City of Bemidji’s Legal Team Discusses Future Plans with City Council
With City Attorney Alan Felix retiring, the Bemidji Legal Team is reviewing future plans for when Felix leaves.
Last night, those on the legal team met with the city council for an information session regarding the work they do. A main point of discussion was the amount of city-wide misdemeanor cases the City Attorney’s office has filed. City attorneys have prosecuted these offenses in-house since 2019.
They project that they will file 2,100 city misdemeanor cases, a significant rise compared to the 2019 numbers. A main reason identified was annexation and a rise in crime in Bemidji.
Assistant City Attorney Katie Nolting also noted how each case is treated differently according to what justice means for the given situation, which means a case may take longer than anticipated.
“Even if it’s a misdemeanor theft, if we can’t prove the case, we can’t prove the case, and I, ethically, am not going to move forward with the case if I don’t think I can prove [it] beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Nolting. “Ultimately, each case is completely different, and if we don’t treat them different, then are we really doing justice or are we just doing a conveyor belt?”
Other considerations brought up during the meeting included the current workload of each attorney and the possibility of adding more positions, such as a tribal liaison. Alan Felix is planning on finishing his time as the Bemidji City Attorney at the end of September.