"Irritated" North Dakota AG Wrigley takes aim at House Judiciary Committee members for "gutting" crime bill

(Fargo, ND) --  UPDATE: State Representative Bernie Satrom has provided this written statement to WDAY News First in response to criticism from Attorney General Drew Wrigley, over the amendments the House Judiciary Committee made to SB 2107:

"I understand that he is irritated.   He should be irritated not at the Judiciary Committee but at himself.    A lot of stress could have been avoided if the AG’s office had fully engaged the stakeholders early in the process. For example last summer or fall rather than the final minutes of the session.    We all support our law enforcement but when making policy we need to be careful about creating unintended consequences   The States Attorneys, Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and Defense attorneys all voiced concerns about his proposal.  This could have been worked out months ago.  Late in the game he met with the stakeholders but did not address their concerns.  The House Judiciary Committee was unnecessarily put in an awkward position.   

In our committee the AG’s amendment was adopted but then removed when it was determined it was unworkable.  The States Attorneys Amendments were the best we could do with the time allowed. 

This morning the AG’s office attempted to sidestep the committee and introduce his amendments in Appropriations.   

We need to be smart on crime.   There is no empirical evidence that mandatory minimums are effective in reducing crime or increasing public safety.  96% of the people in prison return to our communities,   it costs close to $60000 a year to incarcerate someone.  Judges need to keep discretion.  The AG mentioned his concern about the repeat offenders.  We need to be laser focused on utilizing our resources to maximize public safety and reduce recidivism.  One size fits all is not wise and we need to concentrate on rehabilitation so that when they  return they can be productive positive members of our society."   


North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley is taking aim at most  members of the House Judiciary Committee, who he says have "gutted" his tough on crime bill.  

"The public deserves to know who is voting for and against this stuff, and right now, there is a small number of house members,.I just listed them for you. People should give them a call," said Wrigley. 

Wrigley is talking after the House Judiciary Committee voted to amend SB 2107.  

They eliminated from the bill minimum sentences for violent crimes in which guns are used  and dropped minimum sentences for offenses against police officers. 

Fargo Representative Shannon Roers Jones is among committee members who voted in support of the changes. 

"Everyone should be accountable. I mean, if they vote that way, they must be proud of it and they should be talking about it. I'm surprised she's (Roers Jones) is not on the air with you. They should all be on the air, explaining right now, what their plan is. It's late here. We are almost at the end of the session. No one has proposed anything," said Wrigley. 

WDAY News First is reaching out to Roers Jones for comment. 

The attorney general made the comments while appearing on The Jay Thomas Show, on WDAY AM 970. 

Wrigley also criticized judiciary committee members for voting to amend the bill, including representatives Donna Henderson, Bernie Satrom, Lori VanWinkle, Steve Vetter, and Mary Schneider.

WDAY News First is seeking comment from these representatives as well.  

Original Air Date: 
Tuesday, April 4, 2023