All District Court Judges

Douglas Alan Bahr

District Court Judge

Appointed: 2018 - Present

Law School: University of South Dakota
Admitted in N.D.: 10/10/1991

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Douglas B. Heen

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1959 - 1986

Judge Heen was born in Dunn Center, North Dakota on June 12, 1920. He attended schools in Grand Forks, graduating from Central High School, Grand Forks, North Dakota. He attended Cambridge University Law School, Cambridge, England, and graduated from the University of North Dakota School of Law in 1947. He practiced law in Devils Lake, North Dakota, served as State's Attorney of Ramsey County from 1947 to 1952 and Veterans Service Officer from 1955 until 1959, when he was appointed Judge of the Second Judicial District by Governor John E. Davis. With the reorganization of the district court system in 1979, he became Judge of the Northeast Judicial District, he served in that capacity until his retirement on July 10, 1986. He was Chief Presiding Judge 1980-1986, after his retirement he continued serving as surrogate judge until November 1993. In 1986 Judge Heen received the Distinguished Service Award, the most prestigious award given by the State Bar Association of North Dakota. Judge Heen died at age 80 on February 2, 2001.

Douglas L. Mattson

District Court Judge

Elected: 2002 - Present

Born in 1955, Minot, N.D. Served in North Dakota House of Representatives 1978-1982. Graduated from University of North Dakota School of Law and admitted to Bar in 1985. Worked for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Senator Mark Andrews in Washington, D.C., 1985-1986. In private practice in Minot 1987-1990. Ward County State's Attorney 1990-2002. Elected District Judge for Northwest Judicial District 2002, 2008 and 2014.

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Emil A. Giese

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1958 - 1976

Judge Giese was born near New Leipzig, North Dakota, February 9, 1908. Educated in the public schools of New Leipzig. Graduated from the University of North Dakota School of Law in 1932, with a L. L. B. degree, he was admitted to the North Dakota Bar that same year. He practiced law at Carson, North Dakota, from 1933 to 1958, served as State's Attorney of Grant County for twenty-one years. On January 1, 1958 he was appointed Judge of the Sixth Judicial District by Governor John E. Davis, for the unexpired term of Judge Joris O. Wigen. He served in that capacity until his retirement in 1976. After his retirement he moved to a lake home in Wisconsin, in 1978 he move to Green Valley, Arizona. Judge Giese died in Sacramento, California on February 10, 1984.

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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.

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Eugene Coyne

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1967 - 1971

Judge Coyne was born in Starkweather, North Dakota, May 5, 1915. He graduated from the Starkweather High School, he then entered the University of North Dakota at Grand Forks, and graduated from the University of North Dakota School of Law in 1938. He practiced law in Pembina County until entering the military, he returned to Pembina County following the war, in 1953 he moved to Minot, North Dakota. He was in private practice at Minot for a time, until he became a partner in the firm of Bosard, McCutcheon and Coyne. In June of 1967 he was appointed Judge of the Fifth Judicial District by Governor William L. Guy, with the term to become effective on August 1, 1967. He served until his death in March 11, 1971.

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Eugene F. Coyne

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1942 - 1948

Judge Coyne was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on August 31, 1887. He graduated from the St. Paul College of Law, later was admitted to the Bar in Minnesota and North Dakota. In 1912 he came to LaMoure, North Dakota where he entered in the general practice of law. During the years at La Moure he served several years as City Attorney and was State's Attorney of LaMoure County for ten years. In January of 1942 he was appointed Judge of the Third Judicial District by Governor Moses. Judge Coyne served in that capacity until his death on February 12, 1948.

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Everett Nels Olson

District Court Judge

Elected: 1979 - 2002

Born July 12, 1939, in Hettinger, North Dakota. B.A. from Dickinson State University, 1962. L.L.B. from University of North Dakota, 1965. Practiced in New Town, 1965-68, and Minot, 1968-79. Elected District Judge in 1978, 1984, 1990, and 1996. Retired as District Judge, December 31, 2002. Appointed Surrogate Judge, 2003. Married: wife, Mary; four children.

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Francis E. Foughty

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1961 - 1961

Judge Foughty was born in Rolette County, North Dakota, November 12, 1919. He received his law degree from the University of North Dakota School of Law in 1949. He was appointed Judge of the Second Judicial District by William L. Guy on February 21, 1961, but never served. See State v. Friederich, 108 NW 2d 681. He was a resident of Devils Lake, North Dakota, and died July 7, 2005.

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Frank E. Fisk

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1911 - 1920

Judge Fisk was born in Fulton, Whiteside County, Illinois, on November 30, 1877. Attended the public schools there and later the Northern Illinois Normal School at Dixon, Illinois. He came to North Dakota in 1896 and took up the study of law in the office of Bangs and Fisk in Grand Forks. Was admitted to the bar in September 1899; moved to Bottineau in March 1900, where he practiced law for four years, afterwards practicing a short time in Minot, later he moved to Williston, North Dakota. In February, 1911 he was appointed Judge of the Eleventh Judicial District, by Governor John Burke, he served in that capacity until 1919, when the judicial districts were revised he became Judge of the Fifth Judicial District from 1919 until 1920. Judge Fisk died June 21, 1935.

