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Published June 05, 2012, 09:51 AM

Chief justice monitoring oil region justice group

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle (VAN'-duh-wall) says he'll be following the progress of a task force on the justice system in western North Dakota's oil region.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle (VAN'-duh-wall) says he'll be following the progress of a task force on the justice system in western North Dakota's oil region.

The state Bar Association set up the group. It's holding its first meeting Tuesday afternoon in Bismarck. Other meetings are planned in Dickinson, Williston and Minot.

VandeWalle says he hears from judges in western North Dakota about the increased work load that's brought on by oil development in the region.

He says patterns in crime statistics may show that lesser offenses are being overlooked because there are more serious crimes to handle now.

Bismarck attorney Jack McDonald is chairman of the task force. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem is one of its members.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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