SECTION 1. AUTHORITY AND PURPOSE
Pursuant to its administrative authority in Section 3 of Article VI of the North Dakota Constitution, the North Dakota Supreme Court promulgates this Administrative Rule to implement the continuing education requirements for municipal court judges established by Section 40-18-22, NDCC.
SECTION 2. GOAL AND POLICY STATEMENT
a) The goal of continuing judicial education for municipal court judges is to enhance the competence and effectiveness of municipal court judges and to promote a consistent standard of justice in all municipal courts in the state.
b) To accomplish this goal it is the policy of the Supreme Court to sponsor continuing judicial education programs which assist municipal court judges in:
1) understanding and carrying out their judicial and administrative responsibilities;
2) mastering those areas of substantive and procedural law needed in municipal court;
3) developing appropriate judicial skills for adjudicating cases in municipal court; and
4) adhering to the ethical standards established by the Rules of Judicial Conduct.
c) Within available funds the Supreme Court will attempt to sponsor a sufficient number of educational sessions to allow each municipal court judge to meet the mandatory continuing education requirements of Section 40-18-22, NDCC.
SECTION 3. APPLICATION
This Rule applies to all municipal court judges in North Dakota. It establishes different educational standards for nonattorney municipal court judges, municipal court judges who are licensed attorneys and must comply with continuing legal education rules, and municipal court judges who are nonlicensed attorneys. These educational standards recognize the differing educational levels and needs of each category of judges.
SECTION 4. NEW JUDGE ORIENTATION
a) Each new municipal court judge and new alternate judge who is not a licensed attorney must complete an orientation program for municipal court judges established by the Supreme Court.The new municipal court judge or new alternate judge should complete this orientation program within the first three months of taking office. Upon completion of the program the new municipal court judge or alternate judge will be credited with one educational session for the calendar year in which the program is completed.
b) Each new municipal court judge and new alternate judge should attend the Municipal Judges Institute within three years of taking office unless excused by the Supreme Court or its designated agent.
SECTION 5. CONTINUING JUDICIAL EDUCATION CREDITS
a) To comply with Section 40-18-22, NDCC, an educational session must contain a minimum of six hours of instruction before continuing judicial education credit will be awarded. The orientation program in Section 4(a) of this Rule is exempt from this requirement.
b) A nonattorney municipal court judge or alternate judge must attend two educational sessions per calendar year if such sessions are sponsored by the Supreme Court.
c) A municipal court judge or alternate judge who is a licensed attorney must attend one educational session per calendar year if such sessions are sponsored by the Supreme Court.
d) A municipal court judge or alternate judge who is a nonlicensed attorney must attend two educational sessions per calendar year if such sessions are sponsored by the Supreme Court.
e) A municipal court judge or alternate judge may receive continuing judicial education credits for educational programs sponsored by other entities when approved by the Supreme Court or its designated agent. Any judge wishing to receive credit for an educational session not sponsored by the Supreme Court should file a written request for approval with the State Court Administrator. The request should:
1) identify the sponsor of the program;
2) give the number of instructional hours for the program or the portions for which educational credit is sought;
3) identify the instructors and their qualifications;
4) include a course outline of the program; and
5) specify the relevance of the program's content to the judge's municipal court duties and responsibilities.
SECTION 6. COMPLIANCE
a) The Supreme Court or its designated agent may excuse any municipal court judge or alternate judge from fulfilling the continuing educational requirements of Section 40-18-22, NDCC, for good cause shown. Any judge seeking such an excuse must file a written request for excusal with the State Court Administrator. This request should specify the reasons the judge is unable to attend the requisite number of educational sessions.
b) By December 31 of each year the State Court Administrator shall send the Judicial Conduct Commission a list of all municipal court judges or alternate judges who have failed to comply with Section 40-18-22, NDCC, and this Rule. The Judicial Conduct Commission shall treat this list as a complaint against the judges identified by the list. It will take such disciplinary or remedial action as it deems appropriate.
SECTION 7. EFFECTIVE DATE
The effective date of this Rule is January 1, 1991.
Dated this 10th day of May, 1990.
Ralph J. Erickstad, Chief Justice
Gerald W. VandeWalle, Justice
H.F. Gierke III, Justice
Herbert L. Meschke, Justice
Beryl J. Levine, Justice
SOURCE: Supreme Court No. 900132; February 1, 1990, minutes of the Municipal Court Videotape and Benchbook Subcommittee of the Judicial Training Committee of the North Dakota Judicial Conference.