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All District Court Judges

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Daniel D. Narum

Presiding Judge

Appointed: 2006 - Present

Judge Narum was appointed as District Court Judge by Governor John Hoeven in 2006 for the Southeast Judicial District #5 located in Ellendale, ND.  He was elected in 2008, and re-elected in 2010 and 2016.

Born in 1969; Judge Narum served in the United State Navy from 1987 - 1990. He received his Bachelor's of Science degree in Political Science from North Dakota State University in 1996. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of North Dakota School of Law in 1999, and was admitted to the N.D. Bar on September 24, 1999. Judge Narum worked in private legal practice from 1999 until his judgeship in 2006, and was the LaMoure County State's Attorney from 2001-2006.

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Chas Neff, Jr.

District Court Judge

Appointed: 2024 - Present

Judge Neff was appointed as District Court Judge by Governor Doug Burgum in 2022 for the Northwest Judicial District #3 located in Williston, ND.  

Born in in Brainerd, MN in 1980; Judge Neff graduated from Shanley High School and Cardinal Muench Seminary in 1999.  He attended college at Mount St. Mary's College; and finished at North Dakota State University in 2003.  He obtained his Bachelor's of Science in Mass Communications.  He received his Juris Doctor from the Unversity of St. Thomas School of Law in Minnesota, and was admitted to the N.D. Bar on September 15, 2008.

Judge Neff was the Expert Intern for the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy to the United Nations. He was the Reference Attorney and Consultant at Thomson Reuters from 2007-2014. Judge Neff was the Assistant State’s Attorney in McKenzie County from 2014-2017, and became McKenzie County State’s Attorney from 2017-2018. He was a Law Clerk/Staff Attorney for the Northwest Judicial District from 2019 until his judgeship in 2023. 

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David W. Nelson

District Court Judge/Surrogate Judge

Elected: 1994 - Present

Born in April 1951, Williston, North Dakota. Attended UND-Williston 1971; B.A. (Social work) UND 1973. Attended Wartburg Theological Seminary 1974; J.D., University of North Dakota School of Law 1981. Private practice 1981-94. Municipal Judge 1984-94. Elected District Judge in 1994, 1996, 2002, 2008 and 2014. Married: wife, Sherri. Two sons: Matt and Steve. Retired as District Judge Dec. 31, 2016.

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Harold B. Nelson

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1949 - 1954

Judge Nelson was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, February 10, 1885. He attended a business college in St. Paul Minnesota, in 1905 he became instructor of the business college in Minot, North Dakota. In 1909 he became court reporter for Judge A. G. Burr of Rugby, while he was court reporter he studied law by clerkship under Judge Burr, and was admitted to the North Dakota State Bar in 1914. In 1916 he opened his law office in Rugby, North Dakota, he continued in private practice until 1949, when he was appointed Judge of the Second Judicial District, by Governor Fred G. Aandahl. After serving five years on the bench he resigned on April 30, 1954 to re-enter private practice. Judge Nelson died on December 21, 1960.

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Pamela A. Nesvig

District Court Judge

Appointed: 2019 - Present

Judge Nesvig was appointed as District Court Judge by Governor Doug Burgum in 2019 for the South Central Judicial District #10 located in Mandan, ND.  

Born in Bismarck in 1978; Judge Nesvig received her Bachelor's of Science from the University of North Dakota in 2001. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of North Dakota School of Law in 2005, and and was admitted to the N.D. Bar on October 3, 2005. 

Judge Nesvig served on the North Dakota Safety Council from 2001 to 2002. She was a law clerk at Pearson, Christensen, Cahill & Clapp from 2003 to 2005 and became an Associate Attorney from 2005 to 2006.  Judge Nesvig was a Special Assistant State’s Attorney in the Bismarck Regional Child Support Enforcement Unit in 2006 and was the Assistant State’s Attorney from 2007 to 2010. Judge Nesvig became the Assistant Burleigh County State’s Attorney from 2010 to 2015 and was a Judicial Referee and Magistrate for South Central Judicial District from 2015 until her judgeship in 2019. 

