All District Court Judges

Cynthia M. Feland

District Court Judge

Elected: 2010 - Present

Born 1965. B.A. in Marketing and Management from the University of North Dakota, 1987. J.D. from University of North Dakota School of Law, 1990. Assistant State's Attorney, Burleigh County, 1999-2010. Grant County State's Attorney, 1992-1998, while also in private legal practice in Mandan. Elected District Judge in 2010, 2016.

Anthony Swain Benson

District Court Judge

Appointed: 2015 - Present

Bachelor of University Studies, North Dakota State University, 1994. Juris Doctor, University of North Dakota School of Law, 2000. In private legal practice, Bottineau, 2000-2015. Assistant State's Attorney, Bottineau County, 2000-2015. Appointed Northeast Judicial District Judge in 2015.

John W. Grinsteiner

District Court Judge

Appointed: 2015 - Present

Born in Bismarck, ND. Bachelor's Degree from the University of North Dakota and Bismarck State College. Law Degree from University of North Dakota School of Law, 1998. In private practice in Bismarck, 1998-2003. Judicial referee and magistrate for the South Central Judicial District, 2003-2015. Appointed district judge in 2015, elected 2018.

Richard L. Hagar

District Court Judge

Elected: 2006 - Present

Graduated from United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado, with B.S. degree in 1979. Received law degree from University of North Dakota School of Law in 1988. Pursued private legal practice in Minot. Elected to District Court in 2006, 2012.

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Warren H. Albrecht

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1994 - 1994

Judge Albrecht was born in 1944. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1966 and served in the Army in the Vietnam War. He received his law degree from the University of North Dakota School of Law in 1972 and entered the private practice of law in Bismarck. In 1994 he was appointed Judge of the South Central Judicial District, by Governor Edward T. Schafer. He lost in the 1994 election for the position. After leaving the state bench, he served as an Administrative Law Judge with the Social Security Administration in Fargo.

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Frank P. Allen

District Court Judge

Elected: 1905 - 1923

Judge Allen was born in New York City, December 19, 1859. He attended school in the United States, Germany, France and England. Graduated from Princeton University in 1881. Came to Dakota Territory in 1882, settling in Lisbon, North Dakota. He was elected Probate Judge of Ransom County in 1886. Served as County Judge with Increased Jurisdiction for several terms. He was elected Judge of the Fourth Judicial District in 1904, he served until 1919, when the judicial districts were revised he became Judge of the Third Judicial District from 1919 until his resignation in 1923. Judge Allen died in Glendale, California on November 14, 1947.

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Mark H. Amundson

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1953 - 1962

Judge Amundson was born in Clear Lake, South Dakota, June 29, 1889. He attended Public schools of Alexandria, Minnesota, the College of Liberal Arts and Law School of the University of Minnesota, from which he graduated. He was admitted to the State Bar of Minnesota in 1915, and practiced law briefly at Alexandria and St. Paul, Minnesota. He was admitted to the Bar of Montana in 1916 and for a short time practiced law at Baker, Montana. Admitted to the North Dakota State Bar February 9, 1920. He practiced law at Bowman, North Dakota, from 1920 until May 1, 1953, when he was appointed Judge of the Sixth Judicial District, by Governor C. Norman Brunsdale, for the unexpired term of the late Judge Broderick. He served in that capacity until his death on October 13, 1962.

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Sonna Marie Anderson

District Court Judge

Appointed: 2004 - 2018

Born in 1958, Bismarck, ND. Graduated Century High School, Bismarck, ND, 1976. Undergraduate education in Trondheim, Norway, 1978; received Bachelor's Degree from the University of North Dakota in 1981, major in Business Administration, minors in Norwegian and Spanish. J.D. degree from University of Denver College of Law, 1985. Admitted to North Dakota State Bar, 1985. Clerked for Mountain States Legal Foundation during law school. Clerked for Judge Patrick Conmy 1985-1987. In private practice in Bismarck, ND, 1987-2004. Appointed December 2003 by Governor John Hoeven to succeed Judge Benny Graff as district judge. Judicial term began Feb. 1, 2004. Elected district judge in 2006, 2010, 2016. Judge Anderson is married with two children. She retired effective June 20, 2018.

