise with district court judges and the clerk of district court.
Van Valkenburg said maintaining a cooperative relationship with other law enforcement agencies is critical, and Boylan and Clark have both demonstrated the ability to do so.
Although Boylan’s and Clark’s new responsibilities include supervision and oversight of less-experienced attorneys, they will each maintain heavy individual caseloads.
Van Valkenburg said both attorneys will receive compensation for the increased workloads.
Boylan joined the Missoula County Attorney’s Office in January 1999, and Clark war hired in October 2000. Both are graduates of the University of Montana School of Law.
“They each have a huge amount of experience handling criminal cases and working with law enforcement and victims,” Van Valkenburg said. “I have a great deal of confidence in each of them and believe that they will each contribute significantly to the work we do in the criminal division.”
Reporter Tristan Scott can be reached at (406) 730-1067 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.