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Apr
11

Is justice on the horizon in North Dakota?

For over two years I’ve been following – with a strong sense of outrage and disgust – the travails of Sandy Blunt as he’s been pilloried by the prosecuting and investigatory authorities in North Dakota. At long last it appears there’s hope justice will be done.
The prosecutor who’s vindictive and unethical practices have made a travesty of justice is about to face her own fate. At the end of June, Cynthia Feland will be tried by a Disciplinary Board under the authority of the North Dakota Supreme Court for prosecutorial misconduct.
While Ms Feland tries to make light of the charges, the facts (something she’s quite unused to dealing with) are most definitely not in her favor.
In 2009, there were 17 cases that went thru the Disciplinary Board Panel Hearing; that’s where Feland is headed. And the odds aren’t good.
Only 2 cases were dismissed. Of the remaining cases, the Panel reprimanded the attorney in 6, the Supreme Court suspended the attorney in seven, and disbarred the offender in 2.
Let’s do the numbers.
– Feland has a twelve percent chance of acquittal – or about one in eight. She’s got equal chance of being disbarred outright.
– She’s got a thirty-six percent chance of reprimand, the next ‘most favorable’ outcome.
– It’s more likely (forty-two percent chance) she’ll be suspended (which would likely mean she loses her judgeship, which she won in an election last year).
So Feland has an 88% chance of being disciplined, disbarred, or having her license to practice suspended.
This has been going on far too long, and at a personal and professional cost to Sandy that’s just appalling. But it’s not just Sandy who’s suffered. All of us who work in this industry, who push hard to do the right thing, to deliver better results for injured workers, their families, and employers, are being penalized by this injustice.
Sandy Blunt was persecuted because he didn’t accept the status quo. He wasn’t willing to go along to get along. He required more of his employees at the North Dakota state work comp fund, more than just punching a clock and doing their time. Sandy set standards for performance and responsiveness that some couldn’t meet, and rather than acknowledging their own shortcomings, they turned on the person the State tasked with turning around their poor performance.
And the justice system, and many – but assuredly not all – of the people of North Dakota were complicit.
Feland’s hearing will take about two days. It’s to be held in the largest hearing room in the court building. It’s going to be gratifying to see the person who’s tried to ruin one of the finest people I know get her comeuppance.


One thought on “Is justice on the horizon in North Dakota?”

  1. I sincerely hope justice will be served in this case.
    Justice delayed is still justice served.

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates

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