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Norman J. Backes

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1978 - 2004

Born in 1937, Minot, ND. Graduate: Minot High School, St. John's University, Minot State College, JD from University of North Dakota. Admitted to Bar: 1966-1978, Fargo. Appointed District Judge in 1978 by Governor Arthur A. Link. Elected 1980, 1986, 1992, and 1998. Elected Presiding Judge June 30, 2003. Retired May 31, 2004. Member: Chairperson, Juvenile Procedures Committee of Judicial Conference; Cass County Bar Assn.; North Dakota State Bar Association; American Bar Association; National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Chair, Juvenile Policy Board; District Court Personnel Advisory Board. Married: Wife, VeeAnn. Three children.

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Albert C. Bakken

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1967 - 1987

Judge Bakken was born near Sharon, North Dakota on December 19, 1920. Attended rural elementary school, Sharon High School, Mayville State College, University of Wisconsin and University of North Dakota, L. L. B. 1948. Practiced law at Finley, North Dakota; State's Attorney of Steele County 1949-1951; counsel for North Dakota Tax Department 1953-1954; First Assistant Attorney General 1955-1956; practiced law at Cooperstown, North Dakota 1957-1967; State's Attorney of Griggs County 1959-1966. On August 1, 1967 Governor William L. Guy appointed him Judge of the First Judicial District. With the reorganization of the district court system in 1979, he became Judge of the Northeast Central Judicial District. He served in that capacity until 1987. Judge Bakken died January 20, 2009 in Woodburn, Oregon.

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Philip R. Bangs

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1960 - 1964

Judge Bangs was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, September 2, 1891. Graduated from the University of North Dakota, received his B. A. in 1913; Juris Doctor in 1915. Practiced law from 1915-1960, was lecturer at the University of North Dakota Law School from 1933-1960. He was appointed Judge of the First Judicial District by Governor John E. Davis on April 1, 1960, he served in that capacity until 1964. Judge Bangs died, June 16, 1969.

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William M. Beede

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1971 - 1992

Born Sept. 19, 1922, at Bismarck, N.D. Received J.D. from University of North Dakota in 1949. Veteran of World War II and Korean Conflict. Practiced law in Elgin, North Dakota, 1949-1953; Grant County State's Attorney 1951-53; Counsel for Amerada Petroleum at Williston 1953-1971. In 1971, Governor William L. Guy appointed him Judge of the Fifth Judicial District and he won election to the post in 1974. With the reorganization of the district court system in 1979, he became Judge of the Northwest Judicial District, and was reelected in 1980 and 1986. Retired as district judge in 1992. Served as surrogate judge until Jan. 1, 2003. Died Nov. 25, 2006, at Westby, Wisc.

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James M. Bekken

District Court Judge

Elected: 1995 - 2010

Born in 1948, Grand Forks, ND. Ph.B. in Social Studies and Mathematics, University of North Dakota 1970, and a J.D. with distinction, University of North Dakota School of Law 1977. Taught in Proctor, MN and Grand Forks, ND, 1970-74; Private law practice in New Rockford, ND, 1977-82. Elected 1982 County Court Judge for Benson, Eddy, Foster, and Wells Counties. Elected Judge of the Southeast Judicial District in 1994, 1998 and 2004. Member, North Dakota Judicial Conference and North Dakota Association of District Judges. Married: wife, Sandy. Three children: Scott, Aaron, Stephanie. Died May 3, 2010, at Rochester, Minn.

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Asmunder Benson

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1954 - 1960

Judge Benson was born in Akra, Dakota Territory, July 28, 1885. Moved to Upham, North Dakota as a young boy and graduated from Upham High School. He worked while attending the University of North Dakota, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1912, and his Law degree in 1915. Upon admission to the Bar, he moved to Bottineau, North Dakota, where he begin practicing law. He served on the City Council of Bottineau for ten years, and several terms as State's Attorney from Bottineau County. He was appointed Judge of the Second Judicial District, by Governor C. Norman Brunsdale on June 1, 1954, to succeed the Honorable Harold B. Nelson who had resigned. He served in that capacity until he resigned in late December, 1960. Judge Benson died on March 10, 1968.

