The ACLU has filed an amicus brief on behalf of Anthony St. Dennis because he did not receive fair and adequate representation during his trial for the murder of Forest Salcido, a homeless man in Missoula.

Both St. Dennis and Dustin Strahan were tried and convicted of the crime, but Strahan was able to cut a deal for testifying against St. Dennis. The issue at stake here is that attorneys with the Office of the Public Defender represented both men. That is a clear conflict of interest because both attorneys work under one person. The OPD is a single law firm under the Montana Rules for Professional Responsibility, and lawyers within the same firm may not represent clients with conflicting interests. We are also pushing the OPD to fix the conflict issue within the system.


Elizabeth Griffing

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

Colin M. Stephens (Smith and Stephens, Missoula)

Date filed

January 11, 2010


Supreme Court of the State of Montana

Case number

DA 09-0284