Justice Of Peace Resigns
Hartsock Leaves Office Following Domestic Disturbance
The justice of the peace for Valley County has resigned from office in the wake of a domestic disturbance and her arrest on a charge of family member abuse.
The Valley County Commissioners announced Tuesday that Linda Hartsock had resigned in a letter dated July 8, the day after the arrest, and received by the commissioners on July 16. The resignation is to be effective on July 31.
Hartsock, 58, was halfway through her fourth four-year term as justice of the peace. She won re-election in 2010 over two challengers.
Contacted by telephone, Hartsock declined to comment.
On the advice of Valley County Attorney Nick Murnion, the commissioners scheduled a meeting on Wednesday, July 24, with acceptance of the resignation on the agenda.
Hartsock has not come to her office since the arrest. She appointed Chris Gamas, the clerk of Justice Court, as judge pro tempore. By law, this gives Gamas the same power and authority as the justice of the peace, except she may not preside over a trial. Judge Perry Miller, the justice of the peace in Blaine County, has been asked to preside at criminal trials.
The commissioners said Tuesday that they intend to advertise the vacancy, take applications and appoint someone to serve until the next county election in November 2014. Gamas, who has been clerk of Justice Court since 2007, said she had been planning to run for the judge’s seat next year when Hartsock retired.
A disturbance at the Hartsock residence was reported at about 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 7. Glasgow police officers arrested Hartsock, who was charged with partner or family member assault. On Monday afternoon she made an initial appearance via Vision Net before Judge Miller of Chinook and was released on $2,500 bond.
Hartsock has a previous brush with the law on her record. On Dec. 29, 2009, she was arrested for DUI. She was sentenced in City Court on Jan. 7, 2010. She was given a $1,000 fine with $400 suspended and also received a two-day suspended jail sentence.