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William A. Neumann

Justice of the Supreme Court/Surrogate Judge

Elected: 1993 - 2005

Justice William A. "Bill" Neumann was born February 11, 1944, in Minot, North Dakota. He grew up in Bowbells and in Crosby, North Dakota, graduating from Crosby High School in 1961 and from the University of North Dakota in 1965. He graduated from Stanford Law School in 1968 and returned to North Dakota, going into private practice at Williston and then Bottineau. In October 1979, he was appointed to the District Court and was elected in 1980 and reelected in 1984 and 1990. From 1981 through 1987, Neumann served on the North Dakota Judicial Conduct Commission. He was the first trial judge to chair the North Dakota Judicial Conference, from 1987 to 1989. In November 1992, he was elected to a ten-year term on the North Dakota Supreme Court, beginning January 1, 1993. Reelected in 2002. Justice Neumann has been a member of the Board of Directors of American Judicature Society since 1998. He and his wife Jackie have two children. Justice Neumann served 12 years and 2 1/2 months before resigning from the Court on March 14, 2005. After leaving the Court, he served as Executive Director of the State Bar Association of North Dakota until 2013. He is currently a Surrogate Judge and resides in Bismarck.

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Lindsey Nieuwsma

District Court Judge

Appointed: 2021 - Present

Judge Nieuwsma was appointed as District Court Judge by Governor Doug Burgum in 2021 for the South Central Judicial District #9 located in Mandan, ND.  

Born in 1985 in Belfield, ND, she was raised on a ranch near Grassy Butte, ND. Judge Nieuwsma received her Bachelor's of Science degree in Criminal Justice from North Dakota State University in 2006. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Minnesota School of Law in 2010 and was admitted to the N.D. Bar on March 22, 2011. She worked in private legal practice in Bismarck, ND from 2010 to 2015. Judge Nieuwsma was the staff attorney for the ND State Court Administrator Office from 2015 to 2018 and was the South Central Judicial District Judicial Referee and Magistrate from 2018 until her judgeship in 2021. 

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Samuel L. Nuchols

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1911 - 1915

Judge Nuchols was born in Maryville, Tennessee on March 1, 1871. He attended College and Law School at the University in Tennessee, where he also was admitted to the Bar and practiced law until 1902, when he moved to Mandan, North Dakota. He was City Attorney of Mandan for three years. In 1911 he was appointed Judge of the Twelfth Judicial District, by Governor John Burke, serving until his resignation in 1915. He then entered private practice in Mandan, North Dakota. In 1919 President Wilson appointed him Assistant United States Attorney, with headquarters at Fargo, North Dakota, which position he held until 1921, when he again entered private practice at Bismarck, North Dakota. Judge Nuchols died January 1, 1928.

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James H. O'Keefe

District Court Judge

Elected: 1971 - 1994

Born May 22, 1930, at Fargo, N.D. Graduate of Grand Forks Catholic Schools; Ph.B. and J.D. University of North Dakota 1956. Veteran Korean Conflict. Law Clerk for Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals; Editor, North Dakota Law Review; Walsh County State's Attorney; Municipal Judge at Grafton; Past President, State's Attorneys Association and District Judges. Elected District Judge in 1970. Reelected 1976, 1982, and 1988. Retired 1994. Surrogate Judge 1995-2002. Married to Leatrice. Six children. Died January 17, 2003.

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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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Lonnie Olson

District Court Judge

Elected: 2016 - Present

Judge Olson was elected as District Court Judge in 2016 for the Northeast Judicial District #1 located in Devils Lake, ND.  

Born in 1962; Judge Olson is a native of Devils Lake.  He graduated from Devils Lake Central High School in 1980.  He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Dakota in1984. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of North Dakota School of Law in 1987, and was admitted to the N.D. Bar on October 6, 1987.

Judge Olson worked in private legal practice from 1987 to 1989. He served as a Special Assistant States Attorney for the Lake Region Child Support Enforcement Unit in 1990 and was elected as the Ramsey County States Attorney iin 1990 until his judgeship in 2016. 

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Thomas R. Olson

District Court Judge

Appointed: 2014 - 2022

Augsburg College, B.A. 1976. Studied at Luther Theological Seminary 1975-1976. William Mitchell College of Law, J.D. 1981. Served in Clay County, Minn., Attorney's Office from 1983-1985. Private legal practice in Fargo focusing on civil litigation and mediation, 1985-2014. Appointed District Judge by Gov. Jack Dalrymple 2014, elected 2016.

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Leo J. Palda

District Court Judge

Elected: 1903 - 1904

Judge Palda was born March 4, 1873, in Cleveland, Ohio. He graduated from the Cedar Rapids, Iowa High School. In 1893 he graduated from the University of Michigan Law Department. He moved to Kenmare, North Dakota in 1899 where he began practicing law, later he moved to Minot, North Dakota where he continued practicing law. He served as Judge of the Eighth Judicial District from 1903 to 1904. After his judgeship he continued practicing law in Minot, North Dakota, until his death on November 6, 1946.

