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All District Court Judges

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Glenn Dill III

District Court Judge

Elected: 1995 - 2001

Born at Fargo, ND, January 28, 1941. B.S., University of North Dakota, 1963; J.D., University of North Dakota, 1965. Sole practice Kenmare 1965-93. Assistant Ward County States Attorney 1965-93. Appointed Ward County Judge 1993. Elected Judge of the Northwest Judicial District 1994; served 1995-2001. Member, State Bar Association Title Standards Committee. Wife, Kitty. Two children. Died September 12, 2001.

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Robert L. Eckert

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1975 - 1995

Born December 15, 1932, Garrison, ND. Graduate, New Rockford High School, 1950; B.S.C., University of North Dakota, 1954; J.D., University of North Dakota School of Law, 1957. Engaged in private practice until July 1, 1975, when Governor Arthur A. Link appointed him Third Judicial District Judge in 1975. With the reorganization of the district court system in 1979, he became Judge of the Southeast Judicial District. He was elected district judge in 1976, 1978, 1984, and 1990. Presiding Judge of the Southeast Judicial District from June 4, 1979, to January 31, 1995. Retired November 30, 1995. Married: wife, Dorothy. Three children: Robert, Jr., Ann Marie, and Joseph. Died November 8, 1998.

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Rhonda R. Ehlis

District Court Judge

Appointed: 2015 - Present

Born in Bowman, ND. Graduated from Scranton H.S., 1986. B.S., Political Science, University of North Dakota, 1990. J.D., University of North Dakota School of Law, 1993. Staff attorney and outreach attorney, Legal Assistance of North Dakota, Devils Lake, 1993-1995. Staff attorney, Regional Child Support Enforcement Unit, Bismarck, 1995-2001. In private legal practice, Dickinson, 2001-2006. Stark County Assistant State's Attorney, 2006 to 2015. Appointed Southwest Judicial District Judge 2015 by Governor Jack Dalrymple; elected 2018.

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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; elected 2018.

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Hamilton E. Englert

District Court Judge

Elected: 1964 - 1980

Judge Englert was born in Valley City, North Dakota January 31, 1909. Educated at Valley City Public Schools; standard teaching degree from Valley City State College; B. A., University of North Dakota. Attended Dakota Business College of Fargo; post graduate work, Gregg College, Chicago, Illinois. Served as official district court reporter for twenty-seven years, 1935-1962. Admitted to the North Dakota State Bar in 1949, and practiced law in Valley City until 1963, when he was elected Judge of the First Judicial District. With the reorganization of the district court system in 1979, he became Judge of the Southeast Judicial District, he served in that capacity until 1980. Judge Englert died on May 6, 1998.

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Michael J. Englert

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1919 - 1951

Judge Englert was born near Laurens, Iowa on October 21, 1876. He attended Highland Park College, of Des Moines, Iowa, after graduating, he entered the Law School of the University of South Dakota, graduating in June, 1904. In July of that same year, he moved to Valley City, North Dakota, where he was admitted to the Bar in November, 1904. From 1909 to 1913 he was City Attorney of Valley City, and State's Attorney of Barnes County, North Dakota, from 1913 to 1917. He was appointed Judge of the First Judicial District by Governor Lynn J. Frazier on August 25, 1919. After retiring from the bench in 1951, he moved to San Diego, California where he died on November 5, 1954.

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Ralph R. Erickson

District Court Judge

Elected: 1995 - 2003

Born April 28, 1959, Thief River Falls, MN. B.A., Jamestown College, 1980; J.D., University of North Dakota School of Law, 1984. Associate and Shareholder with Ohnstad Twichell, P.C., West Fargo, ND 1984-91; sole practitioner in West Fargo, ND 1991-94; Secretary-Treasurer State Bar Association of North Dakota 1990-93. Cass County Magistrate 1993-94; County Judge Traill, Steele, Nelson, and Griggs Counties, 1994. Elected East Central Judicial District Judge in 1994, 1996, and 2002. Sworn in as U.S. District Judge with chambers in Fargo March 14, 2003, succeeding United States District Judge Rodney Webb. Appointed to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals October 13, 2017, succeeding Judge Kermit Bye.

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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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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.

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Laurie A. Fontaine

District Court Judge

Elected: 1998 - 2021

Born in 1956 in Grand Forks ND, raised in Cavalier, N.D. B.S. in Social Science, Mayville State University, 1978; J.D., University of North Dakota School of Law, 1983. Private practice 1983-1998 in Pembina County; Pembina County State's Attorney 1987-1998. Elected Northeast Judicial District Judge in 1998, 2004, 2010, 2016. Retired 2021. Married, husband, Bob, three children.

