Pipeline protest arrests strain North Dakota's court system

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  • In this photo provided by Nancy Trevino, protesters against the Dakota Access oil pipeline gather at and around a hill, referred to as Turtle Island, where demonstrators claim burial sites are located, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016 in Cannon Ball, N.D. The hill is across a body of water from where hundreds and times thousands of people have camped out for months to protest the construction of the four-state pipeline. (Nancy Trevino via AP)

    In this photo provided by Nancy Trevino, protesters against the Dakota Access oil pipeline gather at and around a hill, referred to as Turtle Island, where demonstrators claim burial sites are located, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016 in Cannon Ball, N.D. The ... hill is across a body of water from where hundreds and times thousands of people have camped out for months to protest the construction of the four-state pipeline. (Nancy Trevino via AP) (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016 file photo, organizers of protests against construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline speak at a news conference near Cannon Ball, N.D. Government orders for protesters of the Dakota Access pipeline to leave federal land could have little immediate effect on the encampment where scores of people have been gathered for months to oppose the $3.8 billion project. A North Dakota sheriff on Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, dismissed a deadline from the Army Corps of Engineers as a meaningless move aimed only at reducing the government's legal responsibility for hundreds of demonstrators. (AP Photo/James MacPherson, File)

    FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016 file photo, organizers of protests against construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline speak at a news conference near Cannon Ball, N.D. Government orders for protesters of the Dakota Access pipeline to leave ... federal land could have little immediate effect on the encampment where scores of people have been gathered for months to oppose the $3.8 billion project. A North Dakota sheriff on Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, dismissed a deadline from the Army Corps of Engineers as a meaningless move aimed only at reducing the government's legal responsibility for hundreds of demonstrators. (AP Photo/James MacPherson, File) (The Associated Press)

The hundreds of arrests during the months of protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota have created an unprecedented burden for the state's court system.

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Police have made nearly 575 arrests since August. State Court Administrator Sally Holewa (hoh-LEHV'-uh) says there aren't enough judges, lawyers and clerks to handle the workload.

The state judicial system will ask the Legislature next year for an additional $1.5 million to cover protest-related costs. The organization that provides public defenders in North Dakota might seek an additional $670,000 from the Legislature.

Leaders of both organizations say such requests are highly unusual.

Holewa says the sheer volume of cases also raises concerns about the defendants' right to a speedy trial and due process.