Northeast District Judge enjoys his work, loves the law

Mike Bellmore, Features Editor
Judge Donovan Foughty

Donovan Foughty grew up on the south edge of Devils Lake when East Bay was still basically a salt flat.

A lot has changed since then for the 55-year-old District Judge from Devils Lake.

But one constant remains – his love for law. Some might think that stems from his legendary dad, Frank, a 1949 graduate of UND's Law School.

But that's not necessarily the case.

“I spent two years as a lawyer for the DOT in Bismarck and I was kind of interested in transportation regulations,” Donovan recalls.

“But I feel lucky and fortunate. Out of law school I went to Alaska for some interviews but they never panned out.”

The late Frank Foughty was once appointed District Judge in Rugby by former Governor Bill Guy.

But he never sat on the bench because Governor Davis appointed someone else to the bench.

Foughty decided to go to law school after his two years in Bismarck.

He married Marca Engelhart in 1983 and they have two children, Melissa and Matthew.

Foughty worked with his dad's law firm until 1987 when he was elected judge for Ramsey and Towner counties.

He's been a district judge since 1995 and has presided over some significant cases.

“The most noteable was probably the Super Pumper murder case and I was slated to be the trial judge for that,” Foughty recalled.

“But it never went to trial.”

Foughty says the job is interesting and challenging – always something new and different.