This biography of Justice Sand appears in the Balta Centennial book
Justice Paul M. Sand was born Oct. 21, 1914 at Balta, in Pierce County, to Paul A. and Clara (Vetsch) Sand. He attended elementary school in Balta and graduated from Richardton Abbey High School.
He then attended the University of North Dakota and graduated in 1941 from the law school with an LLB (Bachelor of Laws) degree which was later converted to a JD (juris doctor) degree. Shortly after graduating he passed the bar exam and was admitted to the North Dakota Bar.
In 1941 Paul also began his military service with the Army as a Private. The next year he graduated from Officer Candidate School as a Second Lieutenant and was commissioned in the Medical Administrative Corps. During World War II, he served in the European Theater as a medical administrative assistant staff officer with the 103rd Airborne Division and with the XXIII Corps.
Paul also served as Assistant Staff Judge Advocate of the United States Berlin District. He obtained broad experience in military law, having served at various times as defense counsel, trial judge advocate, general court member, law general court member, and president of special court. While in the European Theater, he also attended the London Law School Society.
After the European conflict of World War II ended, Paul served with the War Crimes Commission and he headed a war crimes team in the British Zone of the Army of the Rhine in Germany. The teamís duty was to obtain evidence and data for use at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. Paul was discharged from active duty as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1947. At the time of his discharge he had held every position in the Military Court System.
In 1953 he was appointed Chief Administrator of the 311th General Hospital Active Reserve Medical Unit headquartered at Fort Lincoln, Bismarck, which was composed of the Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks, and Minot detachments. He retired from the Army Reserve as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1973.
In 1947 Paul returned to Pierce County and opened a private practice in Rugby. In 1949 he accepted an appointment as an Assistant Attorney General for the State and moved to Bismarck. Shortly after moving to Bismarck he met and married Gloria Gray; they had one daughter Sheila. In 1962 he was named First Assistant Attorney General, a position he held until taking the bench.
Over the course of his career, Paul practiced law at all levels of the North Dakota court system, including the ND Supreme Court. He also appeared and presented cases before the Federal District Court, Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, and United States Supreme Court.
During his 25 years in the Attorney Generalís Office he worked closely with the legislative and executive branches. His knowledge and expertise in legal matters was both well known and respected and he was a mentor to many.
In 1974 Paul declared his candidacy for North Dakota Supreme Court Justice. A poll of North Dakota Bar Association members overwhelmingly endorsed him for this position.
On November 5, 1974 Paul was elected to the North Dakota Supreme Court bench, filling a 4-year unexpired term. His investiture was January 9, 1975, and from that day forward, Paul would forever be known as Justice Sand. In 1978 he was elected to a full 10-year term. Justice Sand died in office on December 8, 1984, just one month shy of celebrating his 10th year on the bench.
It was said that Justice Sand left a legacy in the many fine decisions that he authored for the court and lawyers and legal scholars would be studying them for years to come.
Justice Sand was a member of the American and North Dakota Bar Associations and of the American Judicature Society, an organization that promotes the efficient administration of justice. During his many years in Bismarck, he was active in fraternal and service organizations.
He was a member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Elks, and the Lions Club, an organization he was president of in 1975.
His wife Gloria passed away August 7, 2009. He is survived by his daughter Sheila (Earl) McClenathan, Bismarck, and sisters Agnes Axtman and Monica Grove, both of Rugby.
His parents, Paul A. and Clara Sand, and numerous brothers and sisters preceded him in death.
Justice Sand was a family man noted for his legal knowledge, love of baseball, bowties, passion for growing roses, and gentle spirit. He never forgot and was proud of his hometown of Balta.
May 16, 2012