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Judges & Staff

The Municipal Judge is elected to a four-year term. The judge must be licensed to practice law and be a resident of the City of Fargo. Vacancies that occur between elections are filled by appointment by the Board of City Commissioners.

Fargo also has alternate municipal judges as recommended by the court and appointed by the City Commission. The current judge is Stephen Dawson. Our alternate judge is Scott Diamond.

Municipal Court Judge Dawson

Municipal Court Judge

Judge Steve Dawson was elected Municipal Court Judge in 2012. He served as an alternate Municipal Court Judge from 2005 - 2012.

Dawson received an undergraduate degree from NDSU in 1985 and a law degree from UND law school in 1988. Following law school he worked as a prosecutor for the Cass County States Attorney's Office and later, the City of Fargo.

In addition to serving as Municipal Court Judge, he operates Dawson Law Office and Mediation Center in south Fargo, practicing primarily in the area of family law mediation.

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Alternate Municipal Judge - Dan Phillips

Alternate Municipal Court Judge

Dan Phillips was appointed as an alternate Municipal Court Judge on November 22, 2023. Dan has been practicing law in North Dakota and Minnesota since 1993.

He received his undergraduate degree from Minot State University - formerly Dakota State Northwestern University Minot, ND. Dan graduated from the North Dakota School of Law with distinction in 1993. He was also named to the "Order of Barristers" upon graduation.

Dan currently serves as a partner of the Solberg Stewart Miller law firm in Fargo. His practice includes representing union members and other people who are injured in accidents, including auto accidents, wrongful death claims, employment-related disputes, and social security cases.

Dan is licensed in all state and federal courts in both North Dakota and Minnesota along with the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Alternate Municipal Judge - Trent Barkus

Alternate Municipal Court Judge

Trent Barkus was appointed as an alternate Municipal Court Judge on November 28, 2023. He has been practicing law in North Dakota since 2019.

Trent received his undergraduate degree from the University of Jamestown in 2008 and his Master’s degree from Troy University in 2015. Trent attended the University of North Dakota School of Law and was admitted to the bar in 2019. He also served on active duty in the United States Navy from 2010-2016. While attending law school, Trent received his commission as an Officer in the United States Navy Reserve where he continues to proudly serve.

Trent is currently a partner at Barkus Law Firm, P.C., in Fargo North Dakota. He is licensed to practice law in state and federal courts in North Dakota. His practice includes family and criminal law. Trent also serves as the elected West Fargo Municipal Judge.

The Clerk of Court

The Clerk of Court is responsible for the administration of the clerk's office and court records. Shiloh Hanson, the Clerk of Court, is assisted by the Deputy Clerk of Court and several support staff. The staff provides information to assist the public in all cases filed in Municipal Court but cannot provide legal advice.

Contact the Clerk of Court's Office by email to ask questions. Court appearances may only be rescheduled by contacting the Clerk of Court's office in person or by telephone.