BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ North Dakota Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle is asking state lawmakers to add three new judgeships and additional court employees to keep pace with increased workloads caused by the state's oil boom.
The chief justice made his appeal Wednesday in his State of the Judiciary speech to a joint session of the North Dakota House and Senate.
VandeWalle says the state has ``reached a crisis point where judicial services are suffering.'' He says the shortage of judges and court employees in western North Dakota's oil patch is affecting court systems statewide.
The chief justice says case backlogs ``drive up local incarceration costs, put the rights of accused in jeopardy, impact businesses' ability to operate and damage families.''