The Commission to Study Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Courts presented its final report to North Dakota Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley on Nov. 20 in Bismarck.
Commission co-chair, N.D. Supreme Court Justice Carol Kapsner, introduced the commission members to Wrigley. Her fellow co-chair, District Judge Donovan Foughty, Devils Lake, formally presented the report.
Wrigley said that bias in providing government or court services is unacceptable and he praised the commission's members (all of who are volunteers) for their service in investigating bias in the courts. He said that he and Gov. Jack Dalrymple were looking forward to reviewing the report.
Several commission members attended the presentation, including South Central Judicial District Judge Sonna Anderson; Leann Bertsch, the director of the N.D. Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; Scott Davis, the executive director of the N.D. Indian Affairs Commission; Tom Disselhorst, legal counsel for United Tribes; Lisa Jahner, the juvenile justice program manager for the N.D. Association of Counties; and Chief Deputy Attorney General Tom Trenbeath.
The 25-member Commission was created Oct. 30, 2009, under a resolution issued by N.D. Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle. It was assigned to investigate bias and the perception of bias in the state courts and to propose solutions for any issues discovered.
The Commission's report includes information on jury selection, criminal and civil courts, and issues surrounding the need for language interpreters in courts. Minority representation was also examined in the juvenile system, among North Dakota attorneys, and among state court employees.
A copy of the report, including findings and recommendations, is available at: http://www.ndcourts.gov/court/committees/bias_commission/FinalReport2012.pdf.
|Justice Kapsner introduces commission members Judge Sonna Anderson, Leann Bertsch, the director of the N.D. Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and Lisa Jahner, the juvenile justice program manager for the N.D. Association of Counties.|
|Judge Foughty presents the report to Lt. Gov. Wrigley and the members of the commission.|
|Foughty and Wrigley discuss the report after the end of the presentation.|
November 20, 2012