Section 1. Authority and Policy.
Pursuant to the authority of the Supreme Court in Section 3 of Article VI, North Dakota Constitution, and Section 27-05-08, NDCC, it is the policy of the North Dakota Judicial System to provide procedures for the establishment of resident district court judgeship chambers within the judicial districts of North Dakota.
The Supreme Court will exercise its authority to designate resident district court judgeship chambers for each district court judge pursuant to the criteria and procedures of these Rules.
Section 2. Petition.
1. Any person, or the Supreme Court on its own motion through the State Court Administrator, interested in the designation or redesignation of a resident district court judgeship chamber of a judicial district by the Supreme Court may file with the Clerk of the Supreme Court a petition to designate or change the designation of a resident district court judgeship chamber.
2. The petition shall state the petitioner's grounds for the change regarding designation of a chamber and should be accompanied by supporting documentation addressing the criteria in Section 4.
3. The petitioner shall give notice of the filing of the petition to the presiding judge of the judicial district, the mayor of any city and the chair of the county commission of any county referred to in the petition and shall give public notice by publication of the notice of filing once in a newspaper published in each of the affected counties.
4. Any affected city or county may appear as a respondent.
5. The Supreme Court, in its discretion, may refer the petition to a hearing officer or a hearing panel of three persons, or grant the petitioner an opportunity for written comment or oral hearing directly to the Supreme Court. Whenever the Supreme Court determines that a petition is improper as to form or is frivolous, the Supreme Court may make an immediate decision on the petition.
6. If the opportunity for written comment or oral hearing is granted directly to the Supreme Court, the time, place, and conditions for an oral hearing will be fixed or conditions for written comment will be set. Notice of the hearing shall be given to petitioners, the presiding judge of the judicial district, and to those persons identified in Section 2(3). Publication of the notice of hearing shall be given once in a newspaper published in each of the affected counties.
Section 3. Hearings Before a Hearing Officer or Hearing Panel.
1. The hearing officer or hearing panel shall hold a hearing in the existing chambers within a reasonable period of time. The hearing shall be open to the public. Public notice of the hearing shall be given once in a newspaper published in each of the affected counties.
2. The hearing officer or hearing panel will consider all evidence and information submitted in the proceeding. The hearing officer or hearing panel will visit the court facilities in all affected locations.
3. The hearing officer or hearing panel shall consider the most recent "Report on the Status of Court Facilities of the Judicial District" as prepared by the court administrator of the judicial district or, in a judicial district which does not have a court administrator, another person designated by the presiding judge of the judicial district. The Report shall address the factors in Section 4.
4. The report of a hearing panel will include any written minority position of hearing panel members.
5. The hearing officer or hearing panel shall keep an audio or written transcript record of all proceedings. The hearing officer or hearing panel shall make written findings of fact, conclusions, and recommendations with respect to the proceeding. The findings of fact, conclusions, and recommendations of the hearing officer or hearing panel shall be entered in the record and notice thereof shall be mailed to the parties.
6. The hearing officer or hearing panel, within 30 days after the conclusion of its hearing, shall submit to the Clerk of the Supreme Court a report containing its findings of fact, conclusions, and recommendations, together with the audio or written record of the proceedings for review by the Supreme Court.
Section 4. Criteria for Consideration.
1. The hearing officer or hearing panel, and the Supreme Court, will consider evidence regarding the following factors concerning the designation or change in designation of a chamber:
a. Annual district court combined civil, criminal and formal juvenile caseload for the most recent three-year period and any discernible caseload trends or patterns;
b. Number and location of attorneys;
c. Community facilities (restaurants, motels, etc.);
d. Convenience of travel access from surrounding communities (highway, bus, train, air, and parcel services, etc.);
e. Compliance with or commitment to court facility standards;
(1) size of available space for judges and court personnel;
(2) environmental controls;
(3) quality of court facilities;
(4) law library space;
f. Proximity to detention facilities for adults and juveniles;
g. Cooperative court service arrangements with the county courts;
h. Proximity to a Human Service Center of the Department of Human Services;
i. Impact of any change of chamber on travel time for judges, court personnel, attorneys, and litigants;
j. Population distribution in the judicial district or de facto subdistrict;
k. Impact on affected judicial system employees (juvenile, transcript preparation, and clerks of district court); and
1. Recommendation of the presiding judge of the judicial district, after consultation with the judges of the judicial district.
2. Economic impacts of the change of chamber for the affected cities will not be considered a significant factor.
Section 5. Hearing Before the Supreme Court.
1. The Supreme Court, in its discretion, may grant an oral hearing or an opportunity for further written comment or filing of briefs concerning the report of the hearing officer or hearing panel.The Supreme Court will fix the time and place for hearing or the conditions for comment or briefs.
2. The petitioner for a designation or change of designation of a chamber shall have the burden of persuasion.
Section 6. Decision by Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court shall review the record of the proceedings and shall file a written order as it finds just and proper.
Section 7. Citations.
The North Dakota Rules Regarding Resident District Court Judgeship Chambers of Judicial Districts may be cited as NDRDCJC.
Section 8. Effective Date.
The effective date of this Rule is September 1, 1990.
Dated this day 9th 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
Luella Dunn, Clerk
North Dakota Supreme Court
SOURCE: Supreme Court No. 900068; January 12, 1990, minutes of the Court Services Administration Committee.
[Adopted effective September 1, 1990.]