Oil Boom Impacts Courts | VideoAlex Hagan | 6/20/2012
The Justice System Energy Impact Task Force is travelling to booming communities to collect information on the challenges court workers are facing and to come up with solutions to the problem. Right now, increasing caseloads are putting some strain on judicial employees.
Law enforcement is busier these days, and that translates to more workload for the people who are in charge of courts.
"We`re jumping up to and we expect that were going to be somewhere over 14,000 traffic cases and the judicial time in it has been more because more and more people are requesting hearings," said Southwest District Judge William Herauf.
And that is also affecting clerks and attorneys.
"Because of the increased caseload and the increased paper flow, the clerks, the attorneys and the judges, we are feeling the pinch. We don`t like to be behind."
Court dates are now being pushed back because of the increased workload.
"If you want to schedule a three day trial in Dickinson for a civil matter, you are probably looking at March or April of 2013 before you can even get in the court," said attorney Jack McDonald.
But it`s not just oil impacted areas feeling the effects.
"Some of these cases that they can`t find court dates in Williston and Dickinson, they`re now being filed in Bismarck, a lot of the business cases, civil cases," McDonald said.
However, court officials say employees are keeping up with the workload.
"Everybody is trying to do their job as best they can, but the solutions are going to take a joint effort between all the players on this," Herauf said.
Court workers say the only way for the judicial system to improve is to hire more attorneys and more judges.
The task force plans to meet at Williams and Ward County Courthouses to collect more information concerning judicial system needs.