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All District Court Judges

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Gordon O. Hoberg

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1983 - 1991

Born September 13, 1929, at Burnstad, N.D. Graduate of Bismarck High School; Jamestown College, 1956; University of North Dakota School of Law, 1959; National Law College. Veteran of Korean Conflict. Admitted to North Dakota Bar, 1959; practiced law in Wishek and Napoleon, 1959-1983; Logan County State's Attorney for 20 years. Appointed District Judge, August 12, 1983. Elected 1984 and 1990. Retired as District Judge, 1991. Appointed Surrogate Judge, 1992. Member: Court Services Administration Committee, National Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges, North Dakota Bar Association, Stutsman County Bar Association, Lions, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Jamestown College Alumni Board. Married to Shirley Feil. Four children: Grayson, Connie, John, and Eric.

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William F. Hodny

District Court Judge

Elected: 1975 - 1998

Born December 3, 1932, Lankin, North Dakota. U.S. Air Force, 1950-53. Graduate of University of N.D. Law School, 1960. Practiced law in Mandan, 1960-67. Morton County Judge, 1967-74. Elected District Judge: 1974, 1980, 1986, and 1992. Retired as District Judge, March 11, 1998. Appointed Surrogate Judge, 1998. Married: wife, Joann; three children.

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Randall L. Hoffman

District Court Judge

Elected: 1995 - 1999

Born in Kensal, ND, in 1955. Owned and operated a farm from 1973 through 1984. B.S., North Dakota State University, 1985; J.D., University of North Dakota School of Law, 1991. Engaged in private practice from 1991-94 with emphasis on family and criminal law. Elected district judge in November 1994. Resigned effective April 30, 1999.

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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.

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Robert W. Holte

District Court Judge

Elected: 1995 - 2006

Born in 1941, Minot, ND. Graduated from University of North Dakota with B.S. degree 1963; M.S. degree 1966; J.D. degree 1971. Law Clerk, North Dakota Supreme Court 1971-72. Public and private practice 1973-85. Appointed to county court judgeship for Burke, Divide, and Mountrail Counties 1985. Elected to District Court in 1994, and 2000. Retired as district judge Dec. 31, 2006. Married. Four 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.

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James D. Hovey

District Court Judge

Appointed: 2010 - Present

B.A., Russian and Soviet Studies, University of North Dakota, 1987; M.A., Russian Language and Literature, University of Arizona, 1991; J.D., with distinction, University of North Dakota School of Law, 1996. Engaged in private law practice in Grand Forks, 1996-2010. City Attorney for Larimore, N.D., 2001-2010. Instructor, University of North Dakota Center for Legal Studies, 2002. Taught Basic Russian as a graduate student and completed 260 hours of language instruction at Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia. Appointed district judge 2010 by Governor John Hoeven. Elected in 2014, 2016.

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Maurice R. Hunke

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1981 - 2000

Born in 1939, Richardton, ND. Graduate: Taylor High School; BA, Dickinson State College; JD, University of North Dakota School of law. Two years active duty, U. S. Army. Admitted to Bar 1963. Law clerk to the Honorable Charles J. Vogel, U. S. Judge of Court of Appeals; private practice in Dickinson; Dickinson City Attorney 1973-81. Appointed District Judge 1981. Elected 1982, 1988, 1994. Member Association of Trial Lawyers of America, American Judicature Society. Married: Diana Lamprecht; two daughters: Carolyn and Linda. Left office as District Judge December 31, 2000. Surrogate Judge March 1, 2001-December 31, 2001. Judge Hunke died May 21, 2016.

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Michael P. Hurly

District Court Judge

Appointed: 2017 - Present

Bachelor's degree in philosophy from North Dakota State University, 2000. Law degree from the University of North Dakota School of Law, 2005. Served as a law clerk for the 16th Montana Judicial District, 2005-2006. Private legal practice in Devils Lake, 2007-2017. Appointed District Judge of the Northeast Judicial District effective Aug. 1, 2017, by Gov. Doug Burgum.

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William H. Hutchinson

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1929 - 1956

Judge Hutchinson was born in Alexandria, Minnesota, July 24, 1882. He came to North Dakota in 1886 and attended the rural school of LaMoure County. He attended Valley City State Teachers College in 1903, and graduated with a law degree from the University of North Dakota in 1907. He served as LaMoure City Attorney, and State's Attorney of LaMoure County. He was appointed Judge of the Third Judicial District, by Governor George F. Schafer in 1929, he served in that capacity until his retirement in 1956. Judge Hutchinson died on May 3, 1969.

