Greg Pinski, Class of '99, Elected Cascade County, MT 8th Judicial District Judge
Greg Pinski will be the man pulling on the black robe to preside over the 8th Judicial District, as he pulled away from Justice of the Peace Steve Fagenstrom on Election Night Tuesday.Pinski won comfortably, earning 14,692 votes, compared to Fagenstrom's 11,916 votes, by a 55 to 45 percent margin.
The district judge race was the first contested one in Cascade County in a decade, and with Pinski's win means he will be fill the void District Judge Thomas McKittrick will leave behind after 29 years in the 8th Judicial District. The last contested election was in 2002, when District Judge Dirk Sandefur was elected to the bench.
From the start of the 2012 campaign, Pinski was the front runner. He out raised the field during the primaries and general election.
He surpassed even Judge Sandefur's 2002 campaign finance record this year by collecting more than $71,000 since his campaign began Jan. 3, according to a release from Pinski.
Pinski hopes to initiate a veterans court in Cascade County. He believes that the military presence in Great Falls makes the region a perfect fit.
"It stems from a fundamental belief that I have that courts don't exist just to dispense justice," he said. "They exist to help people and to make the community a better place."
Fagenstrom made the point throughout the campaign season that he has judicial experience, working the last six years as justice of the peace, but Pinski was able to prove to voters he has vast law experience, both as a prosecution and defense attorney, but also his experience as one of the youngest law professors hired by the University of Minnesota.
Pinski, a University of North Dakota Law School grad, has practiced for 13 years, appearing before courts in 23 states.
Fagenstrom, a Lewis and Clark College Law School grad, spent 20 years in private practice in Oregon and Montana before taking the bench as a Justice Court Judge.
Judges Julie Macek and Kenneth Neill also are running for re-election but are unopposed.