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Wallace D. Berning

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1979 - 1998

Born July 13, 1935, Carrolton, MO. Graduate: BS, Missouri University; JD, University of Missouri. Active duty U. S. Air Force 1960-64. Admitted to Kansas Bar in 1960 and North Dakota Bar in 1964. Practiced in Minot 1964-79. Appointed District Judge, Northwest Judicial District, by Governor Arthur A. Link in 1979. Elected in 1980, 1986, 1992. Presiding Judge 1980-91. Retired at end of 1998. Married: Wife, Mary Ellen. Two children.

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Harry L. Berry

District Court Judge

Elected: 1921 - 1944

Judge Berry was born in Martin County, Minnesota, on November 25, 1871. After Graduating from Mapleton High School, he entered the University of Minnesota studying law, received his law degree from the University in 1903. He then moved to North Dakota where he practiced law at Anamoose, Harvey, Stanton and Killdeer, North Dakota. He served two terms as State's Attorney of Mercer County. He was elected Judge of the Sixth Judicial District of North Dakota in 1920, served in that capacity until his death on July 16, 1944.

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Bruce E. Bohlman

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1987 - 2004

Born in 1939, Thompson, ND. Obtained B.S.B.A. and J.D. from University of North Dakota. Private practice and teaching 1969-1987. Appointed to the Northeast Central Judicial District bench in November 1987 by Governor George A. Sinner. Elected 1988, 1992, and 1998. Chaired the North Dakota Judicial Conference. Chairs the North Dakota Continuing Judicial Education Commission. Married: wife Eunice, two children. Retired as District Judge Dec. 31, 2004. Served as Surrogate Judge 2005-2013.

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Karen K. Braaten

District Court Judge

Elected: 2001 - 2014

Born in 1952, Fargo, ND. BA in Social Work, University of North Dakota, 1973. JD degree, University of North Dakota School of Law, 1979. Private practice in Grand Forks, ND 1979 - 2000. Elected Northeast Central Judicial District Judge in 2000, reelected in 2006, 2012. Married: husband, Jerry, 4 step-children. Judge Braaten died Oct. 4, 2014, at the age of 62.

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Leo C. Broderick

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1944 - 1953

Judge Broderick was born in Winona, Minnesota, December 27, 1885. He graduated from the Winona High School and received his law degree from the University of Minnesota. He was admitted to the Minnesota Bar in 1909. He moved to Mandan, North Dakota, later that year and was admitted to the North Dakota State Bar in 1910, he was associated with the Hanley and Sullivan law firm for about ten years. In August, 1944, Governor John Moses appointed him Judge of the Sixth Judicial District. He served in that capacity until his death on February 18, 1953.

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Eugene A. Burdick

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1953 - 1978

Born October 15, 1912, at Williston, N.D., son of Mr. and Mrs. Usher L. Burdick. Attended Williston public schools and University of Minnesota (B.A. 1933, L.L.B. 1935). Admitted to Bar of North Dakota 1935. Practiced law at Williston 1935-1953; Williams County State's Attorney 1939-1945. Appointed Fifth Judicial District Judge by Governor C. Norman Brunsdale June 1, 1953, for the unexpired term of Judge McGee. Elected 1954, 1960, 1966, and 1972. Retired 1978. Continued serving as a Surrogate Judge until his death. Commissioner on Uniform State Laws; President of National Conference of Commissioners 1971-73. Member, American Bar Association, American Judicature Society, American Law Institute, Institute of Judicial Administration, National Conference of State Trial Judges, National Council of Juvenile Court Judges, State Bar Association (President 1951-52), Order of the Coif, Phi Alpha Delta, Sigma Nu Fraternity, Elks (honorary life member), Kiwanis. Married May Picard on February 14, 1939. Two children: William Eugene and Elizabeth Jane (Mrs. Thomas) Cantarine. Died November 4, 2000.