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District Judge Jim Hayes (MSO-82) Announces Retirement

by Joe Menden |

Ravalli County District Court Judge James Haynes has announced his retirement after more than 15 years on the bench.

Haynes announced his retirement, effective July 31, in a letter to Montana Supreme Court Justice Mike McGrath dated April 13. A new judge will be selected through the judicial nomination process. The Judicial Nomination Commission has not yet released a timeline for choosing the new judge.

He noted in his letter that the permitted season for the Selway River ends when his retirement begins, and he plans a "50-mile retirement party."

Haynes was first elected in 2002, to a newly created second department in the 21st Judicial District. He was re-elected in 2008 and 2014.

A 1982 graduate of the University of Montana School of Law, Haynes practiced in Hamilton for 20 years before joining the bench.

"It has been propitious -- my great good fortune -- to have had the first-hand opportunity to work for Montana's Judicial Branch," Judge Haynes wrote in his resignation letter. "The consistently stellar judges and staff have been the finest colleagues. This means much. My only other similar camaraderie experience was as a wildland firefighter/smokejumper. Bonds formed in adverse conditions. The parallels with judicial service are remarkably similar."