Federal Shutdown to Impact Task of U.S. Attorney in North Dakota - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Federal Shutdown to Impact Task of U.S. Attorney in North Dakota

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Shutdown of the federal government impacts North Dakota in yet another way as half the U.S. Attorney's Office is furloughed this morning.  "Right now, we're in the middle of some really important fights.  We're working hard to make sure organized crime doesn't get a foothold in the Bakken oil patch.  We're working hard to make the reservations safer, and we're going to continue those fights, but with half our staff sent home today, we're now in the fight with one arm tied behind our back," says Tim Purdon, U.S. Attorney, District of North Dakota.

In an office of 43, most of the lawyers are still at work, so the burden of the shutdown falls largely upon support staff.   "When I walked around the office today and saw these folks who were going to go home without pay today and maybe tomorrow and as long as this goes on, I mean, it's devastating.  We're still trying to work cases through the court system, focused, obviously, the priorities are any cases involving public safety, national security, things of that nature," says U.S. Attorney Purdon.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says they've seen a dramatic increase in multi-defendant cases out in oil country in recent years.  The existing sequester largely prevented them from hiring additional staff.  Added on top of that, the federal government shutdown makes doing their jobs just that much more difficult.

The U.S. Attorney for North Dakota says he expects processing cases will not take place as efficiently and as quickly as it would if the government was open.

 

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