North Dakota

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At a Glance (as of 2013)

Percentage of state funding: 100%
Percentage of local funding: 0%
Percentage of alternate funding: 0%
State commission: yes
Branch of government: executive


Structure & Funding of Indigent Defense Services

The North Dakota Commission on Legal Counsel for Indigents (CLCI) is an independent seven-person commission of the executive branch responsible for developing standards governing the representation of indigent persons. Commission members are appointed by diverse authorities: Governor (2 appointees, one from a county of less than 10,000 people); House of Representatives (1); Senate (1); Chief Justice  (2 appointees, one from a county of less than 10,000 people); and, North Dakota State Bar Association (1).

CLCI has established six full-time public defender offices (Dickinson, Minot, Williston, Grand Forks, Fargo, and Bismarck) since 2005. Private counsel under contract to CLCI handles conflict cases in these six regions, as well as all indigent defense services in regions where there is no full-time public defender office.

Though CLCI has the statutory authority to establish standards to control workload for both public defenders and contract counsel, they have not yet done so. As is often the case with relatively new commissions (CLCI was created in 2005) with the authority to set caseload standards, CLCI has worked methodically to ensure that they have gathered sound objective data to support the need for such standards before rushing to adopt national workload standards that may or may not be appropriate given how the criminal justice system functions in North Dakota.

Statutory Authority

N.D.C.C. § 54-61-01 through 54-61-04

Source of data: original research conducted by Sixth Amendment Center staff.