The Deplorable Legacy Of Missoula County Attorney, Kirsten Pabst

by Travis Mateer

I decided to write about the deplorable legacy of Missoula County Attorney, Kirsten Pabst, after scanning the jail roster on Sunday and seeing that this man was released:

For a refresher on how Virinder Brar was arrested 4 times in 12 days, here’s the article from KGVO:

According to court documents, two people who were outside the Poverello told officers that Brar had been asking people for “crystal” and when they said no, he started throwing rocks at people and saying he was going to kill them.

Another staff member found the rock that was thrown through the window. The window was large and double-paned. The rock traveled through the exterior window and also caused an interior window to spiderweb when it hit it. The rock was also wrapped in the lottery ticket that Brar had tried to redeem.

“Officers located Brar near the Poverello Center and took him into custody,” Arnold said. “Officers took photos of the scene. This case is still under investigation with the Missoula Police Department Detective Division. This is the fourth time Brar has been arrested by the Missoula Police Department since September 3, 2022. Two of the previous arrests were for felony charges and one was for a misdemeanor offense.”

Four years ago, when Pabst wanted voters to allow her to keep her job, she said shit like this (emphasis mine):

Looking to continue the reforms implemented under her watch, Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst on Tuesday said she plans to file for reelection this week.

Pabst, who was elected to office in 2014 and replaced former Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg, said she has reformed the local office over her first term to help it move past a contentious chapter in its history.

“I filed knowing at the time this office was in a state of turmoil, and there was the DOJ oversight,” Pabst said. “I decided it was time for this office, at least under my leadership, to stop fighting and start cooperating, and look at ways we could be better.”

Yep, that little “DOJ oversight” came as the result of our local criminal justice system allowing a culture of sexual exploitation and violence to grow over the years, thanks to systemic inaction. Students suffered, enrollment at UM plummeted, and our entire community got very defensive after being singled out by a popular author on the national stage.

So, has anything really changed?

Kirsten Pabst works hard to convince people in Missoula the answer to the question is a resounding YES! One way Pabst attempts to snowball her Missoula constituents is by contributing to a pretend book put out by a consulting firm, titled To Prosecute. It wasn’t easy finding, then acquiring, this book:

Here’s a part of the preface of this prosecutorial propaganda so you can get a flavor of what this book sees itself addressing (emphasis mine)

As this book goes to print, our country is in crisis. George Floyd is yet another person of color who unnecessarily lost his life at the hands of our peers. We are mourning, and the demand for change has never been louder in recent years.

The interviews in this book were all conducted prior to Mr. Floyd’s death and the protests that have followed, but the topics they cover are inseparable from the conversations we must have–and continue to have–going forward.

Prosecutors are gatekeepers to the criminal justice system. They are largely responsible for how conduct that could be charged under the law is addressed and at what costs, whether financial, human, or otherwise. This includes the behaviors of law enforcement and other community members alike.

Yes, prosecutors have the power to prosecute people, like cops and politicians, and that supposed prosecutorial potential is what creates the illusion of equality under the law, but if true equality actually existed in our criminal justice system, corrupt Sheriffs and State Representatives would face the same accountability as your average Joe and Jane Public, but we all know they don’t.

Going back to an old blog post from 4 and 20 Blackbirds is VERY informative because 8 years ago, when Kirsten Pabst was lashing out at Gwen Florio and the Missoulian, she used an excuse I have come to MUCH better appreciate.

Here is the quote jhwygirl captured 8 years ago from a piece of writing Pabst later removed from the internet (emphasis mine):

Without getting into inappropriate detail, I assure you that the foundation for the string of ‘sexual scandal’ articles is not based in fact. The unfortunate reality is that the officials in charge of setting the record straight have their hands tied by the Montana Confidential Criminal Justice Information Act. When the police and prosecutors decline to file charges against a suspect, all of the facts—especially the identities of the parties—are legally sealed. The reason for this rule is obvious: when there is not enough evidence to file charges against someone, the accused person remains legally innocent and they should not be subjected to public humiliation unless there is proof of wrongdoing.

Poor Kirsten Pabst and her stable of prosecutors! It must be VERY difficult to have PROSECUTORIAL DISCRETION so unfairly maligned by the media. If only our noble prosecutors didn’t have their little hands tied, the stories they could tell!

One guy who I think deserves special attention for having his little hands tied is Deputy County Attorney, Ryan Mickelson. Why? Because it’s October, a month this special prosecutor got an award two years ago.

Is Ryan Mickelson a man who sleeps well at night knowing he does everything he can to hold rapists accountable, or is he a cog in Kirsten Pabst’s deplorable legacy protection machine?

One thing I know is this: it was worth every penny I paid for the hilarious book, “To Prosecute”. It’s a part of a very special sub-category in my library because it captures a special kind of person.

Sure you do, Kirsten Pabst. And I see MY role as an independent journalist as ferreting out the bullshit peddled by power brokers to cover their ass. Providing a more detailed context-backdrop for your CCJI cry-baby act is just the beginning.

It’s too bad Kirsten Pabst is running unopposed. I guess she doesn’t have to answer to voters to keep her job this year.

Maybe we should start a write-in campaign? But who should the candidate be? My vote would be J. Kevin Hunt!

Thanks for reading!

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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2 Responses to The Deplorable Legacy Of Missoula County Attorney, Kirsten Pabst

  1. TC says:

    I’d vote for the proverbial ham sandwich over Pabst (who quit public service to rep UM QB but after exoneration then returned to public service to “protect” assault victims). However, I would enthusiastically vote for and will write in J.Kevin Hunt!

  2. John Kevin Hunt says:

    Thanks for the vote of confidence. As I’m not currently a member of the Bar, I obvioualy am ineligible for the post, as in its County Attorney role other than prosecution, it entails practicing law. (One could discharge the administrative amd policy duties of the prosecution side of the office without practicingaq). But I write in people I know and trust in every unnopposed race and if anyone wants to write me in as a protest vote for Msla County Atty, that’s me. The bummer is a stupid state law under which write-in votes don’t have to be counted unless the person written in filed a notice of intent to mount a write-in campaign by a day well in advance of the election, which really vitiates the impact of write-ins and seems to also defeat the purpose of write-ins which is to permit votes for, and election of, a person not on the ballot where those on the ballot got there via the Establishment duopoly party process, and to provide an alternative to choosing between two unpolular nominees.

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