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Help Water Protectors get lawyers!

With over 550 people arrested at Standing Rock, the legal system is overwhelmed, and the pool of North Dakota attorneys willing to take Water Protector cases has been exhausted.  Many out-of-state attorneys are eager to join the fray–but they can’t, because they’re not authorized to practice in ND.

Can you e-mail a letter to the ND Supreme Court by Friday? Written comments may be e-mailed to Penny Miller, Clerk of the Supreme Court.

The North Dakota Supreme Court has placed our Petition to Permit Temporary Provision of Legal Services by Qualified Attorneys From Outside North Dakota up for comment on the Court’s web site.  Comments are due by 4 pm Dec. 30, 2016!

Here is a sample comment–it’s most impactful if you modify the language somewhat, but it’s far better to cut and paste than not to write at all!


Dear Ms. Miller,

The following is a comment in support of the Petition to Permit Temporary Provision of Legal Services by Qualified Attorneys From Outside North Dakota.

The high number of arrests related to anti-Dakota Access pipeline matters has created an emergency in the North Dakota legal system, with an insufficient number of available criminal defense lawyers licensed to represent the over 500 people arrested. Many criminal defense lawyers have already maxed out their public defender allotments, and many others have declined to take on these cases, often due to workload, time constraints, or conflicts of interest related to the pipeline industry. Furthermore, requests for change of venue have been denied.

These defendants deserve fair trials, and I am concerned that due to the reasons stated above, the North Dakota court system is currently strained in its capacity to ensure that defendants receive fair trials.

I request that the North Dakota Supreme Court accept and approve the Petition to Permit Temporary Provision of Legal Services by Qualified Attorneys From Outside North Dakota.

Please help all parties ensure that defendants are able to obtain the legal counsel they need to be given their fair day in court.

Thank you.

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