North Dakota Supreme Court Decisions

The North Dakota Supreme Court began its history as the Supreme Court of the Dakota Territory in 1861. The size of the court varied between three and eight justices until the adoption of the North Dakota Constitution in 1889. While the Constitution initially set the size of the Court at three justices, a constitutional amendment in 1908 increased it to five justices, which is the size that it remains today. Each justice serves a 10-year term, as provided by a constitutional amendment in 1930.

Under the North Dakota Constitution, the Supreme Court holds general appellate jurisdiction as well as the authority to issue any writs that are needed to exercise its jurisdiction. It also holds the authority to form a three-member panel, known as a Court of Appeals, to hear cases that the Supreme Court assigns to it when the need arises. The Supreme Court chooses the members of the Court of Appeals from retired Supreme Court justices, current or retired lower court judges, and lawyers. A study by Stanford University in 2012 found that the Court is the second-most conservative state supreme court in the U.S.

To serve on the North Dakota Supreme Court, a candidate must be a U.S. citizen and a resident of North Dakota. They also must be “learned in the law.” Candidates run for seats on the Court in non-partisan elections. This means that voters do not see the political affiliation of a candidate on the ballot. Elections are staggered so that one judge is elected every two years. However, if a vacancy arises, the Governor of North Dakota has the authority to appoint a replacement justice. This justice will serve for up to two years until the general election, in which they can run to retain their seat. The justices of the North Dakota Supreme Court and the District Court judges vote to elect the Chief Justice every five years, or when a vacancy arises.

Browse Opinions From the North Dakota Supreme Court

Recent Decisions From the North Dakota Supreme Court
State v. Vervalen  
Date: June 20, 2024
Citation: 2024 ND 124
Docket Number: 20230286

Justia Opinion Summary: The case revolves around Bradley Vervalen, who was charged with burglary and attempted murder. The charges stemmed from an incident where Vervalen unlawfully entered the home of his children's mother and attacked her…

Stephens v. Lee  
Date: June 20, 2024
Citation: 2024 ND 122
Docket Number: 20230381

Justia Opinion Summary: The case involves Mariya Stephens and Kevin Lee, who were married in 2017 and have a child together. After their divorce in 2020, Stephens was granted primary residential responsibility of their child, with Lee receiving…

Kubal v. Anderson  
Date: June 20, 2024
Citation: 2024 ND 123
Docket Number: 20240007

Justia Opinion Summary: The case involves a dispute over primary residential responsibility for two minor children between Casey Kubal and Kari Anderson. The couple lived together in North Dakota, but Anderson moved to South Dakota with the…

Interest of D.M.E.
Date: June 20, 2024
Citation: 2024 ND 125
Docket Number: 20240152
Ward v. Herbel  
Date: June 6, 2024
Citation: 2024 ND 119
Docket Number: 20230140

Justia Opinion Summary: The Ward family, who own extensive acreage in Bismarck, North Dakota, initiated a quiet title action against 152 adjacent landowners, including Dan and Lindsey Herbel, to determine adverse claims to their property. The…

Roth v. Meyer  
Date: June 6, 2024
Citation: 2024 ND 113
Docket Number: 20230310

Justia Opinion Summary: The case involves a dispute between Mary Roth and Gary Meyer, who were in a long-term relationship but never married. They cohabitated and ran a cattle operation together on a property that had a complex ownership…

State v. Anderson  
Date: June 6, 2024
Citation: 2024 ND 115
Docket Number: 20230344

Justia Opinion Summary: The case revolves around Richard Dean Anderson, Jr., who was stopped by law enforcement for a broken tail light. During the stop, Anderson was questioned about his activities, to which he responded that he had been…

State v. Sargent (consolidated w/20230353)
Date: June 6, 2024
Citation: 2024 ND 121
Docket Number: 20230351
State v. Sargent  
Date: June 6, 2024
Citation: 2024 ND 121
Docket Number: 20230353

Justia Opinion Summary: The case revolves around Richard Sargent, who was charged with 17 counts of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, 17 counts of theft of a firearm, and one count of theft of $500-$1000. The charges were based on…

City of Grand Forks v. Riemers  
Date: June 6, 2024
Citation: 2024 ND 117
Docket Number: 20230366

Justia Opinion Summary: The defendant, Roland Riemers, was found guilty of disorderly conduct by a jury after he pursued a train that was blocking a street for longer than twenty minutes, a violation of a city ordinance. Riemers parked his car…

State v. Jelinek  
Date: June 6, 2024
Citation: 2024 ND 114
Docket Number: 20230367

Justia Opinion Summary: The case involves Jay Jelinek, who was appealing an order denying his motion to suppress evidence and challenging evidentiary rulings made by the district court during his trial. Jelinek was found by a North Dakota Game…

State v. Goodale  
Date: June 6, 2024
Citation: 2024 ND 120
Docket Number: 20230373

Justia Opinion Summary: Regina Goodale was found guilty of accomplice to murder—extreme indifference for the murder of her husband. The State alleged that Goodale had conspired with Mathew Anderson, who was believed to have committed the…

Idso v. Idso
Date: June 6, 2024
Citation: 2024 ND 116
Docket Number: 20230387
State v. Massey  
Date: June 6, 2024
Citation: 2024 ND 118
Docket Number: 20230396

Justia Opinion Summary: James Massey was charged with gross sexual imposition, a class AA felony, and child abuse, a class C felony. The charges stemmed from an incident involving a minor, identified as T.T. During the trial, the State…

Kath v. Prochnow  
Date: June 6, 2024
Citation: 2024 ND 112
Docket Number: 20230406

Justia Opinion Summary: The case involves a personal injury action initiated by Torrey Kath against Michael Prochnow and Prochnow Farms. After the parties filed a "Stipulation of Dismissal with Prejudice," the district court dismissed the case.…

The opinions published on Justia State Caselaw are sourced from individual state court sites. These court opinions may not be the official published versions, and you should check your local court rules before citing to them. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site, or the information linked to on the state site.

Some case metadata and case summaries were written with the help of AI, which can produce inaccuracies. You should read the full case before relying on it for legal research purposes.

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