Search Begins for New District Court Judge

Judge Ted O. Lympus will step down from the bench on Aug. 31

By Justin Franz
Judge Ted O. Lympus, pictured on June 17, 2015. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

After 23 years on the bench, District Court Judge Ted O. Lympus is retiring and the county is looking for his replacement.

Lympus, 72, has served as a district court judge since 1992 and announced on July 6 that he was retiring. In a short press release, Lympus said that he wanted to spend more time with his wife, their children and grandchildren, and to pursue other interests, including his “love of Montana and his beloved Montana Grizzlies.”

Now the search begins for Lympus’ replacement. Lympus was appointed by Governor Stan Stephens in 1992 to fill a vacancy on the bench and so the new search will be similar to the one that made him a judge in the first place.

On July 13, public notice of the vacancy was published and interested parties have until Aug. 12 to apply. Any lawyer in good standing is able to apply and must submit both an electronic application and a hardcopy, available at www.courts.mt.gov.

On Aug. 13, the list of applicants will be released and the public will be able to submit comment about the candidates for 30 days. After that, the Judicial Nomination Commission will interview candidates and select three to five names to be sent to Gov. Steve Bullock. The commission consists of current and former district court judges from around the state. Bullock will then appoint a new judge. That judge will have to run for re-election in 2016 in order to serve out the rest of Lympus’ term, which expires in January 2019. The annual salary for the position is $126,132.

After Lympus leaves office on Aug. 31, retired district court judges will oversee cases in his court until a replacement is found. Judicial Assistant Kathy Froystad said they hope to have most of Lympus’ current cases wrapped up by the end of August, but it is possible Lympus would have to return to the bench this fall for a sentencing hearing or any other outstanding matters in a case he has overseen.