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4 apply to fill judge vacancy in Fargo

Upon completion of interviews, the Judicial Nominating Committee will forward at least two candidates to North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, who will decide who will fill the judicial vacancy.

A courtroom gavel

FARGO — Four people have applied to fill a judicial opening in the East Central Judicial District created by the retirement of Judge Thomas Olson.

The four who have submitted an application for consideration by the Judicial Nominating Committee include:

  • Nicholas Chase, acting U.S. attorney for the district of North Dakota
  • Cherie Clark, a state district court judge in Jamestown
  • Stephanie Hayden, a judicial referee with the East Central Judicial District
  • Monty Mertz, a Cass County public defender

Clark, a former prosecutor with the Cass County State's Attorney's Office, pleaded guilty in 2021 to a charge of driving under the influence after a downtown Fargo crash.
"As an elected official, I am expected to set a positive example. I failed to do so," Clark said in a statement issued after pleading guilty. "I will work tirelessly to restore the diminished trust and confidence resulting from my actions."

Upon completion of interviews, the Judicial Nominating Committee will forward at least two candidates to North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, who will decide who will fill the judicial vacancy.

Related Topics: CRIME AND COURTSFARGO
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