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Northwest Montana career criminal goes to prison

Hagadone News Network | March 23, 2021 12:00 AM

An area man with a criminal record spanning at least 17 years and involving several counties in Montana was sentenced recently in Flathead County District Court for his latest offense.

James Rand Hernvall, 40, was sentenced to five years for violating his parole on a prior conviction for tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. He did receive credit for time served on the original conviction in 2016, his time in the Flathead County jail and 120 days of good street time.

Hernvall is currently in the Missoula County Detention Center awaiting a move to a state Department of Corrections facility. He was moved to Missoula from Flathead County Wednesday, March 17.

Hernvall was charged in Flathead County in 2015 with possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. Hernvall ultimately pleaded guilty to tampering and received a five-year suspended sentence in 2016.

Hernvall’s criminal history includes criminal possession of dangerous drugs in Lincoln County in 2003. He received a three-year suspended sentence in 2004, then violated his probation and was ordered to serve the entire sentence in 2005.

In Sanders County, Hernvall was convicted of burglary and theft charges in 2015 and sentenced to a total of 20 years with 15 suspended.

Hernvall was arrested and charged with stealing a motorcycle, a chain saw and graduation gifts the victim’s son had received. Sanders County authorities also found three rifles and a shotgun in a stolen car. The guns were reported stolen from a Thompson Falls storage facility. Hernvall was also accused of stealing a pickup truck from Polson.

According to court documents, Hernvall served time on the Sanders County charges until he was paroled in April 2019. He was reported for a violation of his probation for not staying in contact with his parole officer.

Hernvall was arrested after a traffic stop by city of Bozeman police in November 2020 and charged with several misdemeanors, including possession of burglary tools, a meth pipe “kit,” having an open container of alcohol while driving and the alleged possession of four guns.

In 2013, Hernvall was charged with assault with a weapon and theft in Flathead County after he allegedly stole a vehicle and later threatened the victim by pointing a gun at her and her mother. Those charges were dismissed after the prosecutors could not find the victims in the alleged crimes.

Hernvall was involved in two civil cases where domestic violence was alleged.

In 2012, a Kalispell woman received a temporary order of protection against Hernvall. It was dismissed after the woman didn’t appear at a court hearing. The woman applied for another order of protection in 2015 against Hernvall after they were married. She accused him of assault and emotional abuse. The petition was dismissed after the woman didn’t appear at a court hearing.

According to a previously published story, Hernvall and a woman were arrested on Melita Island in January 2015 by Lake County Sheriff’s officers after they were reported for going through other people’s mailboxes.

Hernvall reportedly resisted arrest and had to be tasered by officers.

Scott Shindledecker may be reached at

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