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Roy A. Ilvedson

District Court Judge

Elected: 1948 - 1980

Judge Ilvedson was born in Minot, North Dakota, February 17, 1910. Graduated from the Minot High School, attended Minot State University and studied law with Attorney Ed Sinkler for four years. He then passed the North Dakota bar exam in 1934 and opened his own law office. He later served as State's Attorney of Ward County and was also a partner in the Ilvedson, Pringle & Herigstad Law Firm. He also served as president of the North Dakota Bar Association. He served as Judge of the Fifth Judicial District from 1948 until 1952. In 1962 he was elected Judge of the Fifth Judicial District, term to begin January 1963. With the reorganization of the district court system in 1979, he became Judge of the Northwest Judicial District, he served in that capacity until his retirement in 1980. Judge Ilvedson died January 29, 1993.

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John C. Irby

Presiding Judge

Appointed: 2002 - Present

Born July 1, 1956, Warroad, Minn. Graduate: Falls Senior High School, International Falls, Minn.; Moorhead State University, B.A.; University of Wyoming, J.D. Practiced law with Burgum and Irby, P.C., Casselton, N.D., 1982-2002. Legal intern for Legal Services for Southeastern Wyoming, Inc., 1980. Served as Casselton city prosecutor and assistant city attorney 1982-2002. Appointed District Judge in 2002 by Governor John Hoeven. Elected 2006, 2012, 2018. Married: Janice Irby. Two children: Joseph and Lindsey.

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William A. Jacobsen

District Court Judge

Elected: 1943 - 1952

Judge Jacobsen was born in Burlington Township, Ward County, North Dakota, August 31, 1901. He graduated from Minot High School in 1920 and the University of North Dakota in 1924. He received his law degree from the University of North Dakota School of Law in 1926, and moved to Watford City to open his law practice. He served as McKenzie County State's Attorney during the 1930's and 1940's, he was also City Attorney and Magistrate of Watford City. Served as Judge of the Fifth Judicial District, from 1943 to 1948, before joining the United States Department of State as a War Crimes Judge in Germany. He held that position until 1952 when he returned to Watford City. Judge Jacobsen died on December 31, 1990.

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Paul W. Jacobson

District Court Judge

Appointed: 2013 - Present

Born September 1948 in Valley City. Graduated Fargo North H.S., 1966. North Dakota State University, B.A., History and Economics, 1970. University of Minnesota Law School, J.D., 1973. Served in U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps 1974-1979. Private legal practice, Williston, 1979-1993. Assistant Disciplinary Counsel, 1993-1999. Disciplinary Counsel, 1999-2013. Appointed District Judge in 2013, elected 2016.

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Lawrence E. Jahnke

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1989 - 2015

Born in 1942, Minneapolis, MN. Undergrad: UND - June 1964 (B.S.B.A.). J.D. degree University of North Dakota 1966. Active duty as Judge Advocate, United States Air Force 1966-86. Private practice 1986-89. Appointed District Judge May 1989 by Governor George A. Sinner. Elected District Judge in 1990, 1996, 2002, 2008, and 2014. Admitted to North Dakota, Montana, and Federal District Court for North Dakota, United States Supreme Court, and United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. Married. Wife, Shirley. Three children. Retired as district judge in March 2015.

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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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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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Jon J. Jensen

District Court Judge/Chief Justice

Appointed: 2017 - Present

Born in Grand Forks, N.D. Graduated from Minnesota State University Mankato in 1987 and the University of North Dakota School of Law in 1990. In private legal practice in Grand Forks from 1991-2013. Appointed District Judge by Governor Jack Dalrymple in 2013, elected 2016. Effective August 15, 2017, he was appointed by Governor Doug Burgum to the North Dakota Supreme Court to fill the vacancy created by Justice Carol Ronning Kapsner's retirement.  Elected Chief Justice, effective January 1, 2020.

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Benjamen J. Johnson

District Court Judge

Appointed: 2017 - Present

Born in Williston. Graduate, University of Mary, 2004. J.D. degree from University of North Dakota School of Law, 2008. In private legal practice, Tioga, 2008-2017. Northwest Judicial District public defense contractor 2012-2017. Former assistant state's attorney and state's attorney for Burke County and prosecutor for the Three Affiliated Tribes. Served as city attorney for Tioga, Ross, Wildrose, Flaxton, Portal and Bowbells. Appointed District Judge in 2017.

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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.