All District Court Judges

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Charles L. Foster

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1955 - 1960

Judge Foster was born on a farm near Pomery, Iowa on February 20, 1886. He attended grade school and three years of high school at Pomery, Iowa; graduated from Monticello, Minnesota High School in 1903. While living in St. Paul, Minnesota he worked days as an estimator in the lumber yard and attended St. Paul College of Law at night, from which he graduated in 1914. He was admitted to practice law in the states of Minnesota, Florida and North Dakota. In January 1915, he moved to Turtle Lake, North Dakota, where he started his private practice, served as city attorney and carried on in general practice until 1923, when he moved to Bismarck, North Dakota, and became associated with James A. Hyland in a law partnership of Hyland and Foster. In 1949, he was appointed President of the State Bar Board by the Supreme Court of North Dakota, serving until 1960. In 1955 he was appointed Judge of the Fourth Judicial District by Governor C. Norman Brunsdale. He served in that capacity until his death on January 5, 1960.

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Charles M. Cooley

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1913 - 1927

Judge Cooley was born in Decorah, Iowa, on December 18, 1856. He graduated from the Literary Department of the University of Michigan in June 1878. During his vacations and after graduation, he studied law in his father's office, and was admitted to the Bar in the state of Iowa in 1879. In March 1882, he moved to a farm in Davison County, Dakota Territory. He served as County Superintendent of the schools of Davison County in 1885 and 1886. On July 5, 1900 he moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota. On January 9, 1913 he was appointed Judge of the First Judicial District, by Governor Louis B. Hanna. Judge Cooley served in that capacity until his death on September 12, 1927.

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Charles W. Buttz

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1910 - 1948

Judge Buttz was born near new Hope, New Jersey, August 1, 1875. He came to Ransom County, Dakota Territory, March 1, 1881. He attended the North Dakota Agricultural College and graduated from Law School of the Minnesota University. He was admitted to the Bar in 1900. From 1908 to 1913 he was Assistant State's Attorney of Benson County. In 1910 he was appointed Judge of the Second Judicial District, by Governor John Burke, he served in that capacity until his death on October 25, 1948.

Cherie L. Clark

District Court Judge

Appointed: 2017 - Present

Attained three degrees from the University of South Dakota: bachelor of science in biology and chemistry 1996; master's in public administration 1997; and law 2000. Served as an assistant county attorney for Otter Tail County in Minnesota from 2002-2006. Served as an assistant state's attorney for Cass County from 2006-2017.

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Clemens F. Kelsch

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1962 - 1974

Judge Kelsch was born in Rosenthal-Odessa, Russia, November 4, 1890, and raised on a farm near Linton, North North. He graduated from the University of North Dakota School of Law in 1915, he then started his law practice at Mandan, North Dakota. He served four years as Mandan City Attorney, eight years as Morton County State's Attorney, four years as First Assistant Attorney General and four years as Special Assistant Attorney for the Public Service and Water Conservation Commission. After winning the 1962 election as Judge of the Sixth Judicial District, he was appointed Judge on December 1, 1962 by William L. Guy to fill the vacancy created by the death of Judge Asmundur, he served in that capacity until 1974. Judge Kelsch died on January 2, 1987.

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Clifford E. Jansonius

District Court Judge

Elected: 1963 - 1974

Judge Jansonius was born in Bowdon, North Dakota, February 2, 1909. He attended the University of North Dakota for a year, then attended the Gregg School of Court Reporters in Chicago, Illinois. He studied law under his father and was admitted to the Bar in 1934. When he returned from the United States Navy in 1943, he started a law practice in Bismarck, North Dakota with Alvin C. Strutz. In 1951 he served in the legislature as a Representative. He became Judge of the Fourth Judicial District in 1963, served in that capacity until his retirement in 1974. Judge Jansonius died in Munich, Germany, October 26, 1980.

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Clifford Schneller

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1956 - 1972

Judge Schneller was born in Wahpeton, North Dakota on December 26, 1902. He attended Wahpeton public schools and the State School of Science for one year. He enrolled at the University of Southern California for the year of 1921, then returned to North Dakota, attending the University of North Dakota Law School, graduating in 1924. Thereafter he practiced law with his father, F. B. Schneller, at Wahpeton, until the death of his father in 1935. Served as State's Attorney of Richland County, North Dakota, 1933 to 1941; Wahpeton, City Attorney from 1948 until 1956, when he was appointed Judge of the Third Judicial District, by Governor C. Norman Brunsdale. He served in that capacity until his death on March 18, 1972.

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Cynthia A. Rothe-Seeger

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1988 - 2008

Born in 1948. B.A., M.A., University of North Dakota. J.D., University of North Dakota School of Law, 1975. Juvenile Supervisor 1975; Fargo Police Department Legal Advisor 1976; Cass County State's Attorney's Office 1976-81; Magistrate Cass County Court 1982; Cass County Court Judge 1983-88. Appointed District Judge 1988 by Governor George A. Sinner, she was the first woman to become a district judge in North Dakota. Elected District Judge in 1988, 1990, 1996, and 2002. Retired Dec. 31, 2008. Married: Husband, Mark Seeger. Two children.

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.

