You may think the motivation for Meyers to run for justice of the 21st Judicial District was just to spread his legal wings. Well, you would be wrong. There was more reason than just political desire or a plan to expand his legal career. It appears that Meyers ran due to a long vendetta he has been waging with the current judge, Jeffrey Langton. From other sources that I have read (and you can find them quickly on Google), Meyers was representing a man, Brian Cox, in Langton's courtroom in a child custody case in 2012. The case must have been contentious, as these types of cases can be, since Myers suddenly decided that Langton had committed a wrongful ex parte communication by instructing his legal assistant to tell the wife of Brian Cox to file an amended parent plan. It appears that Myers made this accusation as an attempt to re-start the trial since Myers lost a previous appeal to file an opening brief at the beginning of the trial for which he had missed the deadline, and the Montana State Supreme Court refused to give him a second chance. Meyers claimed he was aware of the ex parte communication because he saw the file notes. When asked for proof of this, he was not able to produce them; apparently a file clerk had removed the notes from the case files. Most people would realize that they had made a strategic error in not copying or securing such evidence first, but this did not faze Myers, he went ahead and filed a motion for Langton to recuse himself from hearing the case.
Not surprisingly, Langton refused to recuse himself and this is where things started to get out of hand and larger than life. Myers pursued legal action all the way to the Montana State Supreme Court. The justices there did not see a problem with the way Judge Langton was running his court room and sent Myers away. In 2013 Myers, who apparently cannot take "no" for an answer, filed a complaint with the Montana Judicial Standards Commission. They too did not find any reason to rule against Langton, and told Meyers to take a hike. But Myers still could not accept defeat and started action to subpoena and secure a deposition from Langton in relation to a Rule 60 motion hearing. At this point Langton must have been feeling on pretty solid legal ground and stomped all over Myers by quashing the deposition and then, to add insult to injury, hitting Myers with a $10,000 sanction in 2014. And what kind of things did Langton find fault with Myers' action? How about these?:
• that Myers had failed to adequately review the record in the case, and had failed to make any inquiry to determine whether his factual contentions in his Rule 60 Motion and supporting briefs had even a minimum of evidentiary support;
• that Myers’ intransigence in maintaining his assertion of factual contentions in the absence of evidentiary support and, in some instances, despite evidence in the record to the contrary, was highly troubling;
• that Myers had squandered Daniel Cox’s right of direct appeal by failing to timely file an opening brief;
• that Myers had squandered Daniel’s right of review on claims of surprise and fraud by his failure to timely file the Rule 60 Motion.
• that because Myers failed to research the majority of his legal contentions, they were not supported by developed argument or legal authority, and in the rare instances when he attempted to develop argument, it was largely incomprehensible;
• that Myers failed to make good faith legal arguments for the majority of his asserted legal contentions;
• that Myers used highly inflammatory language to make baseless accusations of conspiracy, fraud, bias, unethical behavior, and illegal acts against numerous people, including Judge Langton himself;
• that Myers’ conduct in using such highly inflammatory language far exceeded the exercise of mere hyperbole or excited overstatement;
• that Myers’ Rule 60 Motion filings were presented for the improper purpose of harassing the adverse party, her attorneys, her witnesses, and the Court and its staff, which caused unnecessary delay and needlessly increased the cost of litigation and the expenditure of judicial resources;
• that Myers had done more than just play fast and loose with the facts as he created extraordinary facts out of whole cloth for which he might later find evidentiary support;
• that Myers had no compunction about making legal contentions he could not support with legal authorities or developed argument;
• that Myers had asserted baseless factual contentions impugning the District Court’s integrity with reckless disregard for their truth or falsity;
• that Myers’ baseless assertions against adverse counsel had called into question their ethics and may have damaged their professional reputations.
This is the kind of thing that makes Burnaby's descriptions of the horrors of Canadian jurisprudence pale in comparison. Who knew that small-town justice could be so vengeful, so precise and so factual?
But for Meyers, this was the last arrow in his legal quiver and he seemingly brooded for the next two years, awaiting his moment of revenge. And in 2016 he saw his opportunity: by running against Langton for his judgeship.
And given the repute of small town politics, this turned out to be a nasty one. You can see a sample of the strategy that Myers decided on to win by his campaign's Facebook page. Ugly indeed! He threw several underhanded jabs at Langton, including calling him incompetent and an idiot. He also smeared him as "Liquor Langton", apparently due to the judge having a problem with alcohol in his past (but was already known as a matter of public record, this is a drunk-driving conviction from 2005; the judge was re-elected in 2010 so I think it is safe to say that the public found no problem with the judge remaining on the bench). Myers ran radio and newspaper ads using the derogatory name, and accused Langton of using hard drugs as well. Myers provided no proof other than just anecdotal hearsay from anonymous people. He also brought up the unproven ex parte accusation, saying the judge had "committed fraud on the court." The ad also mentioned that
...[n]ot only did Jeff Langton not allow a neutral judge to look at his conduct, but he stopped all witnesses, including himself, from being questioned. He, of course, found himself innocent without a hearing. No judge should judge his own conduct.
Oh, and before I forget, the painful accusation that the good judge was purchasing methamphetamine from a 13-year old. This accusation appears to be problematic, in that the 13-year old is now an adult, and has been before Judge Langton for juvenile and adult criminal proceedings, including violation of probation and a year's sentence in state prison - if you can believe this witness' affadavit.
