William J. (Bill) Speare, a candidate running to succeed G. Todd Baugh as a district court judge in Montana’s Thirteenth Judicial District Court, held a press conference this week to introduce himself to the voters of Yellowstone County. Speare said he is late coming to the race, but he is the best candidate to replace Judge Todd Baugh. Here is his edited statement:
Speare was born and raised in Billings and has lived his entire life in Montana. He is a Billings kid who is the son of a Laurel kid. Speare graduated with honors from West High, Montana State University in Bozeman, and the University of Montana School of Law in Missoula. He and his wife, Lisa, are raising their two daughters in Billings.
Speare understands the importance of the position of district court judge. The justice system has control over individuals’ liberty, the custody of their children, and in many cases whether they face economic ruin. Speare touted his experience, his honesty, and his reputation for fairness and common sense among his colleagues.
Speare has tried approximately 100 criminal cases to verdict in both bench and jury trials. The majority of his practice has been devoted to complex civil law cases. He has worked with individuals from all walks of life, as well as with partnerships, small local companies and large international companies.
Speare notes his experience in all manner of civil law is important, since two-thirds of the filings in Yellowstone County in 2013 were in the civil field. Just over 18 percent of cases were criminal filings, and the remaining filings were warrant requests and cases related to juvenile law and abuse and neglect.
Four of the five candidates on the ballot to replace Judge Baugh also applied for the position Mike Moses will fill. Speare is the only candidate actively seeking to replace Judge Baugh whom the Montana Judicial Nominating Commission certified as qualified for appointment to a judicial position. If Speare is elected, he would follow in the footsteps of his father, who was a district court judge in Billings from 1979 until his retirement in 1994.
Speare urged voters to get as much information as they can on the judicial candidates.
, and to speak with people they know who work in the law or with the courts. The position is too important to rely on a slogan on a sign or a brief conversation with a stranger in deciding how to vote. Voters can visit the Montana Court website at http://courts.mt.gov/supreme/boards/jud_nomination/default.mcpx for the Judicial Nominating Commission and review all but one of the candidates’ writings and public comments made by people who know them.