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Charles A. Pollock

District Court Judge

Elected: 1897 - 1916

Judge Pollock was born in Elizabethtown, Essex County, New York, September 27, 1853. He attended Cornell College at Mt. Vernon, Iowa, from where he graduated in 1878 with a B. A. degree. In 1881 he graduated from the Law Department of the University of Iowa, he then opened a law office in Fargo, North Dakota. His Alma Mater conferred upon him the Master of Arts degree in 1881, and L. L. D. degree in 1908. He lectured in the Law Department of the University of North Dakota in 1900. In 1885 he was elected District Attorney of Cass County, then Dakota Territory, which position he occupied until 1889. He was president of the North Dakota Bar Association in 1921. He served as Judge of the Third Judicial District from 1897 until 1916. Judge Pollock died on July 9, 1928.

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John C. Pollock

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1946 - 1958

Judge Pollock was born in Casselton, Dakota Territory, on December 29, 1888. Educated in the Casselton and Fargo, North Dakota, public schools. For professional reasons the family moved to Fargo in 1897, where he received his B.A. degree from the Fargo College, in 1909. He graduated from the Harvard Law School in 1912, then returned to Fargo where he entered in the practice of law with his father and brother in the Pollock & Pollock Firm. He became State's Attorney in 1927, serving two terms, was appointed Juvenile Commissioner, First Judicial District February 1, 1931, served until he was appointed Judge of the First Judicial District, by Governor Fred G. Aandahl, on October 23, 1946, served in that capacity until his death on August 9, 1958.

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Albert G. Porter

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1948 - 1963

Judge Porter was born in Willmar, Minnesota on July 13, 1889. Educated in the local public schools, received a L. L. B. degree from the University of Minnesota in 1913. Admitted to the Bar in the State of Washington in 1915 and commenced the practice of law in partnership with his father, Samuel Porter, at Republic, Washington. He returned to the State of Minnesota and for eighteen months he was employed in the Legal Department of the Soo Line Railroad in Minneapolis. In 1919 he moved to Edgeley, North Dakota, and engaged in private practice. He moved to LaMoure in 1938 and served several terms as State's Attorney of LaMoure County. In 1948 he was appointed Judge of the Third Judicial District by Governor Fred G. Aandahl, he resigned from the bench effective January, 1963. Judge Porter died on November 4, 1966.

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Thomas H. Pugh

District Court Judge

Elected: 1921 - 1933

Judge Pugh was born on a farm near Petersboro, Ontario, Canada, July 6, 1868. He received his primary education in the country school, and went to the Petersboro High School. In 1887 he went to Detroit, Michigan and studied law in the office of an attorney, in 1891 he was admitted to the Michigan State Bar. In 1897 he came to Larimore, North Dakota, to practice law, in 1910 he moved to Dickinson, North Dakota, where he practiced law until 1920, when he was elected Judge of the Sixth Judicial District. He served in that capacity until his death on January 14, 1933.

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Frank L. Racek

Surrogate 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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Roy K. Redetzke

District Court Judge

Appointed: 1958 - 1978

Judge Redetzke was born in Alice, North Dakota, January 14, 1905. Attended grade and high school in Fargo, North Dakota. Graduated from the University of North Dakota Law School in 1927. He practiced law in Fargo for thirty-one years; Assistant State's Attorney of Cass County for sixteen years; Special Assistant Attorney United States Department of Justice, Lands Division, for three and one-half years. On October 1, 1958 he was appointed Judge of the First Judicial District, by Governor John E. Davis, he served in that capacity until 1978. Judge Redetzke died on May 11, 1982.

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David E. Reich

District Court Judge

Appointed: 2006 - Present

Judge Reich was appointed as District Court Judge by Governor John Hoeven in 2006 for the South Central Judicial District #1 located in Bismarck, ND. He was elected in 2008, and re-elected in 2014.  

Born in 1956; Judge Reich is a native of Jamestown, ND. He received his Bachelor's of Administration from the University of North Dakota in 1979. He attended the University of North Dakota School of Law receiving his Juris Doctor in 1982 and was admitted to the N.D. Bar on October 11, 1982.  He was a law clerk at the North Dakota Supreme Court from 1982-1983. Judge Reich worked in private legal practice in Bismarck, ND, from 1983 until his judgeship in 2006.