Montana Supreme Court Case to Take Stage at UM’s Dennison Theatre April 5

April 02, 2019

MISSOULA – The Montana Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Kalispell v. Thomas Salsgiver at 9:30 a.m. Friday, April 5, in the Dennison Theatre at the University of Montana.

An introduction to the hearing begins at 9 a.m. with Professor Jordan Gross of the Alexander Blewett III School of Law. The hearing is expected to last an hour and a half. The public is invited to attend, along with students from area schools and UM.

Thomas Salsgiver of Deer Lodge was arrested and charged with partner family member assault. He was ordered to personally appear for all court proceedings, with boilerplate language warning that failure to appear would result in a waiver of his right to trial by jury.

Salsgiver did not appear for his omnibus hearing, although his attorney did. Defense counsel filed a motion for jury trial, arguing that he did not voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently waive his right to a jury trial.

The Montana Constitution includes a provision that cases may be tried without jury if a person defaults on their appearance. The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution contains no such provision. Salsgiver contends that his Sixth Amendment right to a trial by jury was violated, and that the municipal court erred by relying on case law referencing the Montana court’s jury trial provisions.

For more information call Sara Kryder, Blewett School of Law’s director of communications and events, at 406-243-5730 or email sara.kryder@umontana.edu.

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Contact: Sara Kryder, director of communications and events, UM Alexander Blewett III School of Law, 406-243-5730, sara.kryder@umontana.edu.