Judge shortage in South Central District

BISMARCK, N.D. - The South Central District of the state which includes Morton and Burleigh counties are short more than three judges.

The North Dakota Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle says it's because they haven't kept pace with growth in the state.

He says it could have a devastating impact on the state if the shortage continues to grow.

VandeWalle says there are options to improve this gap of cases versus judges.

He says if the state was in a better financial standing he would ask the legislature for more judicial officers.

The increase of foot traffic and cases in courthouses in the South Central District of the state brings an issue.

More workload for judges and not enough man power.

"By and large they're doing a great job of keeping current. At some sacrifice I suppose to themselves and their time," said VandeWalle.

The Burleigh County Court Administrator says over a longer time, the shortage will take a real toll on judges and on the system.

If more judges can't be added, VandeWalle says there might be a less appealing option.

"You take from someone else and bring them in here and then we get a chronic shortage all over the state which we already have, probably," said VandeWalle.

He says he's opposed to this because it spreads the pain and doesn't provide a solution.

VandeWelle says we'll just have to see what happens once the next legislative session starts.

For now, judges in the district will have to continue working longer hours to keep pace.