Archive for June 30th, 2012

by jhwygirl

Because comments can get buried, and in full fairness to Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg, I want to make sure readers see Van Valkenburg’s response to my most recent post on the Department of Justice (DOJ) civil rights investigation of the University of Montana/City of Missoula Police and the Missoula County Attorney’s office.

Van Valkenburg had attempted to comment yesterday evening, but wordpress wasn’t cooperative. I thank him for taking the time to recreate the lost response…along with sending all of his correspondence with the DOJ civil rights division.

Here are the letters, in chronological order:

The first letter from the DOJ to the Missoula County Board of County Commissioners (undated, but referred to as May 1, 2012)

This second letter from the DOJ, dated May 4, 2012 appears to be a response to discussions held in person with Mr. Van Valkenburg upon the initial public announcement of the investigation.

The third letter is Van Valkenburg’s first written response to the DOJ request for information. Dated May 14, 2012.

This forth letter, from the DOJ to Van Valkenburg, is dated May 23, 2012. It responds to Van Valkenburg’s May 14th letter, but erroneously refers to it as the May 4, 2012 letter – that information from Van Valkenburg.

The fifth letter, dated May 25, 2012 is Van Valkenburg’s second response to the DOJ. Van Valkenburg challenges some of the DOJ’s basis’ for the investigation, including their search for information related to the county attorney’s office role as law enforcement officer.

On May 29, 2012, the DOJ reiterates its request for documents in this letter. It includes an attachment listing what they are requesting, and notifies Van Valkenburg that the DOJ will be in Missoula near the first of July to discuss the investigation.

This June 6, 2012 letter from the DOJ is in specific response to Van Valkenburg’s May 25th letter. The DOJ answers Van Valkenburg’s two challenges to their authority over the county prosecutor’s office, and states that they “will not repeat the position that we have articulated in prior correspondence and believe that it adequately advises you of the basis of our jurisdiction.”

In his third letter, dated June 25, 2012, Van Valkenburg responds, informing the DOJ once again that he is still unconvinced of their authority, but note that he and his office “will continue gathering the information you have asked for in previous letters in the event you change course and either provide me with sufficient legal authority for an investigation or you accept my offer to work together cooperatively in the absence of any threats of litigation, we will not be providing such information at this time to you, Ms. Mondino or anyone else in your office.”

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