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NMI Bar Association evaluating judges and justice up for retention

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THE CNMI Bar Association has adopted procedures to evaluate this year’s judicial candidates for retention: local Supreme Court Associate Justice Perry B. Inos, Superior Court Presiding Judge Roberto C. Naraja and Associate Judge Kenneth L. Govendo.

In June  2002, the bar association adopted “A Resolution to Establish and Implement a Procedure for Evaluation of Judicial Nominees and Candidates for Judicial Retention,” which was amended in May 2003.

Bar association president Charity R. Hodson said the resolution recognizes that members of the bar association are “uniquely positioned to evaluate judges and justices because most members of the voting public do not have an opportunity to engage with the judges and justices in a professional setting.”

The people of the Commonwealth should have the information necessary to make reasoned decisions about whether to retain judicial officers during general elections, Hodson added.

“Because the bar association is particularly well suited to be able to evaluate, fairly collect, tabulate, and disseminate information regarding the qualifications of those in judicial office, the association has adopted form surveys of judicial retention candidates to evaluate a judge or justice's experience, integrity, professional competence; judicial temperament, service to the law, and contribution to the effective administration of justice, as well as preparation, attentiveness, control over judicial proceedings, judicial management skills, courtesy to litigants, counsel, and court personnel, public disciplinary sanctions; and quality of judicial opinions.”

The bar association has not yet issued the results of its evaluation, but Hodson said, “We will certainly share [them].”

According to its website, the local bar association has 140 members.

First time

This will be the first time that 54-year-old Justice Inos, who was appointed to the high court in 2013, is seeking retention as justice. He was appointed as judge in 2008 and was retained in 2012.

Voters retained Presiding Judge Naraja, 65, in 2007 and 2014. He was appointed as judge in 2001.

Judge Govendo, 75, was appointed in 2003 and was retained in 2007 and 2014. 

 

 

 

 


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