Oral Argument Schedule

The majority of cases before the Montana Supreme Court are decided based upon the written briefs submitted by the parties. However, the Court may decide that a case requires further discussion, in addition to what the parties have argued in their written briefs. In such cases, oral arguments are scheduled in open session before the Court. Approximately 15 cases a year are scheduled for oral argument.

Oral arguments are tightly structured and timed. The counsel for each party is allowed limited time to make an argument. The times typically range from 20 to 40 minutes and are set forth by the Court in the order setting oral argument. 

While this format allows the counsel brief opportunity to further develop their arguments, it also gives the Court an opportunity to ask questions of the attorneys on points which the Court needs clarification.

A majority of oral arguments take place in the Montana Supreme Court Courtroom, located at 215 N. Sanders, Helena, Montana. The Court does schedule a few arguments to be heard in different cities around the State. See the list of scheduled oral arguments below.

All oral arguments are open to the public. 

Click here to see list of previous oral arguments 



DA 18-0661 - AUGUSTIN RAMON, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. DARREN SHORT, in his capacity and his official capacity as Sheriff of Lincoln County and Administrator of Lincoln County Detention Center.

Oral Argument is set for Wednesday, January 8, 2019, at 9:30 a.m. in the Courtroom of the Montana Supreme Court, Joseph P. Mazurek Justice Building, Helena, Montana.

Agustin Ramon was arrested on a burglary charge and was held in the Lincoln County Jail on a $25,000 bond. The day after Ramon’s arrest, U.S. Customs and Border Protection sent the jail a detainer request for Ramon. This detainer request asked the jail to detain Ramon for up to 48 hours after he was entitled to release on the burglary charge. After the jail received the detainer request, a bail bondsperson attempted to post Ramon’s bail; however, jail staff informed the bondsperson that Ramon would remain in jail even if he posted bail because of the detainer request. Ramon then filed a complaint in District Court, arguing that his detention was illegal. He applied for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. The district court denied the restraining order and injunction and ruled that Ramon was legally detained under Montana law.

Ramon has appealed the District Court’s decision. He argues that holding a person on an immigration detainer constitutes an arrest, and that the Lincoln County Sheriff does not have the legal authority to arrest someone for a civil immigration violation.

Short argues that Ramon’s appeal is moot because Ramon is no longer detained and therefore cannot obtain the remedies he seeks. It also argues that Montana law allows for local law enforcement to hold a person on a detainer request from Border Protection.