HELENA – Randi Hood, a Helena lawyer, is the latest to apply for a vacant seat on the Montana Supreme Court.

Hood, 64, is a longtime public defender and since 2011 has been an assistant public defender in the Major Crimes Unit of the state Office of Public Defender.

She is the seventh attorney to apply with the Judicial Nomination Commission for an opening on the Supreme Court. Lawyers have until Wednesday to apply with the commission.

Born at an Air Force Base in Illinois to Montana parents, Hood graduated from Glasgow High School in 1968. She graduated with high honors and received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Montana four years later. In 1975, Hood received a juris doctor degree with honors from the UM law school.

She was in private practice in Missoula from 1975 to 1981 and in Boulder from 1982 to 1987. Hood worked as a staff attorney for the former state Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services from 1981 to 1982 and for the former state Department of Family Services from 1987 to 1988.

Hood was a contract public defender for Lewis and Clark County from 1988 to 1994 and the county’s chief public defender from 1994 to 2005. She was the state’s first chief public defender, based in Butte, from 2005 to 2011, after the state Office of Public Defender was established.

The Helena attorney said she is seeking appointment as a Supreme Court justice for several reasons.

“Thus far, my career has been devoted to public service, and I would like to continue that,” Hood said in her application. “Secondly, with my experience, I would be an asset to the court. I have practiced in a number of areas of law – divorce, property, probate and personal injury, but my area of expertise is in the criminal law.”

Other than a period prosecuting for the town of Boulder, Hood said she has been a defense attorney.

“This experience does not mean that I would come to the court with a criminal defense attorney agenda,” she said. “Rather, it gives me a wealth of experience and knowledge to bring to the court. I pride myself on always having seen both sides of my cases. The prosecutors and judges involved in my cases would attest to my reasonableness.”

In response to a question asking what might set her apart from other candidates and make her the best applicant, Hood wrote:

“I have the experience and qualifications that place me above other candidates,” she said. “No one would work harder than me to be a good Supreme Court justice.”

She said she is most proud of her work as a public defender.

“I believe I have advocated well for my clients,” she said. “I have worked to treat each of them with the respect any human being deserves. They have been people to me, often people who have done bad acts, but few have been truly bad people.”

Chuck Johnson is chief of the Lee Newspapers State Bureau in Helena. He can be reached by email at: chuck.johnson@lee.net or by phone at (406) 447-4066 or (800) 525-4920.

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