District Court Judges: Michael O. McGuire, Presiding Judge; Norman J. Backes, Georgia Dawson, Ralph R. Erickson, Lawrence A. Leclerc, Frank L. Racek, Cynthia A. Rothe-Seeger
District Court Referees: John A. Dietz and Janice Benson Johnson.
Number of Counties in District: 3
District Court Chambers: Fargo, Hillsboro
In 2001, the criminal division tried 23 misdemeanors and 7 felony jury trials. In addition, 16 felony, 108 misdemeanor, and 130 traffic matters were tried as court trials. The civil division tried 15 jury and 61 court trials and, in addition, heard 2,773 motions.
The UCIS/PCSS Integration Committee has been meeting on a regular basis regarding the project to integrate Cass County into the State UCIS program. The expected completion date is December 31, 2002. Enterprise Solutions, Inc., was issued a contract in 2000 and meetings with Cass County personnel, district court personnel, and the state supreme court personnel are identifying program changes, data conversion processes, network accessibility needs, and other issues. This integration will allow this district to share information with the rest of the state.
An Interactive Television Committee, involving the state court administrator's office, county personnel, representatives from indigent defense attorneys for both municipal and district courts, interpreter representative, law enforcement, and municipal court personnel, as well as district court representatives, has been meeting in Cass County to explore the use of such technology upon completion of the new Cass County jail, which is located some distance from the courthouse.
The number of referrals for delinquent and unruly juveniles totals 2,253 for the year 2001, compared to 2,622 referrals in the year 2000. This is a total of 369 fewer referrals. It is our belief that this decline in referrals is due to our proactive approach in the community. The East Central judicial district court employees are involved in various efforts districtwide to promote programming for our at-risk juveniles.
This programming includes Youth Court, Victim Offender Conferencing, Victim Empathy Seminar, Youthworks, the development of meaningful community service, and a restitution fund which can reimburse a victim immediately following adjudication. The fund is then reimbursed by the juvenile offender. Drug Court is an additional tool which has involved approximately 30 different juveniles since its implementation.
In May of 2001, a new scheduling system was implemented which has expedited case processing. Despite the demands placed on our scheduling due to the Adoption and Safe Families Act, we have been able to remain current with deprivation, as well as delinquent and unruly matters.