Montana Judge Acknowledges Violating Judicial Rules
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Montana judge has acknowledged violating judicial rules by not being truthful under oath about a person she employed in her office and as a nanny and about claims and other actions related to her 2018 campaign.
District Judge Ashley Harada has agreed to the public censure that was recommended by the Judicial Standards Commission, The Billings Gazette reports.
The complaint filed by the commission was the result of four complaints made against Harada. They included one that she made false or misleading statements to try to prevent a former office employee and nanny from getting into the University of Montana Law School because of a personal grievance. She lied under oath, after being sworn into office, in denying the woman had worked for her while the initial complaint was being investigated, the commission said.
Harada also violated the judicial conduct rule to refrain from knowingly making false statements when she gave herself credit for approximately 80 jury trials while she was on inactive status with the Montana Bar Association and was working as a law clerk for a federal judge, the complaint states.
During her campaign, she put an endorsement on her Facebook page from the Yellowstone County Republican Party, violating a rule preventing judicial candidates from accepting political organizations. She also made campaign donations to partisan candidates and endorsed certain Republican candidates on her Facebook page, according to her response to the complaint.
“I feel like the important thing is we all make mistakes,” said her attorney, retired District Judge Russ Fagg. “She owned up to her mistakes. And she is looking forward to serving the people that elected her.”
Harada agreed not to engage in any retribution or retaliation in connection with the complaint and to have no contact with her former employee.