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James MacPherson, Associated Press, Published July 26 2013

Anderson appointed East Central District judge

BISMARCK — Gov. Jack Dalrymple on Friday appointed retired assistant U.S. Attorney Norman Anderson to the last of three judgeships approved by the Legislature this year to keep pace with North Dakota's increased population and caseloads brought on by rapid oil development.

Anderson will fill the newly created judgeship in the East Central Judicial District, which serves Cass, Steele and Traill counties.

Anderson served as an assistant U.S. Attorney in North Dakota for 25 years and tried more than 100 cases before retiring in 2007, the governor said in a statement. Anderson was appointed last year to assist the U.S. Attorney's Office in North Dakota defending against appeals filed in the death penalty case of Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., who was convicted in 2005 of raping, beating and stabbing University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin and sentenced the next year to die.

Since retiring as a federal prosecutor, Anderson also has served as a hearing officer for the state.

“Norman brings an outstanding record of service and a wealth of legal experience that will be a great benefit to the citizens served by the East Central Judicial District,” Dalrymple said. “I am confident that Norman will bring to this new judgeship the same sense of fairness and respect for the law that marked his distinguished career within the federal court system.”

Dalrymple appointed Robin Schmidt and Paul Jacobson on July 15 to fill two newly created district court judge positions in North Dakota's Northwest Judicial District that serves Watford City and Williston, cities in the epicenter of the state's oil boom.

The Legislature approved the new judgeships earlier this year after North Dakota Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle appealed to state lawmakers to add them and additional court employees to keep pace with increased caseloads spurred by the explosion of oil development in the western part of the state.

“We have now reached a crisis point where judicial services are suffering,” VandeWalle said in his State of the Judiciary speech to a joint session of the North Dakota House and Senate in January. “In order to meet the demands of business and individuals, we must have additional judges and court staff to carry out the work.”

The cost to establish the judgeships is about $1.7 million, officials have said.


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