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Daniel B. Holt

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1932 - 1946

Judge Holt was born in Woodsville, New Hampshire, on October 21, 1866. He attended St. Johnsbury Academy of Vermont; received his A. B. degree from Harvard University, 1890. He moved to Fargo, North Dakota in 1892, and began his study of law, in the law firm of Colonel John D. Benton and Charles F. Amidon. He was admitted to the North Dakota Bar in 1898. He engaged in the practice of law at Fargo, North Dakota for many years. Under an appointment of Judge John Burke, he conducted a study of workmen's compensation insurance, and did much of the preliminary work and study resulting in the enactment of the present North Dakota Workmen's Compensation Law. In May, 1932 he was appointed Judge of the First Judicial District, by Governor George F. Shafer. Due to ill health he retired in the fall of 1946. Judge Holt died in the City of Wilmington, Delaware, March 16, 1947.

Daniel D. Narum

Presiding Judge

Appointed: 2006 - Present

B.S., Political Science, North Dakota State University, 1996; J.D., University of North Dakota School of Law, 1999. Engaged in private law practice 1999-2006. LaMoure County State's Attorney 2001-2006. United States Navy 1987-1990. Appointed district judge 2006 by Governor John Hoeven. Elected 2008, 2010, 2016.

Daniel J. Borgen

District Court Judge

Elected: 2018 - Present

Devils Lake High School graduate, 1990. U.S. Navy, 1990-1993. North Dakota Police Office Training Course graduate, 1995. Police officer in Cando and Devils Lake, 1995-1997. University of North Dakota, BBA, 2000. University of North Dakota School of Law, JD, 2004. In private practice, Grand Forks, 2004-2007. Grand Forks Public Defenders Office, 2007-2012. In private practice, Bismarck, 2012-2018. Elected district judge, 2018.

Daniel S. El-Dweek

District Court Judge

Appointed: 2015 - Present

University of North Dakota, B.S., Public Administration, 2003. University of North Dakota School of Law, J.D., 2006. Managing Attorney, Dakota Plains Legal Services, 2006-2010. Staff Attorney, Regional Native Public Defense Corporation, 2010-2013. Supervising Attorney, Williston Public Defender’s Office, 2013-2015. Appointed District Judge in 2015.

Dann E. Greenwood

District Court Judge

Elected: 2012 - Present

Born in 1952 in Dickinson, N.D. Earned rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America, 1968. Graduated from Dickinson High School, 1970. Attended Dickinson State College, 1970-1972. Graduated from the University of North Dakota, 1974. Earned law degree from the University of North Dakota School of Law, 1977. Engaged in private legal practice in Dickinson, 1977-2012. President of the North Dakota Trial Lawyers Association, 1987. President of the State Bar Association of North Dakota, 1998-1999. Elected Judge of the Southwest Judicial District in 2012.

David E. Reich

District Court Judge

Appointed: 2006 - Present

Born in 1956, Jamestown, ND. Holds a B.A. degree from the University of North Dakota, 1979. Received law degree from the University of North Dakota School of Law, 1982. Law Clerk to the North Dakota Supreme Court, 1982-1983. In private legal practice in Bismarck, ND, from 1983-2006. Appointed District Judge in 2006 by Governor John Hoeven. Elected 2008 and 2014. Married: wife Ann. One child.

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Debbie G. Kleven

District Court Judge

Elected: 1995 - 2016

Born in 1958, Valley City, ND. B.S., University of North Dakota 1980. J.D. University of North Dakota 1983. Private practice in Grand Forks, ND, 1983-85. Assistant State's Attorney, Grand Forks County, 1985-1990. Elected Grand Forks County Judge 1990 and served in that capacity 1991-94. Elected District Judge in 1994, 1996, 2002, 2008 and 2014. Married: Husband, Paul. Two children. Resigned effective Aug. 8, 2016.

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Dennis A. Schneider

District Court Judge

Elected: 1977 - 1998

Born September 23, 1939, in Bismarck, N.D. Educated in parochial schools. Graduated from North Dakota State University, 1961, B.S. degree. Military service, U.S. Air Force. Graduated from University of North Dakota School of Law, 1968, J.D. degree. Law Clerk, North Dakota Supreme Court 1968-69. Burleigh County State's Attorney's Office 1968-74. Private practice 1975-76. Burleigh County Judge 1977-79. District Court Judge 1979-1998. Retired at the end of 1998. Three children. Died May 7, 2000.

Don Hager

Presiding Judge

Appointed: 2014 - Present

Born in 1955. Graduate: B.S.B.A., Mayville State University, 1983; J.D., University of North Dakota School of Law, 1986. Served in U.S. Navy 1974-80. In private legal practice, Larimore, N.D., 1986-2014. Appointed Northeast Central Judicial District Judge in 2014.

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Donald L. Jorgensen

District Court Judge

Elected: 1985 - 2014

Born in 1944, Kenmare, ND. Ph.B, University of North Dakota; J.D., University of North Dakota School of Law, 1970. Served in U. S. Army. Engaged in private practice in Dickinson for ten years. Served two years as county judge of Stark County. Elected Judge of the Southwest Judicial District in 1984, reelected 1990. Transferred to South Central Judicial District with chambers at Linton in 1995. Reelected in 1996, 2002 and 2008. Active as a member of the National Juvenile and Family Court Judges, served two terms as Chairman, Rural Courts Committee, National Juvenile Judges. Married: Wife, Caroleene. Three children; Damon, Heather, and Heidi. Retired July 3, 2014.

Donovan J. Foughty

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1987 - Present

Born 1955 in Devils Lake, ND. Holds BA and JD degrees from the University of North Dakota. Admitted to the North Dakota Bar in 1983. County Judge 1987 - 1994. Elected Northeast Judicial District Judge in 1994, 1996, 2002, 2008 and 2014.