Montana Supreme Court reprimands Anaconda District Court Judge

Posted at 10:19 AM, May 12, 2023

HELENA - The public reprimand of an Anaconda District Judge that was held in Helena before the Montana Supreme Court was very short, but not sweet.

District Judge Ray Dayton was recently suspended for 30 days by the high court for making inappropriate comments of a sexual nature about a witness in one of Dayton’s cases.

In Thursday’s reprimand hearing, which lasted less than five minutes, Chief Justice Mike McGrath was the only one on the panel who addressed Dayton.

“Your comments were offensive to women and highly derogatory toward the witness in both court proceedings. The comments indicate your lack of respect, not only for the witness but for the ongoing legal process as well,” said McGrath.

When the chief justice was done speaking, District Judge Dayton thanked the panel and left the hearing without further comment.

The person who filed the complaint against Dayton spoke to KXLF requesting only to be identified as a county employee. They said they heard Dayton make a sexually explicit comment about the woman, who was not present at the time, in front of several people in the hallway of the Anaconda Courthouse in August of 2022.

Dayton’s suspension without pay runs from May 13 to June 11. After that, he can return to the bench.