The Southwest Judicial District is currently testing digital audio recording technology as a pilot project. Digital audio recording is the recording and storing of judicial proceedings on a computer in a network environment. It provides for the integration of the recorder's annotations and the judge's notes with the digital recording for easy access anywhere over the network.
On December 31, 2000, Judgeship No. 5, with chambers in Bowman, was abolished. This reduced the number of judges in the Southwest Judicial District from four to three.
All the district judges are assigned throughout the district as necessary to assure an equitable distribution of the caseload and to promote a fair, expeditious disposition of all cases in compliance with the docket currency standards. During 2000, the district was in compliance with such standards.
The Southwest Juvenile Court continues our outreach services to the eight counties in our district and also continues in the shared arrangement with the South Central District to serve Mercer and Grant counties. We have increased our use of tracking and intensive tracking services to better monitor our more difficult probation cases. We use community service, victim offender conferencing, and collection of restitution to make our juveniles accountable to their victims. We now have an additional provider offering alcohol education classes in the Bowman County area. We remain actively involved in the Children's Services Coordinating Committee to facilitate regional programs that benefit children. We continue to partner with Community Action to coordinate our Keys to Innervisions Program. Staff have been active on the local Tobacco Coalition to look at changes in legislation and ways to impact young juveniles who use tobacco products. The juvenile court continues to make referrals of selected first-time offenders to the Sunrise Youth Bureau for diversion services. This has given us additional time to concentrate on the more serious offenders referred to us. We have a designated staff person who serves on the JCMS User Committee and gives valuable input and feedback on the progress of the new computer system.