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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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Donovan J. Foughty

Presiding 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.

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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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Martin C. Fredricks

District Court Judge

Elected: 1961 - 1983

Judge Fredricks was born in Wichita, Kansas, on January 24, 1912. He moved with his parents to Jamestown, North Dakota, the following year. He was educated in the local schools and attended Jamestown College. He became a member of the North Dakota Bar in 1936 after studying law as an apprentice and passing the bar examination. He practiced law at Jamestown, North Dakota, 1937-1960, and served as State's Attorney of Stutsman County, 1953-1960. He was elected Judge of the Fourth Judicial District in November 1960. With the reorganization of the district court system in 1979, he became Judge of the Southeast Judicial District and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1983. Judge Fredricks died on May 25, 1985.

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Raymond R. Friederich

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1960 - 1979

Judge Friederich was born in Fredonia, North Dakota, September 20, 1921. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of North Dakota School of Commerce and a Bachelor of Science Degree in law from the University of Minnesota. He graduated from the University of North Dakota Law School at Grand Forks in 1948. Admitted to the North Dakota State Bar, September 7, 1948. He practiced law in Rugby, North Dakota, from 1948 to 1960, served as Pierce County State's Attorney for several years. On December 30, 1960 he was appointed Judge of the Second Judicial District by Governor John E. Davis, to fill the unexpired term of Honorable Asmunder Benson who retired. He served in that capacity until 1979. Judge Friederich died on May 18, 1979.

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John O. Garaas

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1978 - 1988

Judge Garaas was born in Wheelock, North Dakota, September 1, 1922. He attended St. Olaf College and University of North Dakota, graduating with B. A., L. L. B. and J. D. degrees. He was admitted to the Bar in 1949 and practiced at Watford City and Fargo, North Dakota. Served as State's Attorney of McKenzie and Cass Counties and United States Attorney for North Dakota. He served in the United States Army during WWII. In 1978, Governor Arthur A. Link appointed him Judge of the First Judicial District. With the reorganization of the district court system in 1979, he became Judge of the East Central Judicial District, he served in that capacity until 1988. Judge Garaas died on March 4, 1997.

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Adam Gefreh

District Court Judge

Elected: 1963 - 1972

Judge Gefreh was born in Emmons County, North Dakota, December 31, 1918. Attended the rural Marie School District in Emmons County, where he received his elementary education. In 1938 he attended the spring and summer quarter at the Ellendale State Teachers College, after teaching rural school for two years, he attended the Northern State Teachers College of South Dakota, 1940-1941. After four years in the military he attended the Catholic University Law School in Washington, D.C., where he received his law degree in 1949, he was admitted to the Bar in the District of Columbia and North Dakota that same year, later he was admitted to the Bar in the state of Colorado. He practiced law in Linton, North Dakota. In 1951 he was elected as a legislator, serving six years in the House and four years in the Senate. In November 1962 he was elected Judge of the Third Judicial District, term to begin January 1963, he served in that capacity until his resignation in 1972, to become the first Administrative Law Judge for the Office of Hearings and Appeals for the Social Security Administration, in Fargo, North Dakota. After three years in Fargo, he moved to Colorado, where he continued to serve as Administrative Law Judge for the Social Security Administration, until his retirement in 1996. He died November 18, 2009 in Littleton, Colorado, at the age of 90.

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M. Richard Geiger

Surrogate Judge

Elected: 1994 - Present

Born 1951 in Grand Forks, ND. BA, North Dakota State University, 1973; JD, University of North Dakota School of Law, 1979. Member of North Dakota Law Review 1978-79. Admitted to North Dakota Bar in 1979. Private practice in Grafton 1979-87. County judge Walsh, Pembina, and Cavalier Counties 1987-94. Elected Northeast Judicial District judge 1994, reelected in 2000, 2006, 2012. Past president of Northeast District Bar Association 1990-92, Board of Governor's, State Bar Association 1990-92. Member, American Bar Association. Married: wife, Susie. One Child.

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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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James D. Gion

District Court Judge

Appointed: 2015 - Present

Lifelong resident of Hettinger County. Graduate of Regent H.S., 1971. Undergraduate B.A. degree from University of North Dakota, 1976. J.D. degree from UND Law School, 1982. Solo practice in Hettinger County 1982-2015. Hettinger County State's Attorney 1991-2015. Also served as State's Attorney of Bowman and Slope Counties. Appointed Southwest Judicial District judge by Gov. Jack Dalrymple, 2015; elected 2018. Married: wife, Susan, son, Tyrel.