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Forum Communications Co., Published June 01 2012

Public input sought on Oil Patch justice system

BISMARCK – A task force appointed by the State Bar Association is collecting information on the impact of oil development on the state’s justice system.

The task force will hold four public meetings:

• Bismarck, 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Burleigh County Courthouse

• Dickinson, 4 to 6 p.m. June 19, Stark County Courthouse

• Williston, 4 to 6 p.m. June 26, Williams County Courthouse

• Minot, 4 to 6 p.m. June 27, Ward County Courthouse

Kristi Pettit Venhuizan of Grand Forks, president of the Bar Association, said she appointed the task force because of concerns raised by citizens and attorneys that the justice system is being overwhelmed by the rapid development.

“We have heard anecdotal stories of unbelievably long delays in getting cases filed and getting hearing or trial dates,” Venhuizan said. “This is not good for either citizens or businesses.”

Bismarck attorney Jack McDonald is chairman of the task force.

Written testimony will be accepted at any of the meetings or may be sent to the State Bar Association of North Dakota, Box 2136, Bismarck, ND 58502-2136.