North Dakota Supreme Court Clerk Penny Miller said Tuesday that her office received 536 comments regarding a South Central district judges' petition to end legal provisions for out-of-state attorneys assisting criminal cases related to protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

There were 291 comments received Monday in addition to hundreds more from Sept. 20-29, according to Miller. Her office didn't accept comments after the 4 p.m. Monday deadline.

No court date has been set on the petition to terminate, Miller added.

"It is an administrative matter at this point, and the court will decide how they will proceed," she said. "They will only set a specific court date if they decide to have any kind of hearing on it, and I think they have enough information to proceed."

Miller had previously said her office doesn't usually receive as many comments on petitions as this one has.

Almost all comments oppose ending the legal provisions adopted in January. Out-of-state attorneys are able to help DAPL-related cases if sponsored by a North Dakota attorney.

Notable commenters include chairs of the Standing Rock and Spirit Lake tribes, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota, Amnesty International and the National Congress of American Indians.

About 150 law school faculty from around the United States also submitted a joint letter opposing the petition to terminate.

H. Jean Delaney, executive director of the North Dakota Commission on Legal Counsel for Indigents, wrote that her board voted in support of the judges' petition as the protests have concluded and no related case assignments have come in since July. NDCLCI made more than 400 case assignments related to the DAPL protests.

Other commenters include attorneys in related cases, a handful of defendants and news consumers from across the U.S. and as far away as Germany and the United Kingdom.

Presiding Judge Gail Hagerty filed the judges' petition Sept. 11, citing no new DAPL-related cases have been charged and only active attorneys of record should continue.

As of Monday, 418 of the 833 DAPL-related cases had closed, trial court administrator Donna Wunderlich said. Most charges have been dismissed.

Reach Jack Dura at 701-250-8225 or jack.dura@bismarcktribune.com.

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