Daryl Anderson recall, Lincoln County, Montana, 2009

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An effort to recall Sheriff Daryl R. Anderson from his position as sheriff of Lincoln County, Montana was launched in February 2009 by a group of Eureka-area residents, calling themselves the Lincoln County Recall Committee. The recall campaign was initiated due to an alleged failure by the sheriff to properly investigate a series of rape complaints.[1] The group accused the sheriff of violating the public trust, failing to preserve victims' rights and official misconduct.[1] The recall effort ultimately did not go to a vote.[2]


The Lincoln County Recall Committee alleged that authorities weren't taking the rape cases seriously and had been unsuccessful with at least one investigation because they waited several days to collect evidence. "Anderson knows how to do the investigation properly, but for whatever reason has chosen not to," group spokeswoman Diane Kaechele said.[1]

Illegal deputy controversy

On April 8, 2009, the leaders of the recall effort released information that they had received regarding a deputy hired by Anderson who had been accused of impersonating an officer. Information on Montana Recall's website stated:[3][4]

The Lincoln County Recall Committee received an anonymous tip that the Lincoln County Sheriff’s department under the supervision of Sheriff Daryl Anderson had employed a deputy that was impersonating an officer. It is our understanding that Jay Charles Sheffield was hired as a Deputy Sheriff in Lincoln County by Sheriff Daryl Anderson in June of 2007 and served in this position until he was appointed as a Justice of the Peace in Libby in February 2009. [5]

Recall petition wording

The wording of the recall petition stated:[6]

To the Lincoln County Election Administrator: We, the undersigned qualified electors of the State of Montana and Lincoln County respectfully petition that an election be held as provided by law on the question of whether Lincoln County Sheriff Daryl Anderson, holding the office of Lincoln County Sheriff, should be recalled for the following reasons: Montana State Law 2-16-603, MCA states that an elected officer may be recalled for incompetency. Sheriff Daryl Anderson failed to investigate 6 reported rape crimes completely, if at all. Specifically he failed to adequately investigate a June 26, 2008 rape and failed to secure the crime scene to obtain valuable evidence. Sheriff Anderson also failed to adequately investigate an April 25, 2008 incident where he also failed to secure the crime scene. The Sheriff has also failed to provide rape victims written notice of their rights as set forth in 46-24-201, MCA He has denied a concealed carry permit without a written statement of the reasonable cause for the denial as required by Section 45-8-321(2), MCA and testified against HB228 Citizens Self Defense and Firearm Rights Bill. He failed to require a deputy to attend the Montana Law Enforcement Academy as required by Section 7-32-2106, MCA and take his Oath of Office per Section 7-32-303(3), MCA. As a result, Sheriff Anderson is subject to recall pursuant to Section 2-16-603, MCA.

Anderson's response

Anderson refuted the allegations and had the continued support of county officials throughout the campaign, including Lincoln County Commissioner Marianne Roose, who said, "When the sheriff's office gets a lead, they check it out. There's been a lot of sensationalism and rumor about recent people and events. The sheriff's office has been working diligently with some of us community leaders on the recent allegations of sexual assault."[1]

Path to the ballot

On June 26, 2009, area officials sent the petition for recall back for wording revisions, due to questions of legality. The petition wording also conflicted with state statutes. Kaechele said, "We will do what we have to do to move this petition forward. The only supervisors [Anderson] has are the people who voted him into office." The recall effort was subsequently rejected by Lincoln county officials the next week after the group resubmitted the petition.[7][2]

See also