Gov. Jack Dalrymple appointed Jerod E. Tufte to the Southeast Judicial District Court bench, which serves Barnes, Dickey, Eddy, Foster, Griggs, Kidder, LaMoure, Logan, McIntosh, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Stutsman and Wells counties.

Tufte replaces John Paulson who has retired after serving more than 30 years on the bench. The governor appointed Tufte Friday.

Tufte has served as Dalrymple’s legal counsel for the past four years. Tufte, a North Dakota native, is a former Kidder County and Sheridan County state’s attorney. In 2002, he graduated first in his class at Arizona State University College of Law, and that was followed by a federal appeals court clerkship and employment with a litigation firm in Phoenix, Arizona. As a member of the North Dakota Army National Guard, Tufte has also served as legal counsel to military commanders and served a tour of duty in Kosovo.

“Jerod Tufte brings a wealth of legal experience to the bench, including his work as a prosecutor, a private-practice litigator and as legal counsel to the governor’s office,” Dalrymple said. “He is an exceptional attorney and his integrity, work ethic, judicial temperament, education and experience will serve the people of the Southeast Judicial District very well.”

As legal counsel, Tufte has advised the governor on a wide range of state issues related to the judicial branch, Native American tribes, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, North Dakota Highway Patrol and other legal and policy matters. Prior to joining the governor’s office staff, Tufte served as the state’s attorney for Kidder and Sheridan counties while also operating a law office in Steele, N.D.

After law school, Tufte served as a law clerk with the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. A clerk to Judge Roger Wollman, Tufte was responsible for legal research and preparing draft opinions for the court. Following his clerkship, Tufte worked for Perkins Coie Brown & Bain, a large law firm in Phoenix, where he practiced several areas of law including commercial patent litigation for technology companies such as Intel Corp. and Maxim Integrated Products.

Prior to law school, Tufte earned a Bachelor of Science degree in computer engineering, graduating with honors from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Tufte’s community involvement includes serving as a member of the North Dakota Criminal Justice Information Sharing Board and past board member of the Bethany Lutheran Church in Robinson, N.D. Tufte is an avid runner and has represented North Dakota on its National Guard marathon team for the past four years. He and his wife, Mylynn, have three children.

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