By John Clark
Montana has a reputation as a rough-and-tumble state, but its courtrooms are usually relatively peaceful places, just like those in other states.
But one man who was upset about a judge’s handling of his pending divorce case took some extreme measures to air his displeasure, according to a report from The Monroe News.
Sources say Mark McNamee, a resident of Flat Rock, Montana, was arrested this week after making serious threats via telephone and social media to two probate judges, Frank Arnold and John Hohman, in Monroe County.
According to prosecutors, McNamee left several “vulgar and threatening” phone messages on the telephones of the judges, who recently issued a protection order that kept the man from seeing his children, which dramatically reduces the odds that he will get custody of his children.
Monroe County officials also say McNamee left several threatening statements on Judge Arnold’s personal website. The police report claims one of the messages says “I hope I mess your family up like you did mine,” sources say.
For his actions, McNamee was arrested this week and charged with three counts of malicious use of a telecommunication device. Sources say each charge carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail.
After his arrest, McNamee was released on a $5,000 bond, but the judge demanded that he live with his brother and wear a tracking device.
Under the terms of his release, McNamee will also be prohibited from entering the courthouse without supervision, and may not engage in any contact with a county judge. He was also ordered to refrain from using alcohol or drugs, sources indicate.
In his defense, McNamee told the judge he “didn’t mean anything by” the messages, and claims he had no intention of acting on the threats. He also claimed that he would lose his job as a result of the arrest, which would leave him with nothing.
But the criminal judge said this was a “serious offense,” regardless of who the victims were, and he noted that McNamee’s alleged “bullying and threatening” was “a real, real problem.”
The judge also expressed reservations about releasing McNamee on bond, claiming that he “has the potential to be a danger to his estranged wife, the judges and their staff.”
In order to hold the man “accountable,” the judge ordered that he be “scrutinized 24-hours a day.” And while McNamee handles his criminal case, his actions likely made his divorce proceedings significantly more difficult, as well.