UPDATE – Justice of the Peace Candidate Lowy Responds to Anonymous Charges [AUDIO]
UPDATE - 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 8
Justice of the Peace 1 candidate Matthew Lowy responded Tuesday evening to charges made in an anonymous letter sent to other candidates, that was then sent to the press by fellow candidate Harlan Reid Wells.
In the letter (included below) Lowy is accused of violating the canon of judicial ethics by using the names and endorsements of partisan elected officials and candidates in his campaign literature. Lowy said the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had addressed this exact issue, supported by the Supreme Court.
"It is a right of free speech for a political party to endorse a judicial candidate," Lowy said. " I haven't done anything to violate the canon of judicial ethics. In addition, I do know that anonymous complaints are disregarded by the council in charge of disciplining attorneys, and if I were a sitting justice of the peace, I, too would be highly skeptical of any unsigned and anonymous complaint."
Justice of the Peace 1 Candidate Matthew Lowy
Candidate for Missoula Justice of the Peace One, Harlan Reid Wells, has filed a complaint with the Montana Judicial Standards Commission over the campaign practices of an opponent, Matthew Lowy.
Wells said on Tuesday, April 8, that he and others received an anonymous letter stating that fellow candidate Matthew Lowy may have violated campaign practices through inappropriate political endorsements.
"The letter from a concerned citizen states that Matthew Lowy may be violating one of the canons of judicial ethics," Wells said. "I did a little research, and it appears in statute 4.1 that judicial candidates are barred from using endorsements from a political organization or partisan or independent non-judicial office holder or candidate. Looking at Matt Lowy's website, there is a list of endorsements that include quite a few partisan elected officials and candidates. So, my concern is that he is sitting outside the norms of a judicial election."
Wells said he issued the formal complaint with the Judicial Standards Commission after his research showed that Lowy may have violated the election standards.
"I made a formal complaint based on my own investigation of the allegation," Wells said. "I would hope that he (Lowy) would cease and desist in actively seeking endorsements from partisan political candidates or office holders. The standards do allow him to seek endorsements from non-partisan office holders, such as city councilors, or the mayor. I believe he should be removing those endorsements from his website."
According to the documents included with Wells' press release, some of the partisan candidates or office holders included in his campaign materials include State Senators Tom Facey and Cliff Larson, sheriff candidate T.J. McDermott, County Commissioners Michele Landquist, Jean Curtiss and Bill Carey.
Candidate for Justice of the Peace 1 Harlan Reid Wells