Passing of Charles “Timer” Moses '49
Montana lost one of its grand old trial lawyers when Charles “Timer” Moses passed on December 18, 2014 in Billings at the age of 90. Timer graduated from UM School of Law in 1949 and joined Franklin Longan in trial practice in Billings. Subsequently, he was a partner in Sandall, Moses, Cavan & Battin and later formed Moses, Kampfe, Wright, Tolliver & Guthals. In 1982, he formed the Moses law firm with his sons, Mike and Steve. Mike continued to practice with his dad until Timer retired in 2003. Mike subsequently took the bench as District Judge in the 13th Judicial District in Billings in 2014.
Throughout his career Timer’s practice consisted entirely of representation of criminal defendants and injured persons. He was a flamboyant courtroom orator who became renowned throughout the state because of his jury trials in high profile criminal cases. A Montana jury acquitted his client, Archie Warwick, in the much publicized case in which Warwick was accused of murdering an MSU co-ed. He represented Tony Boyle, President of the United Mine Workers in a trial in which Boyle was accused of masterminding the murder of his challenger for the presidency, Jock Yablonski. Boyle was convicted, but the verdict was overturned on appeal after which he was convicted again. In a federal jury trial in 1974, when defending members of the UM coaching staff indicted for mishandling funds, he wore a special suit from which, during closing argument, he tore the arms, collar and lapels to illustrate the missing pieces of the government’s case. The coaches were acquitted.
Timer was fascinated by law and, long after retiring, still attended CLE seminars on topics that interested him. Judge Moses recalls a meeting in Timer’s hospital room the Friday before his death. The doctor came to the room to advise Timer of the severity of his condition and that he would have to make a major decision regarding his care pending his death. Timer was quiet for a moment and then said, “I’ll take that under advisement.” He then turned to Mike to continue the discussion of motions to suppress which Timer had initiated.
He is survived by his wife, Betty Moses who resides in Billings. The couple raised six children, Stephen (Roundup), Terri (deceased), Mike (Billings), Richard (Sacramento) Peggy (Missoula), and Liz (Billings).