Jason Trinity Holden
Jason Trinity Holden is a trial attorney and appellate advocate with 15 years of experience in commercial and business litigation, oil and gas litigation, insurance litigation, estate and trust litigation, torts and products liability litigation, personal injury litigation, employment litigation (management only), Federal and State criminal defense and family law.
Jason has tried numerous civil and criminal jury and bench trials in front of Montana Federal and State district courts. He has also tried numerous cases in front of Montana and National administrative agencies and arbitrators. Through his dedication to his clients and the law, Jason has developed the ability to examine a client’s situation and effectively present his client’s position to others.
Jason’s civil litigation practice emphasizes the effective use of the Rules of Civil Procedure. His deposition and motion practice is focused on preparing for trial, but never loses sight of resolving conflicts through early neutral evaluation or mediation. His litigation strategy is client-driven with a focus on specific client goals and objectives. Jason litigates cases in the areas of business disputes, breach of contract disputes, oil and gas contracts and disputes, insurance coverage and claims, personal injury, premises and products liability, copyright and trademark infringement, trade secrets, construction disputes, corporate and partnership disputes, employment disputes (management only), estate and probate contests, real estate disputes and family law.
Jason’s criminal defense practice uses every available resource to prepare a case for trial. Because criminal cases have special statutory and Constitutional priority, they must be prepared as if they are proceeding to trial immediately. Jason relies on several experts and investigators to assist him in trial preparation, but also focuses on developing mitigation evidence and emphasizing acceptance of responsibility to obtain the best possible resolution. He has extensive experience in defending those accused in Federal Court, and handles all cases brought in Federal and State Courts throughout Montana. Jason has represented clients who have faced the death penalty and mandatory life sentences. He has defended those accused of deliberate homicide, negligent homicide, vehicular homicide, assault, DUI, white collar offenses such as bribery, theft and embezzlement, complex drug conspiracies, excessive use of force, self-defense, all Indian Country offenses in Federal Court, and sexual offenses in both Federal and State Court.
Jason routinely serves as local counsel for clients and their Pro Hac Vice counsel in State and Federal Court. In Montana, the Federal District Court and State District Court Local Rules require that local counsel be vested with full and complete authority to act on behalf of the client. Jason believes that the practice of law is local, and even when clients need to retain out of jurisdiction counsel, local counsel who is not a “bag carrier” should be retained.
In addition to his trial practice, Jason has represented numerous civil and criminal clients before the Montana Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Jason has had the honor of arguing before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on multiple occasions. Jason has also prepared numerous Writ of Certiorari Petitions to the Supreme Court of the United States for his criminal clients.
An attorney’s success is often unreported in law journals or case reports. Jason has been successful in resolving several civil disputes for his clients by negotiating resolutions before suit is filed and of course, before trial. In criminal cases he has been able to secure dismissal, pre-trial diversion agreements and deferred prosecution agreements for several clients. However, when negotiations fail Jason is prepared to proceed to trial or appeal.
Jason has been successful in obtaining rulings and verdicts in his client’s favor. He has obtained several Not Guilty verdicts for his clients, including obtaining a Not Guilty verdict in the first Federal Jury Trail he tried as a Federal Defender. He successfully obtained the reversal from the Montana Supreme Court of a $2.5 million jury verdict in a complex breach of contract and oil and gas dispute. See D.R. Four Beat Alliance v. Sierra Prod. Co., 2009 MT 319. Jason successfully obtained the imposition of a constructive trust from the Montana Supreme Court for life insurance proceeds in the amount of over $2.3 million for his client. See Volk v. Goeser, 2016 MT 61. Jason successfully obtained the reversal from the Montana Supreme Court of a judgment entered against his client individually. See Kurtzenacker v. Davis Surveying, Inc., 2012 MT 105.He advocated for a client whose constitutional right to search and seizure was violated and obtained a dismissal of all charges on appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. See U.S. v. Whitehorn, 123 Fed. Appx. 752 (9th Cir. 2005). He also obtained reversal from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals where a client wanted to present a lesser-included defense and was denied the opportunity. See U.S. v. Fisher, 607 Fed. Appx 645 (9th Cir. 2015). Jason’s other appellate experience includes, but is not limited to, the affirmance of successful motions before the District Court. See Fossen v. Fossen, 2013 MT 299; In Re the Estate of Schott, 2011 MT 103; XU v. Mclaughlin Research Inst. For Biomedical Sci., Inc., 2005 MT 209 and 249 Fed. Appx. 517 (9th Cir. 2007).
Jason’s skills as a trial attorney and appellate advocate have been recognized by his peers:
Jason was selected for inclusion in the Mountain States Rising Stars in Civil Litigation, Defense from 2010 through 2014 and has been selected as a SuperLawyer since 2015. (The Rising Stars publication features the outstanding young lawyers in the State of Montana and is an honor given to only 2.5% of Montana lawyers and the SuperLawyer selection is an honor given to only 5% of Montana lawyers).
In 2011 Jason was the co-recipient of the Neil Haight Pro Bono Award from the State Bar of Montana. Jason received the award for his excellent and tireless work on behalf of the Cascade County Pro-Bono Law Clinic, please note that Jason only serves Pro-Bono clients through the clinic and not through direct solicitation.
In 2007 Jason was recognized as one of the finest trial attorneys in the State of Montana when he was co-recipient of the Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer of the Year from the Montana Criminal Defense Trial Lawyers Association. Jason received the award for the work he undertook on behalf of a client charged with the death penalty as a result of an alleged deliberate homicide.
Jason’s success as a trial attorney and appellate advocate is based on the strong work ethic he acquired growing up in the blue-collar railroad town of Havre, Montana. Jason attended Concordia College for a time before he received his Bachelor of Arts degree, with high honors, from the University of Montana where he majored in Political Science and graduated from the Davidson Honors College as a University Scholar.
After college Jason received his Juris Doctorate degree, with honors, from the University of Montana School of Law. During law school Jason served as a member and co-conference coordinator for the Public Land and Resources Law Review where his work on the United States Supreme Court case of City of Monterey v. Del Monte Dunes at Monterey, Ltd., 526 U.S. 687 (1999) was selected for publication. See, Paving a Road, Reaffirming a Roadblock, 21 Pub L.R.LR 145 (2000). Jason also received the Norman Hanson Legal Writing Award in Appellate Advocacy.
Emphasizing his ability as an effective and skilled criminal defense attorney, Jason served as an Assistant Federal Defender with the Federal Defenders of Montana, Inc. (2003-2004). Jason’s time with the Federal Defenders allowed him to emphasize his trial and appellate Federal criminal defense practice. Jason currently serves on the Criminal Justice Act (CJA) Panel for the District of Montana, has a memorandum of understanding with the Montana Office of the Public Defender.
In addition to his trial and appellate practice, Jason serves his community and bar. He is a Past President for the Montana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (2014 -2015). Jason is a past Board of Trustee member of the State Bar of Montana and currently serves as the Secretary-Treasurer of the State Bar of Montana. He is a former member of the Board of Directors for the New Lawyers Section of the Montana State Bar Association and served as the Section’s President (2003-2004). Jason is honored to serve on the local rules committee for the Montana Federal District Court. And, Jason was appointed by Montana Governor Steve Bullock to serve on the legislative OPD task force (2015-2016).