Van Valkenburg Speaks Out About DOJ Suit - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Van Valkenburg Speaks Out About DOJ Suit

Posted: Updated:
MISSOULA -

The Missoula County Attorney is asking a federal judge to decide if the Department of Justice can legally investigate his office. The DOJ  has never attempted to investigate a prosecutor's office anywhere else in the country, and Fred Van Valkenburg is not going to let it start in his office. He formally filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Tuesday.

Van Valkenburg said the filing of the 19-page lawsuit is just the first step in a process that will probably takes months.

After an almost two-year disagreement with the Department of Justice, Fred Van Valkenburg files a lawsuit asking a federal judge to decide if the DOJ  has the authority to investigate his office.

"It's a very significant legal precedent that the DOJ  is trying to impose on Missoula County," Van Valkenburg said.

Documents in the $50,000 lawsuit show the Department of Justice accused the Missoula County Attorney's Office of discrimination in its prosecution of sexual assault crimes. Van Valkenburg said the Department of Justice has overstepped its authority by trying to investigate the office of a locally elected prosecutor.

"We believe the federal Department of Justice does not have such authority to conduct such an investigation, and even if they did, tenants of prosecutorial immunity would prohibit them from getting anywhere with that," Van Valkenburg said.

The disagreement started almost two years ago, after the DOJ investigated both the Missoula Police Department, and University of Montana on the way they handled sexual assaults, but Van Valkenburg refused to cooperate with the DOJ.

"We think a federal judge should hear that issue before we go through with any demands the Department of Justice is making," Van Valkenburg said.

Before deciding to file the suit, Van Valkenburg sent a letter outlining why he thinks an investigation is unacceptable, and never received a response.

"We think we have a precedent stand against interference on operation into our office, and I want to get that resolved by a federal judge as soon as possible," Van Valkenburg said.

The Department of Justice will get chance to answer the action, then Van Valkenburg said a federal judge should rule on the lawsuit some time in the next few months.

Natasha Jones of the Boone Karlberg Law Firm in Missoula is handling the case.

  • NationalMore>>

  • Remembering an officer slain after bombs went off

    Remembering an officer slain after bombs went off

    Friday, April 18 2014 11:42 AM EDT2014-04-18 15:42:10 GMT
    Relatives of the police officer authorities say was killed by the Boston bombing suspects are remembering him a year later.
    Family members and friends of the police officer authorities say was killed by the Boston Marathon bombing suspects are honoring him a year later.
  • Ohio teacher fired over comment on black president

    Ohio teacher fired over comment on black president

    Friday, April 18 2014 11:31 AM EDT2014-04-18 15:31:36 GMT
    An Ohio teacher has been fired after a black student who said he wanted to become president claimed the teacher told him the nation didn't need another black commander in chief.
    An Ohio teacher has been fired after a black student who said he wanted to become president claimed the teacher told him the nation didn't need another black commander in chief.
  • Walker's challenger doesn't focus on union rights

    Walker's challenger doesn't focus on union rights

    Friday, April 18 2014 11:31 AM EDT2014-04-18 15:31:31 GMT
    Wisconsin Democrats and their allies who are trying to take out Republican Gov. Scott Walker have invested all their hopes in Mary Burke, a Harvard-educated political newcomer whose father started Trek Bicycle when...
    Wisconsin Democrats and their allies who are trying to take out Republican Gov. Scott Walker have invested all their hopes in Mary Burke, a Harvard-educated political newcomer whose father started Trek Bicycle when she was...
  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • LOOK: Photos Of 'Blood Moon' During Total Lunar Eclipse

