Roosevelt County attorney forced to leave office because he doesn’t live there

Voters in Roosevelt County elected a new county attorney last November, but less than three months later he’s already being removed from office.

It turns out, Frank Piocos doesn’t actually live in the county.

A private citizen had to make the discovery.

Piocos once worked in Yellowstone County as a public defender.

He says he’s worked on criminal cases for 23 years.

But that career was upended last Friday, when a judge determined he can no longer serve because he doesn’t live in Roosevelt County.

“I just decided right is right and it needed to be done,” said Darla Downs, who filed the complaint as a private citizen.

Downs is the publisher of the Northern Plains Independent in Wolf Point.

She filed a complaint, alleging Piocos falsely registered as an elector when he provided a Roosevelt County address that wasn’t his residence.

“I wasn’t filing on, you know that he’s doing a bad job or he didn’t do the things that I wanted him to do on other cases,” Downs said. “It was strictly a residency issue.”

The court agreed.

According to court documents, Piocos was actually living in Valley County at least at the time he was elected.

Piocos was first appointed to the position in February of 2021, after county Attorney Austin Knudsen left to become Montana’s attorney general.

Piocos was then elected in November to stay in the position.

MTN contacted Piocos who did want to speak on camera.

“I disagree with the judge’s ruling,” Piocos said on the phone. “But I respect the decision and I will not appeal.”

He went on to say, “It was my intent and declaration to make Roosevelt County my residence.”

“We’ll know either to extend this interim position or run a special election,” said Roosevelt County Commissioner Gordon Oelkers.


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