Report of the Southeast Judicial District
District Court Judges: John T. Paulson, Presiding Judge; James M. Bekken; Ronald E. Goodman; John E. Greenwood; Richard W. Grosz; and Mikal Simonson.
Number of Counties in District: 11
District Court Chambers: Valley City, Jamestown, New Rockford, Ellendale, and Wahpeton.
A master calendar system continues to be used in Stutsman County. Types of cases included on the master calendar are typically short matters. These cases are heard on a rotating 16-day cycle on the first through fourth Monday through Thursday of the month. The civil and criminal cases not resolved on master calendar are then distributed between four judges according to the percentage of master calendar they handle. In addition, block scheduling has been implemented for child support cases in both Stutsman County and Barnes County.
An interactive-television pilot project is also being developed for use during mental health hearings in Stutsman County. This ITV system allows patients and/or doctors to testify in court without leaving the State Hospital. The pilot project is intended for mental health proceedings and is designed to avoid the time, expense and inconvenience imposed on mental health patients and other participants in the proceeding. It is expected this project will be up and running in early 2003.
The unified court information system continues to be used as the case management tool throughout the district. All eleven counties in the Southeast Judicial District are now on-line. Regular meetings are held with the clerks of court to help develop uniformity throughout the district; both with UCIS data entry and general office procedures. These meeting include discussion of the issues as well as hands-on training. The meetings also serve to keep the county employed clerks' offices aware of what is being implemented in the state employed clerks' offices.
Juvenile court offices throughout the district continue to use the juvenile case management system (JCMS). The program continues to be evaluated and enhanced to better meet the needs of the users. By going to a uniform data entry system, the courts are better able to generate statistical reports and monitor trends within the juvenile court system.
Juvenile court offices also continue to use juvenile accountability incentive block grant program (JAIBG) funds as a tool to hold youth accountable for their actions. These funds allow juvenile offenders to work meaningful community service to pay off restitution owed to their victims and benefit the community in a visible and meaningful way. This guarantees that the victims receive restitution as soon as possible and juvenile offenders are still held accountable for their actions.
Other programs used by the juvenile courts which have shown positive results are drug and alcohol testing, tracking, a victim/offender mediation program, Keys to Innervisions, and a community accountability board.
Guardians Ad Litem
The Southeast Judicial District continues to use lay people as guardians ad litem in juvenile court cases and as Custody Investigators in divorce and/or custody cases. Periodic meetings or training sessions are scheduled in order to keep everyone abreast of new developments in the program as well as provide continuing education hours.