Downs Files Complaint Against Roosevelt County Attorney
Darla Downs, the publisher of the
Northern Plains Independent and Community News, has filed a complaint against Roosevelt County Attorney Frank Piocos in Roosevelt County District Court.
Downs filed the complaint on Friday, Jan. 20, which claims that Piocos is not qualified to assume the office of county attorney because he falsely registered as an elector of Roosevelt County when he provided a Roosevelt County address in order to register and seek the office.
Montana law, MCA 7-4-2201, requires that a qualification for holding county office is being an elector of the county in which the duties of the office are to be exercised.
Downs’ charges points out that Piocos falsely claimed 202 Broadway Ave., Apartment 300, in Culbertson has his address when he registered as a voter. Lessor James Walling says that Piocos has never lived at that address.
After Downs filed an affidavit of individual challenging an elector in November, the Roosevelt County Clerk and Recorder Office conducted an investigation, which results in Piocos’ registration being canceled.
Downs noted in her complaint, “In Mr. Piocos’ response to my affidavit, he didn’t dispute that he wasn’t living in Roosevelt County, rather he provided an inadequate argument that because his mechanic and chiropractor are in Roosevelt County that somehow shows that he has the intent to live in the county.”
MCA 1-1-215 contains the rules for determining residence: “Every person has, in law, a residence. In determin+++ing the place of residence, the following rules are to be observed: (1) It is the place where a person remains when not called elsewhere for labor or other special or temporary purpose and to which the person returns in season of repose.”
Downs is seeking that Piocos is declared not qualified to assume the office of Roosevelt County attorney and that he is permanently enjoined from assuming the office.
Piocos has 21 days to respond to the complaint to provide a response to the court.