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Wendy Holton MTACDL Profile

Wendy Holton
Federal Defenders of Montana
50 W. 14th St.
Suite 1
(406) 447-5753

Wendy Holton

Wendy received her J.D. from the University of Montana School of Law in 1984  and was a Prettyman Fellow at Georgetown University where she received her L.L.M. in Criminal Law in 1988.  After completing a clerkship with the Honorable Gordon R. Bennett, she hung out her shingle in 1989.   Her practice is limited to criminal defense in state and federal court at both the trial and appellate level with an emphasis on defending persons charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.  

Wendy served as President of the Montana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers from 2009-2011, and by appointment of the Montana Supreme Court, on the Montana Criminal Jury Instructions Commission (1988-2012), and the Montana Evidence Commission (2001-2012).   Wendy served on the Montana Public Defender Commission from 2005-2008, the Conference Executive Committee of the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference from 2006-2009, the Ninth Circuit Advisory Rules Committee from 2004-2007, was a lawyer representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference from 2003-2006, and was President of the Montana Chapter of the Federal Bar Association in 2004-2005.

Wendy is AV rated, was selected for inclusion in Mountain States Super Lawyers in 2013 and 2014, and as one of the National Trial Lawyers top 100 Trial Lawyers in Montana since 2013.  She was honored by the Montana Innocence Project with its 2013 Defender of Justice Award and by the Montana Justice Foundation as a Champion of Justice in 2014.

Wendy Holton - Vitae


Montana State University, 1975-79, B.S. Accounting - with highest honors.

University of Montana School of Law, 1980-81, 1982-84, J.D. Law - with honors.

Georgetown University Law Center, 1984-86, L.L.M. Advocacy (degree received in 1988).

Honors and Awards:

Law School: AmJur Award for Excellence in Labor Law.

College: Outstanding Accounting Major 1978; Phi Kappa Phi; Advanced Honor Scholarship; President Tau Pi Phi (Business Honorary); Spurs (Service Honorary); School of Business Curriculum Development Committee.

Court and Administrative Body Appointments:






Bar Association and Legal Professional Society Memberships:

Federal Bar Association - President of the Montana Chapter, 2004-05

Montana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

State Bar of Montana

First Judicial District Bar Association

Criminal Defense Section (State Bar of Montana)

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

National College for DUI Defense

Organizations and Firms:


Professional Appointments:

  • Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference - Conference Executive Committee – Three year term beginning July 2006 - Elected by the Lawyer Representatives to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference
  • Montana Public Defender Commission, two year appointment beginning July 2005 - appointed by Governor Brian Schweitzer
  • Advisory Committee on Rules of Practice and Internal Operating Procedures of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, three year appointment beginning September, 2004
  • Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, three year appointment beginning in 2003 - appointed by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy
  • Montana Criminal Jury Instruction Commission, 1988-2001 and an additional term beginning in 2001 – appointed by the Montana Supreme Court
  • Montana Commission on Evidence, 2001-2004 and an additional four year term beginning in 2004 – appointed by the Montana Supreme Court
  • Speedy Trial Commission for the District of Montana - appointed by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy


If it's not broke, don't fix it – Why splitting the Ninth Circuit would be bad for Montana, The Montana Lawyer, Volume 30, No. 9 (June/July 2005).

Wendy Holton

50 W. 14th St.,Helena,MT,5960150 W. 14th St.

Helena MT