Kirsten Pabst, innovative and critiqued county attorney, to retire

Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst — the county’s first female top prosecutor, who gained national attention both for overhauling her office and combating prior accusations of inadequately prosecuting alleged rapes as a deputy attorney — will retire at the end of March. 

The county announced Pabst’s retirement, slated for March 31, on Thursday. Under Montana law, the Board of County Commissioners will appoint an interim replacement who will have to run in the November election to keep the position through 2026, the remainder of Pabst’s unfinished term. Pabst recommended Chief Criminal Deputy Matt Jennings as her replacement. 

Kirsten Pabst

Provided photo

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to have earned the trust of my fellow citizens and to serve as your chief elected prosecutor,” Pabst, 56, wrote in Thursday’s announcement. “I am looking forward to spending more time with my family, enjoying Montana’s mountains and lakes, and exploring new ways to serve my community.” 

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Pabst, a Democrat, was initially elected in 2014 and reelected in 2018 and

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