The CNMI Bar Association has given attorney Wesley M. Bogdan an overall “good” average rating in his fitness to become an associate judge of the Superior Court.
According to the Bar Association evaluation results, Bogdan received an average score of 3.9 for both experience and professional competence criteria.
The lawyer received an average score of 4.5 for integrity, and 4.0 for judicial temperament, and service to the law and contribution to the effective administration of justice.
That means Bogdan got an overall average rate of 4.06 or “good.”
The five criteria were rated according to numeral values 1 through 5 as follows:
1. Unacceptable. Seldom meets minimum standards of performance.
2. Deficient. Does not always meet minimum standards of performance.
3. Acceptable. Meets minimum standards of performance.
4. Good. Often exceeds minimum standards of performance.
5. Excellent. Consistently exceeds minimum standards of performance.
The CNMI Bar Association has established a mechanism by which nominees for judicial appointment are evaluated by the members.
Association executive director Suzanne M. Steffy said that the association invited its active members last May 16 to confidentially evaluate Bogdan with respect to his qualifications for judicial office.
Steffy said the evaluation process was based on the American Bar Association’s May 2000 report titled “Standards on State Judicial Selection.”
The CNMI Bar Association has approximately 200 active members, about 100 of whom primarily practice in the CNMI.
Of those 100 active CNMI-based lawyers, about 40 are employees of the government in various capacities.
Steffy said 26 active CNMI Bar members timely completed and submitted the evaluation forms related to Bogdan’s nomination.
She said the members who submitted evaluations were also asked how they knew Bogdan and that all evaluating members indicated that they knew him from direct professional experience.
Early last month, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres announced his appointment of Bogdan to serve on the bench. His appointment must still be confirmed by the CNMI Senate.
Bogdan’s nomination to the position is intended to replace David A. Wiseman, who retired in May 2016 after 15 years on the bench.
Torres said he is confident in Bogdan’s abilities and has no doubt that he will serve the CNMI with dignity and integrity as a member of the Judiciary.
Bogdan is currently the legal counsel at the Office of the Governor and worked in that same capacity during the administration of the late governor Eloy S. Inos.
After graduating from law school in his home state of New Mexico, Bogdan worked as a judicial clerk for the New Mexico Court of Appeals in Albuquerque from 1992 to 1994.
He then moved to the CNMI in 1994 to work in the government as an assistant attorney general and later as an assistant public defender. He then also worked in private practice at four law firms on Saipan.