Frank L. Racek

Presiding Judge

Appointed: 1988 - Present

Born in 1957. B.A., Cum Laude, St. John's University, Collegeville, MN, 1979. J.D., with distinction, University of North Dakota 1982. Private practice in Fargo, ND 1982-88; appointed Judge of County Court August 1988. Elected District Judge in 1994, 1996, 2002, 2008 and 2014. CPA certificate.

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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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Frank T. Lembke

District Court Judge

Elected: 1919 - 1946

Judge Lembke was born in Naperville, Illinois, on August 9, 1870, raised in Albert Lea, Minnesota. He moved his family onto his homestead at Minot, North Dakota in 1903. He entered the University of North Dakota in 1910 and took a course in law, graduating in 1913, he was admitted to the North Dakota Bar that same year, he practiced law in Grand Forks, North Dakota 1913-1914. He moved to Glen Ullin, North Dakota, April, 1914; was appointed City Attorney on May 1914 and served in that office till he move to Elgin, North Dakota in November, 1917. He was elected State's Attorney of Grant County in 1918 and held that office till he was appointed Judge of the Sixth Judicial District by Governor Lynn J. Frazier on August 25, 1919. He served in that capacity until 1946. Judge Lembke died on May 21, 1951.

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Fred Jansonius

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1923 - 1947

Judge Jansonius was born in Ackley, Iowa, on December 28, 1877. He attended Nora Springs Seminary, Highland Park College and University of North Dakota, was admitted to the North Dakota Bar June, 1904. Practiced law at Bowdon, North Dakota from 1904 to January 1, 1911. Elected County Judge of Wells County in 1910 and served until January 1, 1923. On January 5, 1923 he was appointed Judge of the Fourth Judicial District, by Governor Ragnvold A. Nestos, he served in that capacity until his death on June 21, 1947.

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Frederick J. Graham

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1919 - 1920

Judge Graham was born in Stockbridge, Michigan, on March 31, 1881. He moved with his family to Merricourt, North Dakota, in 1894. He graduated from the Ellendale High School in 1899; Normal Industrial School of Ellendale in 1902, and from the Law School of the University of North Dakota in 1906, he was admitted to the State Bar of North Dakota that same year. Practiced law at Oakes and Ellendale, North Dakota, served as State's Attorney of Dickey County for one term, 1915-1916. In 1919 he was appointed Judge of the Third Judicial District, by Governor Lynn J. Frazier, he served in that capacity until 1920. He was Chairman of the North Dakota Republican State Central Committee 1926-1927; Republican National Committeeman 1928-1932, and member of the House of Representatives of North Dakota from 1943-1949. He was elected and served as president of the North Dakota State Bar Association from 1949 to 1950. Judge Graham died on September 21, 1953.

Gail Hagerty

Presiding Judge

Appointed: 1987 - Present

Born in 1953, Bismarck, N.D. J.D. degree, UND School of Law, 1978; B.A. degree, UND, 1975; M.J.S. degree, University of Nevada, Reno, 1994. Presiding Judge, South Central Judicial District, 2004-present. President, State Bar Association of North Dakota, 2012-13. Chair, North Dakota Judicial Conference, 1995-97. Commissioner, National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. Served as Burleigh County State's Attorney, 1982-86; Burleigh County Judge 1987-94. Elected South Central Judicial District Judge in 1994, 1996, 2002, 2008 and 2014. Served as assistant Burleigh County State's Attorney and Assistant Attorney General. Married: husband, Supreme Court Justice Dale Sandstrom. Three children.

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Gary A. Holum

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1981 - 2004

Born in 1937, Minot, ND. Undergraduate at Harvard University 1955-56 with BSBA degree from University of North Dakota 1960. J.D. degree from University of North Dakota School of Law 1971. Admitted to Bar - North Dakota and U.S. District Court 1971. Private practice 1971-81. Appointed Ward County Judge 1981 and elected thereafter. Elected District Judge in 1992, and 1998. Retired as District Judge Dec. 31, 2004. Died Sept. 9, 2007.

Gary H. Lee

Presiding Judge

Elected: 2004 - Present

Born in 1955. BA and JD, University of North Dakota. Private practice 1982-2004, Minot. Assistant Attorney General, 1980-1982. Elected Northwest District Judge in 2004, 2010, 2016.

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George A. McGee

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1952 - 1953

Judge McGee was born in Amboy, Illinois, September 13, 1878. Following his graduation from Notre Dame University, he moved to Minot, North Dakota in November 1901, where he practiced law. In 1904 he was elected State's Attorney of Imperial Ward County, serving for four years. In 1952 he was appointed Judge of the Fifth Judicial District by Governor C. Norman Brunsdale. He served in that capacity until his death on March 24, 1953.

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George A. Thom

District Court Judge

: 1947 - 1962

Judge Thom was born in Correctionville, Iowa, December 30, 1883. After graduating from high school, he went on to the University of Iowa where he received his law degree in 1907. He was admitted to the Iowa State Bar, on June 12, 1907; North Dakota State Bar, December 7, 1907. He was in private practice in Denhoff and Goodrich, North Dakota, where he served as State's Attorney of Sheridan County. He moved to McClusky where he continued his practice until he was appointed Judge of the Fourth Judicial District by Governor Fred Aandahl on September 1, 1947, he served in that capacity until his retirement in 1962. Judge Thom died February 7, 1973.