Obsolete Date: 7/16/1998
A. Appointment. The board consists of ten members: seven lawyer members, one from each judicial district of North Dakota, and three public members from the state at large. Board members each serve for a term of three years and until a successor is appointed and qualifies. Terms must be staggered so that no more than three lawyer members and one public member are appointed for full three-year terms in any one year. Except when filling an unexpired term, a member may not serve for more than two consecutive three-year terms. Past members may serve on hearing bodies. Vacancies must be filled by appointment by the court.
B. Nominations. Each lawyer member is appointed by the court from a list of three practicing lawyers submitted by the association's governing board. Each public member is appointed by the court from a list of three nominees submitted by a committee consisting of the president of the association, the attorney general, and the chair of the judicial conference.
C. Election of Officers. At the first meeting of the board in each calendar year, the members of the board shall elect a chair and vice-chair. The chair, and in the chair's absence the vice-chair, performs the duties normally associated with that office and presides over all meetings of the full board.
D. Secretary. The clerk of the court is the ex officio secretary of the board. The secretary shall maintain permanent records of disability and discipline matters, subject to the expunction requirements of these rules, and compile statistics to aid in the administration of the system, including a single log of all complaints received, investigative files, statistical summaries of docket processing and case dispositions, transcripts of all proceedings (or the reporter's notes if not transcribed), and other records as the board or the court requires to be maintained. Counsel appointed under these rules shall cooperate with the secretary, and assist the secretary in the performance of the obligations of that office. The secretary may, with the board's approval, delegate recordkeeping obligations to counsel to avoid duplication and promote efficiency.
E. Quorum. Six members are a quorum. The board may act only with the concurrence of a majority of the entire board except as to administrative matters, which only require a simple majority of a quorum.
F. Compensation. Members receive no compensation for their services, but are reimbursed for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties. The salaries of counsel and staff, their expenses, administrative costs, and the expenses of the members of the board and of hearing bodies are paid by the board out of funds appropriated, deposited, or dedicated for its purposes.
G. Abstention. A board member shall refrain from taking part in any proceedings in which a judge, similarly situated, would be required to abstain.
H. Powers and Duties. The board shall:
(1) Upon receiving an appeal of a district inquiry committee disposition, approve, modify or disapprove the disposition, or remand to the district inquiry committee for further proceedings;
(2) Conduct hearings, either en banc or by referral to a hearing body, on formal charges of misconduct, petitions for reinstatement, and petitions for transfer to and from disability inactive or incapacitated status, and submit findings and recommendations together with the record of the hearing to the court;
(3) Review the findings and recommendations of each hearing body, together with the record of the proceedings before the hearing body. Upon completion of its review the board may adopt or modify the hearing body's findings and recommendations and forward those, together with the record of the proceedings before the hearing body, to the court; or the board may remand the matter to the hearing body with directions for further proceedings;
(4) Act on each formal disciplinary proceeding, either by dismissing the petition, issuing a reprimand, imposing probation, or, if appropriate, recommending imposition of other sanctions;
(5) Appoint counsel to perform investigative and prosecutorial functions and authorize counsel to appoint assistants and staff necessary to perform those functions. The board may appoint substitute temporary counsel whenever counsel is disqualified or as the board otherwise deems appropriate;
(6) Appoint and supervise any necessary staff, separate from the investigative and prosecutorial staff, to assist the board in its adjudicative functions;
(7) Inform the public about the existence and operation of the disability and disciplinary system, the disposition of each matter in which public discipline has been imposed, when a lawyer has been transferred to or from disability inactive or incapacitated status, or when a lawyer has been reinstated or readmitted;
(8) Delegate, in its discretion, to the chair or vice-chair power to act for the board on administrative and procedural matters;
(9) Annually review the operation of the disability and disciplinary system with the court, counsel, and district inquiry committees; and
(10) Propose amendments to these rules for adoption by the court.