    LOOK: Photos Of 'Blood Moon' During Total Lunar Eclipse

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 7:59 PM EDT2014-04-15 23:59:30 GMT
    KHQ.COM - It was a sight to behold! The blood moon lit up the heavens last night. If you slept thru it, no need to worry! We recorded the whole thing for you and many of our Facebook friends and viewers have shared the photos that they captured of the total lunar eclipse last night!
    KHQ.COM - It was a sight to behold! The blood moon lit up the heavens last night. If you slept thru it, no need to worry! We recorded the whole thing for you and many of our Facebook friends and viewers have shared the photos that they captured of the total lunar eclipse last night!
  • Frontage Road Crash Victim Identified

    Frontage Road Crash Victim Identified

    Thursday, April 17 2014 1:37 PM EDT2014-04-17 17:37:02 GMT
    The Gallatin County coroner says 30-year-old Kari Friedman from Bozeman died in a crash at the intersection of Frontage and Valley Center Roads Wednesday. The Montana Highway Patrol said Friedman was turning
    The Gallatin County coroner says 30-year-old Kari Friedman from Bozeman died in a crash at the intersection of Frontage and Valley Center Roads Wednesday.
  • Witnesses Take Stand in Richland Teen's Murder Trial

    Witnesses Take Stand in Richland Teen's Murder Trial

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:33 PM EDT2014-04-17 03:33:56 GMT
    The first witnesses took the stand Wednesday in John Young's murder trial. Young is accused of killing 17-year-old Joshua Snapp in the desert near Horn Rapids last 4th of July.
    The first witnesses took the stand Wednesday in John Young's murder trial.
  • Former Griz Football Player Battles Cancer

    Former Griz Football Player Battles Cancer

    Tuesday, April 8 2014 7:00 PM EDT2014-04-08 23:00:04 GMT
    A former Griz football player prepares to take on different kind of physical challenge, after learning he has cancer. Former linebacker Cole Lockwood got his diagnosis just last week and is now recovering
    A former Griz football player prepares to take on different kind of physical challenge, after learning he has cancer.
  • SO GOOD: Montana Tech's Xavier Marsden

    SO GOOD: Montana Tech's Xavier Marsden

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 8:26 PM EDT2014-04-17 00:26:24 GMT
    Sophomore cornerback Xavier Marsden is from La Mirada California, right outside Los Angeles. The city boy says he loves being in Butte. "It's been good. Coming from a big city to a small town definitely
    Sophomore cornerback Xavier Marsden is from La Mirada California, right outside Los Angeles. The city boy says he loves being in Butte.
  • Poison gas claims complicate Syrian civil war

    Poison gas claims complicate Syrian civil war

    The Syrian government and rebel forces say poison gas has been used in a central village, injuring scores of people, while blaming each other for the attack.
    Both sides in Syria's bloody civil war said Saturday that a rural village fell victim to a poison gas attack, an assault that reportedly injured scores of people amid an ongoing international effort to rid the country...
  • Griz Lax Gaining Popularity

    Griz Lax Gaining Popularity

    Thursday, April 17 2014 12:41 AM EDT2014-04-17 04:41:14 GMT
    The Montana Lacrosse team is preparing for their last three games of the regular season.  They're currently 6-6 and with all three games at home in Washington Grizzly Stadium, they're hoping the playoffs
    The Montana Lacrosse team is preparing for their last three games of the regular season.  They're currently 6-6 and with all three games at home in Washington Grizzly Stadium, they're hoping the playoffs are on the horizon.
  • Zags Sign Arvydas Sabonis' Son to NLI

    Zags Sign Arvydas Sabonis' Son to NLI

    Domantas Sabonis, son of NBA Naismith Hall of Famer and Portland Trail Blazers great Arvydas Sabonis, has signed a letter-of-intent to attend Gonzaga University this fall, Bulldog head coach Mark Few said Thursday.
    Domantas Sabonis, son of NBA Naismith Hall of Famer and Portland Trail Blazers great Arvydas Sabonis, has signed a letter-of-intent to attend Gonzaga University this fall, Bulldog head coach Mark Few said Thursday.
Powered by WorldNow

Features

  • More Features
  • Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Cowles Montana Media. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.