Park County District Judge Nels Swandal of Livingston has been appointed to hear new evidence in the Barry Beach case. As discussed earlier on this blog, Barry Beach, who is serving a 100-year prison sentence for allegedly killing 17-year-old Kim Nees on the Fork Peck Indian Reservation in 1979, has maintained that he is innocent of the crime. Judge Swandal will apply a modified version of the five-prong Clark test and the Schlup “clear and convincing” standard to Beach’s alleged newly discovered evidence to determine whether Beach’s petition establishes that a “jury could find, in light of the newly discovered evidence,” that Beach actually is innocent of his crime. You can read the Great Falls Tribune story on this new development here.

Judge Swandal is currently running for the Montana Supreme Court.