Administrative Council Doublewood Inn, Bismarck February 27, 2008
Present: Chief Justice Gerald W. VandeWalle, Chair Justice Daniel Crothers Judge Georgia Dawson Judge Laurie Fontaine Judge Donovan Foughty Judge John Greenwood Judge Gail Hagerty Jim Hill Judge William McLees Judge Joel Medd Judge John Paulson (telephonically) Judge Allan Schmalenberger
Absent: Judge Robert Wefald
Staff: Sally Holewa Louis Hentzen
Others Present: Jim Ganje Dennis Herbeck Rod Olson Mike Sandal Don Wolf Donna Wunderlich Mike Schwindt
Minutes: Renee Barnaby
Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m.
It was moved by Judge Hagerty, seconded by Jim Hill, to approve the minutes of the
December 14, 2007 meeting. The motion carried.
Budget Guidelines Don Wolf said the budget process is underway for the 2009-11 biennium. The final budget needs
to be submitted to the Legislature on November 15, 2008.
Weighted Caseload Study for 2007 Data Don Wolf reported briefly on the changes for each of the districts noting the trends for judge
need. Overall, there was a decrease in case filings, but it resulted in an overall increased need for
judges because of the shift in types of cases being filed. The overall judge shortage increased to
6.3 as compared to 5.11 in 2005-06.
The East Central, Northwest, South Central and Southeast Districts showed a judge shortage of
greater than one. However, there are no districts with a judges excess of greater than one.
Mr. Wolf said any requests for new judges would need to be submitted by August 2008.
Weighted Caseload Assessment for Clerks (WAPC) Mr. Wolf stated the WAPC study showed a decrease in case filings from 2006 to 2007. The
overall FTE need is 123.75, with 29 FTEs needed for the contract counties. Ten counties qualify
to make the election to become state-funded: Barnes, Bottineau, Dickey, McKenzie, McLean,
Mercer, Mountrail, Pembina, Ransom, and Traill Counties.
The state-employed counties showed that 94.74 FTEs are needed, which is a shortage of 4.75
FTEs. No counties have a surplus over 1 FTE.
Judge Dawson said Cass County could use another judge but that also would require more
courtroom space. Judge McLees said the same statement is true for Ward County.
Chief Justice VandeWalle suggested the issue be discussed at the Judicial Conference so
everyone has an opportunity for input.
NDCC 12-67-02 and 39-08-01 Judge McLees initiated a discussion related to the apparent inconsistency in statutes for home
detention. NDCC 12-67-02 says you cannot use home confinement when mandatory
incarceration is involved, yet the DUI statute allows it for a second offense. He asked if other
judges were using home detention in DUI cases.
Judge Hagerty said the South Central allows electronic monitoring if it is approved by the sheriff.
She said she is a member of the Alternatives to Incarceration Commission and that group is in the
process of working on legislation for the next session.
Judges Dawson and Medd have also used it. Judge Medd questioned whether it was appropriate
to use private entities. Judge Hagerty responded that she considers the sheriff to be in the best
position to determine who is qualified to provide services of this nature.
In response to a question regarding the statutes, Judge Hagerty said that where there appears to be
an inconsistency between statutes, the specific supercedes the general. She believes electronic
monitoring is appropriate because NDCC 39-08-01 defines "imprisonment" to include electronic
Court Improvement Project Committee Louie Hentzen reviewed the strategic plan adopted by the Court Improvement Project Committee.
This plan was adopted prior to the Committee becoming a subcommittee of the Administrative
Council. The Court Improvement Project Committee was formed in early 2007. He said the
Committee has four subcommittees: Lay GAL Subcommittee; ICWA Subcommittee; Data
Collection and Analysis Subcommittee; and Education and Training Subcommittee. The Court
Improvement Project Committee will meet three times per year, and the subcommittees will meet
in between those meetings throughout the year. It was also determined that the Court
Improvement Project Committee would provide the Council with two reports per year. The first
report will be given when the committee is considering the grant submission and the second
report will be at the end of the year to report on activity.
PRIDE Program Mike Schwindt said the PRIDE (Parental Responsibility Initiative for the Development of
Employment) Program was developed as an alternative way of dealing with people who could not
or would not pay their child support obligation. The program started as a pilot project in
Dickinson and then expanded to the Grand Forks and Grafton areas. The TANF program
provides the funding for this program, and the case manager for the program is employed by Job
Service. When an order to show cause has been issued, the judge or referee can refer the obligor
to the PRIDE program. The case manager then makes an appointment with the obligor to start
the process of finding a job. The program has been very successful and will be expanding
statewide soon to offer programs in the Fargo, Bismarck and Minot areas.