October 6, 2015

El-Dweek becomes county’s second judge

By Amy Robinson
Farmer Staff Writer

History was made on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015, when Daniel El-Dweek officially became the second district judge to serve in North Dakota’s Northwest Judicial District, with his court chambered in the McKenzie County Courthouse.
His Investiture Ceremony was a celebration of his hard work and achievement, as he, an illustrious graduate of the University of North Dakota School of Law, was recognized by the Lt. Gov., the Chief Justice of the North Dakota Supreme Court, Presiding Judge Robin Schmidt, and many other local, district, and state dignitaries for his character, talents, and abilities.
“You have a very clear regard for personal service,” stated Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley. “Take a look at the people in this room. This is your rock of support. Your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and community. With your many assets, attributes, and talents, this is our opportunity to applaud and extend congratulations to you.”
Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle ruminated that with all Investiture Ceremonies, they should be held because they offer three important opportunities. First, it’s a time to introduce the new judge to the community. Secondly, it’s a time to impress upon the new judge the duties and responsibilities afforded to them. And thirdly, it’s a time to applaud and extend congratulations.
“Over two years ago, we were here for Judge Robin Schmidt’s Investiture Ceremony,” said VandeWalle. “At that time, we had increased to 47 district judges. And we were afforded four new judges this past legislative session. So in the last six years, we have added nine new district courtships for a total of 51 today.”
Schmidt, for the past two years, has carried McKenzie County’s ever-growing caseload single-handedly, for everything from traffic violations to serious criminal matters. To say adding a second judge to the Northwest Judicial District was a positive move, would be an understatement. It was a necessity for a county whose cases have increased substantially over the past couple of years.
“Thank you to the court for getting us another judge here,” said Schmidt. “I’m happy to have El-Dweek working with me. I don’t know if he’s happy. Having another judge here has helped tremendously with the caseload. It’s helped to keep things moving through the justice system in a timely manner.”
As part of the Investiture Ceremony, El-Dweek was given his robe, a gavel, and sounding board. He took an oath to uphold the constitution of the state of North Dakota, and he was welcomed into the North Dakota Judicial Family.
“I want to thank all who made this possible,” said El-Dweek. “Specifically, our Governor, Lt. Gov., and acknowledgment must also be given to the others involved including the Legislature and the Supreme Court. I have appreciation for the people of McKenzie County and the commissioners. I believe the investment into this county has been evident and will be evident for years to come. I’d also like to say a special thanks to Judge Nelson. He has literally spent hours helping and being a mentor, and Judge Schmidt, well she didn’t have the luxury of 45 miles separating us like Judge Nelson.”
El-Dweek was appointed to the district judgeship this summer by North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple. He began presiding right away, working closely with Judge Nelson and Judge Schmidt, whom El-Dweek says have been exceptional mentors to him in his new position as judge.
“In August, Judge El-Dweek hit the bench running,” said McKenzie County Commissioner Chairman Richard Cayko. “We can’t thank everyone enough and the people who have made this all possible. Our case-loads doubled again. But now there’s light at the end of the tunnel. The progress is slow, but most certainly being made here. This ceremony was very impressive.”