News arrives amid early days of prisoner-release lawsuit
“Town Crier” newsletter – Briefs from the Region (2) – 4/8/20
On April 1, the American Civil Liberties Union filed an emergency lawsuit on behalf of Disability Rights Montana, requesting the Montana Supreme Court to hold a hearing for the court to appoint a special master to oversee a reduction of the number of people in custody during the ongoing pandemic. According to the Montana Free Press on April 6, “Montana Attorney General Tim Fox filed a brief in the Montana Supreme Court on behalf of the state’s Department of Corrections, Board of Pardons and Parole and several counties urging the court to deny the emergency petition.” Fox cited the proposed measure was “an astounding solution.” MTFP also reports that an inmate in the Gallatin County Detention Center tested positive a day later on April 7 giving the story new legs. The patient had been asymptomatic and was exposed prior to arrest—jailers released the inmate to be quarantined when his test returned positive on April 4 after coordinating with the courts and county health department.