Unfortunately Myers had stepped across the line. Well, not stepped so much as he had broad-jumped over it. Montana state law forbids campaigns making accusations against judges that the state would consider false or untrue. And that triggered a letter from the state's Office of Disciplinary Counsel advising Myers that they were opening an investigation. And they wanted Myers to provide copies of "all television or radio advertisements, with written transcripts, aired by your campaign," "invoices and publishing contracts related to all advertising materials, including the publishing dates and frequency of all materials" and "any internet/social network posting by yourself, your campaign, or affiliated campaign committees/groups." It certainly looked like Myers had overplayed his hand and had landed himself neck-deep into the hole he had been digging.
But Myers is, if nothing else, adamant about his principles. OK, let's just admit it - he is pig-headed stubborn. He filed a federal complaint against the counsel employees on the disciplinary board. His own attorney, taking a page from Myers' legal pad, tried to blame the monopoly of liberal office holders in the state for the reason why Myers' complaint is not being heard or acted on. But given the fact that federal and state offices are pretty evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, it is hard to take this as a serious reason for why Myers cannot make headway and receive justice.
At this point, I need to address those readers, like Burnaby, who are likely to be screaming at their monitors, "What does this have to do with sovrun gibberish?! Granted, he is a idiot attorney, Observer, but that does not make him a sovrun flake!" Ah, if the story ended here, you would be right. But this where the story starts twisting towards the bare and dusty vales of Frickintardistan.
In any event, the disciplinary hearings were able to get past his federal lawsuit; the board has held 3 separate hearings over the last few weeks. Myers failed to show to the first one. It was a tactical mistake on Myers' part and Judge Langton and his law clerk took full advantage of it to get in their own overdue licks against Myers. Langton's law clerk gave some devastating testimony at the first hearing when she told the panel that Myers suffered from illiteracy. In regards to his filing of his briefs with her she said:
[It was]...very difficult to discern what Myers wanted. I have never read a poorer briefing. His arguments were incomprehensible, his work was poor, full of misspellings and incomplete sentences that made no point.
But to be charitable, we could assume that a experienced law clerk that has worked long-term with Judge Langton might be a bit prejudiced against the legal filings that Myers filed, let alone whether any law clerk has the right and experience to judge a lawyer's ability to write. But the state deputy disciplinary attorney, one Jon Moog, weighed in against the quality of Myers' work by stating he found the claims that Myers was making were outlandish, offensive, frivolous, and defamatory. So right there we have two badges of sovrunness: high-handed, frivolous accusations, and all of them worded, spelled and organized badly. But I know that our panel of readers demand more proof than just these two indicators. After all, here on Quatloos we demand proof that removes all reasonable doubt for a solid conviction. So I will continue.
Despite the alleged gigantic conspiracy that banded against Myers, someone, against all better judgment, actually allowed Myers a chance to respond in the 2 succeeding hearings. And Myers showed that he was not some craven coward, fearful and hoping to mitigate the legal storm clouds gathering over his head. He told the hearing exactly what was on his mind and why he was right:
“I stand by what I put in the ad, I have a First Amendment right to say it. I don’t care what the Supreme Court of Montana says, I certainly don’t care what Judge Langton says. I move to dismiss this and we get back to being Americans."
He also said the State Supreme Court should be ashamed for supporting all of the unconstitutional laws that are being used against him. This is pretty tremendous stuff! A lawyer actually telling the world that the State Supreme Court doesn't matter! Like they would understand the finer points of the 1st Amendment or whether laws are constitutional. I am not sure how the Supreme Court took this, but apparently it must have stunned them since there is no record of any of the justices responding to this claptrap. I even wonder if Judge Rooke, of Canadian stomping fame, could have contended with this new tactic. Imagine how you would feel as a judge if suddenly you just found out that all of your rulings could be simply ignored? You might as well step down from the bench.
Of course, I am forced out of intellectual honesty to point out that Meyers evidently believes that the Court must matter, since he has filed in the recent past several appeals with them. Why bother filing appeals with a body of justices that you claim are just on the take and are idiots anyways? There is the issue of us getting back to being Americans, which I theoretically agree with, but I doubt my definition (and most other people's) of what being an American actually is will match Myers' definition - which appears to be having the right to make a mockery out of the judicial process. Still not enough proof? No problem, I have more.
Myers then informed the hearing that he considers himself a "private Attorney General" and as such, refused to answer a number of questions in the hearing claiming his 5th amendment privilege. Furthermore, since all of his witnesses are tied up in the criminal case that Langton has filed against him they were not at liberty to appear at the hearing in his defense. At this point he was asked why hadn't he filed criminal charges against Langton if his case was as strong and accurate as he maintained it was. Myers then responded with the classic demurral that he wasn't ready yet, and that "This is just the tip of the iceberg." Uh, right Robert - but excuse me if I don't hold my breath while waiting.
At this point, it looks bad for Myers. He is facing suspension of his license of up to 2 years and 3 months based on the number of charges raised against him, and disbarment. This is for the antics arising out of the child custody case and for the ad violations in the political campaign. He will get a right to appeal within 30 days of the board's recommendation. By the way, that recommendation heads to the Montana State Supreme Court for their final determination. I am sure by that point Myers is going to rue making an officially recorded statement in a public hearing that he doesn't care what the State Supreme Court says - because I am pretty sure that day they will be telling him that they don't care what he said in his appeal.