Two Candidates Running For Richland County Attorney

In seven weeks Richland County voters will be able to vote for a new County Attorney. The term of the current County Attorney, Janet Christofferson, expires on Dec. 31 of this year. Two candidates are running for the position. Charity McLarty and Layne Johnson are both seeking their first term.

According to the Richland County website,, the County Attorney is to represent Richland County and the State of Montana in criminal, county’s civil cases, and all the rest of the county’s legal business but they do not just serve in the courtrooms. They also advise the Board of County Commissioners, other county offices, departments, and subdivisions. Because they represent the county they do not represent individuals. They can also represent the city of Sidney and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services for child welfare cases.

While Charity McLarty is running for her first term she is no stranger to the courtroom. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, McLarty has been practicing law in Glendive and Sidney for the past 11 years. She was a public defender in Glendive for 1 1/2 years, a defense attorney in Sidney, co-owned her own law office, and for the last four years has been Richland County Deputy County Attorney. She has worked with the victims of domestic violence, sex crimes, and many more atrocities. She said, “My experience as a civil attorney, a defense attorney, as well as a deputy county attorney, is vital to do this job well. While I recognize the expense to the county and the time the juries have to give up, I will not hesitate to take matters to trial if doing so is absolutely necessary to ensure the safety of the community and the drug and violence problems we are facing. I look forward to continuing to serve and work with the residents of Richland County to ensure that their rights are upheld, and to ensure their safety. I’ve spent almost 4 years developing a wonderful relationship with all who serve Richland County, and feel that my experience and ethics speak for themselves. If elected, I will continue to devote myself to continue obtaining convictions for sexual and violent offenses, as well as drug trafficking.”

Layne Johnson is running for his first term as County Attorney, as well. He earned his law degree at the University of Montana School of Law and started working as a Deputy County Attorney for Richland County. Johnson was born and raised in eastern Montana. He has spent his summers working on his family’s farm and ranch and also worked for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation while attending law school. While Johnson believes his experience handling different types of legal proceedings would be beneficial if he is elected, he said “My ability to work with the various involved parties is just as critical as my experience. Depending on the matter, a County Attorney will need to interact with law enforcement, defense attorneys, court staff, judges, probation officers, doctors, experts, county commissioners, county agencies, state agencies, and more. In a rural area like Richland County this means the same individuals will be involved time and time again. Positive working relationships with these individuals are vital to the success of the County Attorney and I believe my experiences will allow me to ensure those bridges are built and maintained.” Johnson said, “First and foremost, I want to give back to our communities.” and “It is my mission to restore integrity and accountability to the County Attorney’s Office as Richland County deserves.”

Both candidates are running as Republicans. The winner of the primary will run unopposed in the Nov. 8 general election.


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