Public Law 19-67 Authorizes USDA Loan for Justice Center
On September 27, 2016, Governor Ralph DLG. Torres signed Public Law 19-67, which allows the CNMI Government to borrow up to $15 million from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s Rural Development Loan Program for the Justice Center in Susupe and for other court buildings.
The low-interest loan will be used to pay off the current balance of the judiciary building loan with the NMI Retirement Settlement Fund, to make capital improvements at the Office of the Attorney General and the Public Defender's Office, and to upgrade and expand the judiciary facilities on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. Collections of court fines and fees, managed through the newly created Justice Center Revolving Account, will be used to service the loan.
The signing ceremony occurred at the Governor's Conference Room in Capitol Hill. Legislators from the House of Representatives and the Senate, along with Chief Justice Alexandro C. Castro, justices and judges, Attorney General Edward Manibusan and Public Defender Douglas Hartig attended the ceremony.
CNMI Drug Court Staffing Announced
The long-awaited CNMI Drug Court Program, a pre-plea diversion model for substance users charged with a crime, is quickly becoming a reality. By the efforts and emphatic support of the community, the enabling act for CNMI Drug Court, Public Law 19-14, was signed into law on October 28, 2015. Following passage of the law, the Judiciary submitted a proposed budget to the legislature and received local funding. Since then, the CNMI Judiciary has been working diligently to staff members of the CNMI Drug Court Team. After conducting a series of panel interviews, the CNMI Judiciary is proud to announce the newest members of the CNMI Drug Court Team.
Associate Judge David A. Wiseman Retires
On May 20, 2016, the Judiciary will hold a retirement ceremony in honor of Associate Judge David A. Wiseman. Judge Wiseman has served as a Commonwealth Superior Court Associate Judge for over fourteen years. In retirement, Judge Wiseman plans to leave Saipan and settle on the island of Hawai'i.
Supreme Court Decisions
The Commonwealth Supreme Court issued the following decisions: