- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—News Dickinson, 58602

Abby Kessler

The Dickinson Press

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Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

Five attorneys applied for a new judgeship position in the Southwest Judicial District, and after a month of deliberation, that number was reduced to one.

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple announced Monday his decision to appoint Stark County Assistant State’s Attorney Rhonda Ehlis.

The decision to appoint four new judgeships in the state came during the 64th Legislative Assembly, in an attempt to help the state’s district courts manage their caseloads.

“I am happy and very humbled by the experience,” Ehlis said. “To think that a nominating committee and then the governor have respect for you and the work you’ve done is a great honor.”

Ehlis has served as an assistant Stark County state’s attorney for nine years. In that time, she has managed an extensive caseload including criminal cases, juvenile matters, mental health cases, child support and civil representation for county officials, according to a news release.

Ehlis has been an attorney for 22 years, and has served as staff attorney for the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, legal counsel for the Bismarck office of Regional Child Support Enforcement and six years of private practice.

She obtained a political science undergraduate degree and a law degree from the University of North Dakota.

“I guess it felt like the right time in my career to consider this position,” Ehlis said of the decision to go through the month-long application process while simultaneously staying atop a demanding workload.

She anticipates that the shift from representing one party to hearing both sides of the argument and arriving at a decision will take conscious effort, but believes she will be able to make that transition smoothly based off of past experience.

Dalrymple also appointed Williams County State’s Attorney Kristen Sjue and Daniel El-Dweek, supervising attorney in the Williston Public Defender’s Office, to judgeships in the Northwest Judicial District on Monday.

Sjue will serve in Williston. El-Dweek will be chambered in Watford City.

“Kirsten Sjue, Daniel El-Dweek and Rhonda Ehlis are dedicated and highly qualified attorneys who are well respected by their peers,” Dalrymple said in a statement. “Their integrity and extensive experience in criminal and civil law will be a great asset for the citizens served by the Northwest and Southwest judicial districts. I am confident that our new district court judges will bring to the bench the same sense of fairness and respect for the law that has defined their careers.”

The new appointees will serve in the position until the next general election, which follows at least two years of service.

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