Report of the Northeast Judicial District
The Honorable M. Richard Geiger, Presiding Judge
District Court Judges: M. Richard Geiger, Presiding Judge; Lee A. Christofferson; Laurie A. Fontaine; Donovan Foughty; Lester S. Ketterling; and John C. McClintock, Jr.
Judicial Referee: Dale Thompson
Number of Counties: 11
Chambered Locations: Bottineau, Devils Lake, Grafton, Langdon/Cavalier, and Rugby.
|Case Filings/Dispositions||2001 (F) (D)||2002 (F) (D)|
The Northeast Judicial District has six chamber cities located within the district to serve its citizens effectively relative to population and geography. Two chambers in the east, Grafton and Cavalier/Langdon serve the eastern section of the district. The two-judge chamber in Devils Lake serves the central section of the district. The chambers in Rugby and Bottineau serve the western section of the district. In addition, the judges are regularly assigned to other cases throughout the district as the need arises. The district is also served by one judicial referee who travels throughout the counties of the district on a regularly basis, handling the child support enforcement proceedings and some juvenile proceedings. The district maintains a budget of slightly over $4 million for the biennium. It has approximately 50 personnel, including all county clerk employees.
Administratively, the district continues working toward maintaining a strong communication network among its personnel. In addition to the immediate communication available through its computer network, the district maintains regular meetings among the office divisions: the offices of the clerks of court personnel, juvenile personnel, and court judicial officers. Each of these groups separately meet or confer at least annually within the district. In addition, the Northeast Judicial District, in conjunction with the Southeast Judicial District, has an annual meeting for all personnel to promote a common sense of mission, share work experiences, and present a professional development program for all employees.
In its efforts to better serve the public, the district continues those efforts on many fronts. The district recently adopted Rule 8.5 summary divorce proceedings. The district has engaged in discussions with other districts to share its resources and personnel. Budget reductions and limited funding in the near future have compelled the district to seek out alternatives to serve the public in the most efficient manner possible. We continue to pursue implementing uniform practices where appropriate. The district has continued its efforts to maintain adequate computer support by adding and upgrading equipment on a continuing basis and placing them at appropriate locations throughout the district and its courthouses. As part of the process of improving courtroom facilities the district maintains recording and sound enhancement systems in the courtrooms in each of the chamber cities.
The Northeast Judicial District continues its commitment to recover monetary obligations from those convicted of criminal offenses. The district also remains in substantial compliance with the docket currency standards. The benefits from the unified court information system (UCIS) remains an important component in allowing the courts to regularly monitor management of its cases and maintain docket currency.
As in other judicial districts of the state, the courts of the Northeast Judicial District continue to see increased court activity relating to drug offenses, including the discovery of methamphetamine labs, and other crimes relating to this criminal activity. This trend the rural character of the district, and other developments have created challenges in maintaining an effective indigent defense program within the district.
The juvenile court for the Northeast Judicial District, operating out of three primary sites, Bottineau, Devils Lake, and Grafton, continues to adhere to the balanced approach philosophy, whereby juveniles are held accountable for their actions and to their victims, as well as provided opportunity to learn new skills to prevent their return to the juvenile court, and to make their communities a safer place to live.
This is accomplished through various programs such as Keys to Innervisions, youth accountability conferences, tracking, alcohol and drug testing, electronic monitoring, community service, and restitution.
Our restitution program continues to be successful, collecting a combined total of $46,123.00, that is recovered on behalf of the victims. Our community service program also remains successful with juvenile offenders having worked a combined total of 9,786 hours.