Section 1. Authority.
Under N.D. Const. Art. VI, § 3, and consistent with N.D.C.C. §§ 27-01-01 and 27-02-05.1, the supreme court this rule relating to minimum standards for municipal courts in North Dakota (N.D.C.C. ch. 40-18, NDCC).
Section 2. Statement of Policy.
It is the policy of the North Dakota judicial system to provide minimum standards and greater uniformity in municipal court services in North Dakota in order to protect the independence of municipal court judges in their decisions in individual cases.
Section 3. Mandatory Minimum Standards.
(a) Each municipality in which a municipal court is established must ensure the court has access to current versions of the following:(1) A complete set of properly legislated municipal ordinances.(2) The North Dakota Code of Judicial Conduct.(3) The North Dakota Rules of Criminal Procedure.(4) The North Dakota Municipal Court Benchbook.(5) North Dakota Century Code Chapter 39-08, Chapter 40-18, and Title 12.1.
(b) Each municipality mustprovide the municipal court judge with access to a formal courtroom or a space clearly designated as a courtroom. Each courtroom must be furnished with at least the following:(1) One judge's desk.(2) One judge's chair.(3) One witness chair.(4) One full-size, free standing American flag.(5) One full-size, free standing North Dakota flag.(6) One gavel.(7) Table space and three chairs for defendant.(8) Table space and three chairs for prosecutor.(9) Adequate chairs for the public.(10) Technology resources sufficient to meet the needs of the court.
Each courtroom or designated space must have a separation between the public and court participants, accomplished by chair placement or a railing.
Section 4. Recommended Minimum Standards.
The following minimum standards are strongly recommended for all municipal courts:
(a) Judge Compensation. Each municipality should provide judicial compensation which is not less than the following standards:
City by Population Size Minimum
Cities Over 10,000 Population $17,172 $1,431 Cities Between 5,000 and 10,000 Population $10,308 $859 Cities Between 3,000 and 5,000 Population $4,116 $343 Cities Between 1,500 and 3,000 Population $3,096 $258 Cities Below 1,500 Population $2,064 $172
(b) Support Clerk Services. Each municipality should provide the municipal court judge in a city over 10,000 population with the assistance of one full-time, separately compensated, clerk of municipal court.
(c) Prosecution Services. Each municipality should provide for prosecution of each contested case by a city attorney in municipal court.
(d) Bail Bond Procedure. Each municipal court judge should prepare a written bail schedule and procedure which must be publicly posted in the courtroom and in the police department.
(e) Judicial Robe. If requested by the municipal court judge, each municipality should furnish the municipal court judge with a judicial robe which is suitable to identify and enhance the dignity of court proceedings.
(f) Standardized Forms and Record Keeping. Each municipality should provide the municipal court judge with court forms and record keeping equipment and supplies as identified by the state court administrator.
(g) Municipal Court Budgets. Each municipality should provide the municipal court judge with a separate municipal court budget. The municipal court budget should include appropriate funds for the following:(1) Judge compensation.(2) Clerk compensation, if applicable.(3) Supplies.(4) Equipment.(5) Courtroom furnishings.(6) Travel expenses.(7) Professional memberships and subscriptions.(8) Telephone expenses.
Section 5. Continuing Education of Municipal Court Judges.
Each municipality must provide reimbursement of travel and lodging expenses for municipal court judges and alternate municipal court judges to attend training programs provided by the judicial branch education commission in accordance with N.D. Sup. Ct. Admin. R. 36 and N.D.C.C.§40-18-22.
Section 6. Certification of Compliance.
Before January 1 of each year, the judge of each municipal court must certify to the state court administrator that the municipal court meets the minimum standards in section 3 and has made its best efforts, in cooperation with city government, to meet the minimum standards in section 4. A municipal judge should not hold court until compliance with this certification requirement has been met.
Rule 30 was adopted, effective January 1, 1991; amended effective September 1, 2014; August 11, 2021.
SOURCES: Supreme Court No. 900157; March 16, 1990; Judicial Planning Committee minutes of December 13, 2013; and Judiciary Standards Committee minutes of March 21, 2014.