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The Montana Supreme Court has shot down a Missoula woman's "frivolous" attempt to disqualify Missoula County Justice of the Peace John Odlin for bias.

"We have previously described the procedural history of this case as ‘mind-numbing' and the current proceeding again proves worthy of such designation," Justice Mike Wheat wrote in the majority ruling issued Friday.

The case dates to 2008, when Kristine Davenport was charged with two counts of community decay, a misdemeanor. Davenport, an attorney who was suspended for a year in 1994 after twice being convicted of shoplifting, represented herself in the case after her public defender withdrew.

"After her multiple motions were denied by Justice of the Peace Odlin, Davenport began what can only be termed as a crusade to disqualify Odlin," Wheat wrote.

Davenport first took her case to Missoula County District Court, where District Judge Ed McLean last year denied her request, writing that "the clear remedy with dissatisfaction of lower court proceedings is to appeal the decision or verdict, rather than attempting to disqualify the judge."

Instead, Davenport turned to the Supreme Court, accusing Odlin in a single, nearly page-long sentence of 24 alleged behaviors that she claimed showed his bias, everything from "hostility towards her" to "failure to supervise his staff."

Davenport wrote that because Odlin didn't specifically deny such behaviors, he in effect admitted that her allegations were true.

But Deputy Missoula County Attorney Martha E. McClain responded that Davenport "is motivated by animus towards Judge Odlin and any other judge who dares to disagree with her."

Davenport did not return a telephone call seeking comment on Monday.

In August, the District Court sanctioned Davenport $2,500 for violating the rules of civil procedure. Because Davenport didn't raise that issue in her appeal, the Supreme Court's ruling didn't address it.

In that ruling, Justice Wheat called the case "procedurally nightmarish."

"She has done nothing on appeal but repeat her unfounded, outrageous and conclusory accusations against everyone involved in her case," he wrote. "These frivolous and dilatory arguments failed in the District Court, and they fail here."

Reporter Gwen Florio can be reached at 523-5268, gwen.florio@missoulian.com or on CopsAndCourts.com.

 

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