Judicial Education Commission
Minutes 9:00 a.m. March 20, 2009
Members Present Justice Mary Muehlen Maring, Chair Judge David Reich Judge John McClintock Judge Sonna Anderson Judge Steven McCullough Jean Lindvig Deborah Carlson
Staff Present Lee Ann Barnhardt Kim Dockter Lana Zimmerman, scribe
Members Absent Judge DeNae Kautzmann Dean Paul LeBel
Justice Maring called the meeting to order. A motion was made by Judge Reich to approve the
December 12, 2008, minutes. The motion was seconded by Jean Lindvig. Motion carried.
Justice Maring indicated that Dean Paul Lebel will be leaving this Commission due to his new
position at the University of North Dakota as Provost. A new member representing the
University of North Dakota Law School will be appointed by the Executive Committee of the
Old Business I. Lee Ann Barnhardt updated the Commission on the progress of the following
A. Juvenile Court Officers Conference scheduled April 21-23, Fargo B. Clerk of Court Conference scheduled May 6-8, Mandan C. Judicial Institute scheduled May 18-21, Grand Forks D. SBAND Annual Meeting scheduled June 9-12, Bismarck E. Court Support Staff Conference scheduled June 10-11, Bismarck
II. Kim Dockter reported a small committee has been formed and progress made on
new judge's orientation. She also reported that the materials for the new Juvenile
Court Officer training are being finalized and that a mentor training is scheduled
III. Lee Ann Barnhardt reported on the Magistrate Training committee that consists of
Judge Steven McCullough, John Grinsteiner, and herself. This committee is
working on a new bench guide for magistrates, which will contain information
from the District Judge's Benchbook, as well as other information related to the
duties of a magistrate. The training will also include an educational video that will
be produced in house.
IV. Commission members received a copy of the Strategic Plan indicating revisions
and updates made at the December meeting. The Strategic Plan will be reviewed
and updated annually at the end of the year.
New Business I. Lee Ann Barnhardt was asked by the North Dakota State's Attorney's Association
whether the court would participate in a joint training effort entitled "Protecting
Yourself in the Courtroom." She asked the commission for direction in pursuing
this type of martial arts and safety training geared towards self-protection inside
the courtroom. The financial responsibility for the training would be split
between the Education Commission and the State's Attorneys' Association.
By consensus, the Commission gave Lee Ann Barnhardt approval to work with
the Association to provide this type of training.
II. Aaron Birst from the Association of Counties contacted Lee Ann Barnhardt in
regard to traffic safety training and partnering with the Association of Counties to
ensure training for district and municipal judges. Lee Ann Barnhardt would be
working with Mr. Birst to develop the curriculum for the training. National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration funds will be used.
A motion was made by Judge McClintock to direct Lee Ann Barnhardt to move
forward on this project with the Association of Counties and for NHTSA funds to
pay for the training. Seconded by Judge Anderson. Motion carried.
III. Lee Ann Barnhardt requested a review of future Bench and Bar Seminars. The
ND Supreme Court currently pays the State Bar Association of North Dakota
$5,000 up front for the conference and also pays the registration fee for judges.
The overall attendance at Bench and Bar was declining, but has improved for the
last two seminars, which are held on even calendar years. However, the
attendance by judges has not increased, average about 8-9 per year. The
Commission discussed whether it should continue to fund the seminar, or try to
offer other training that targets a higher percentage of judges.
By consensus, the Commission directed LeeAnn Barnhardt to discuss with Bill
Neumann, Executive Director of SBAND, the future of the Bench and Bar
Seminars and to bring back a recommendation to the next meeting.
IV. Lee Ann Barnhardt requested a review of future Court Support Staff Conferences.
She suggested that instead of a catch-all support staff conference, specific job-related training could be offered. Judge Anderson suggested providing court
support training every other year for all support staff, but to offer during off years
more job specific training. Jean Lindvig stated that the November conferences
seem to work the best with scheduling due to Judicial Conference being
conducted at the same time.
V. Surrogate Judge Bruce Bohlman submitted a letter asking the Commission to
reconsider a continuing judicial education request for the Randy H. Lee American
Inns of Court, which was denied by the CJE sub-committee. A motion was made
by Judge Reich to send out a full set of the materials submitted with the request to
all Commission members and to table the item until the next commission meeting
on June 5, 2009. Seconded by Jean Lindvig. Motion carried. Judge Bohlman will
be informed about the June 5 date.
VI.Bias and Prejudice Training for Judges and Court Staff. Justice Maring asked the
Commission to consider offering training on these topics. Lee Ann Barnhardt
informed the Commission that North Dakota is one of three states selected by the
Steering Committee for the National Campaign to Ensure Racial and Ethnic
Fairness of America's State Courts to serve as a project site to develop and deliver
educational materials to judges and court staff on implicit bias. A national training
team will be making a site visit to North Dakota in the near future.
VII. Future training topics for the Judicial Conferences were discussed. Judge Narum
and Judge Herauf are working together on a program related to objections in the
courtroom, which will be ready by November. Other suggested topics were as
A. A Practical Approach to Evidence B. Elder Law Issues C. Utilization and Formulation of Jury Questionnaires Judge McClintock recently attended a Juvenile Justice Conference in Florida. He
recommended Judge Weller from Reno, who presented on enhancing penalties for
offenders who assault other court staff in the courtroom. These topics will be
furthered developed and brought back for consideration at the next meeting.
VIII. The Commission discussed updating the District Court Benchbook, the Domestic
Violence Benchbook, and the Municipal Court Benchbook. Judge Richard Geiger
currently updates the District Court Benchbook,. The Commission discussed
having a plan in place for the future. As of now, there is no one to cover the
Domestic Violence Benchbook or the Municipal Court Benchbook. The
benchbooks are typically updated after each legislative session. Justice Maring
will discuss the issue with Chief Justice VandeWalle and bring a recommendation
to the next meeting in June.
The next meeting of the Judicial Branch Education Commission is scheduled for
June 5, 2009, at 9:00 a.m. in the Supreme Court Front Conference Room.
Respectively Submitted, Lana Zimmerman ND Supreme Court