On Tuesday, February 6, 2024, the Montana Office of Disciplinary Counsel formally charged attorney Jody W. Palmer with professional misconduct.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Jody W. Palmer.”

The charges cited Montana Rules of Professional Conduct 8.2.

According to the complaint filed with the Montana Supreme Court’s Commission on Practice, Palmer made false and reckless statements about a family court-standing master in Bozeman. Palmer had previously represented a mother in a parenting dispute case before Standing Master Magdalena Bowen. In August 2021, Bowen issued an order disqualifying Palmer from the case.

Shortly before the November 2021 election for Bozeman Municipal Court judge, Palmer gave an interview criticizing Bowen’s handling of cases and implying she was incompetent. Palmer also authored a letter to the editor of the local newspaper expressing similar criticisms.

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel alleges Palmer’s statements impugned Bowen’s integrity and qualifications. The complaint states Palmer’s claims, such as Bowen using made-up facts and failing to follow proper legal procedures, have been proven demonstrably false. Lawyers are allowed to express their opinions, but cannot make statements they know to be false or show reckless disregard for the truth when criticizing a judge.

If the Commission on Practice finds merit to the allegations after a formal hearing, it could recommend disciplinary action against Palmer’s law license such as suspension. The Office of Disciplinary Counsel is seeking citations requiring Palmer to respond to the complaint’s claims and defend her actions. A final decision on any punishment will be up to the Montana Supreme Court. The complaint against Palmer is currently pending further proceedings.

According to avvo.com, Ms. Palmer is a Family Attorney in Bozeman, Montana. She attended the University of California at Davis School of Law. She acquired her law license in Montana in 2000.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.