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Associated Press, Published June 06 2013

New judgeship to be chambered in Watford City

WATFORD CITY, N.D. — The second of two new judgeships in North Dakota's Northwest Judicial District will be based in Watford City, the state Supreme Court has decided.

The Legislature this year approved the new judgeships to help with an increasing caseload in the booming western North Dakota oil patch. Supreme Court justices earlier decided to base one of the new judgeships in Williston.

Williston, Watford City and Stanley were considered for the second judgeship. Williston was ruled out because the Williams County Courthouse does not have enough space.

Court filings increased 37 percent in the district between 2010 and 2012, with McKenzie County seeing the largest percentage increase at 135 percent, according to the Supreme Court decision. Watford City is the seat of McKenzie County.

The two new judgeships will boost the total in the district to nine — one in Watford City, three in Williston and five in Minot.

"The Northwest Judicial District currently has a shortage of judicial resources," the Supreme Court decision said. "Based upon the caseload trends, even with (the two new judges), the district will likely continue to show a shortage."

The Legislature also created a new judgeship in the East Central Judicial District. Gov. Jack Dalrymple has until July 31 to appoint all of the new judges.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.