The CNMI Supreme Court has issued another administrative order that sets the Judiciary’s COVID-19 precautionary measures and limited operations until Sept. 4, 2020.
Order No. 5, issued Friday by Chief Justice Alexandro C. Castro and Associate Justices John A. Manglona and Perry B. Inos, is basically similar to order No. 4 issued last July 2, with the justices noting that the CNMI continues to be at Level Blue, which permits the gradual opening of the CNMI to travelers and allows for gatherings of no more than 25 people in a single space.
The justices said the evolving circumstances surrounding COVID-19 and the demand for judicial services continue to warrant resuming particular operations. This means theGuma’ Hustisia or the House of Justice in Susupe, Kotten Tinian, Centron Hustisia on Rota, Marianas Business Plaza in Susupe, Drug Court in Chalan Kanoa, Office of Adult Probation Supervision Satellite Office in Susupe, and the Law Revision Commission in Susupe will be open for limited operations.
The justices urged judges to use readily available technologies, including electronic filing, teleconferencing, and video conferencing. In-person court proceedings shall be limited as much as possible.
A number of employees will continue to work within the courthouses and judicial facilities on a limited basis, while other staff are allowed to continue to telework at designated sites.
At the Supreme Court, all e-filing and service deadline and procedures remain in effect.
The justices said third quarter oral arguments scheduled between Aug. 17 to 28, 2020, will proceed as scheduled.
At the Superior Court, the justices said all matters shall be heard telephonically or by video conference and that the judge presiding over a matter may schedule proceedings requiring in-person appearance.
Bench trials may be heard where practicable, while jury trials may resume at the discretion of the judge presiding over the matter.
The cashier’s office will continue with regular business hours.
Pertaining to records, all requests for transcripts, document processing, or record certification in the clerk of the Superior Court, Family Court Division, Office of Adult Probation, Drug Court, and the Commonwealth Recorder’s Office will be accepted by email to Superior.Court@NMIJudiciary.com.
If the electronic submission of documents is impossible, documents may be submitted by U.S, registered mail at “CNMI Superior Court P.O. Box 500307 Saipan, MP 96950.”
Courtroom occupants are limited to no more than 25, wearing face masks, and practicing social distancing of no less than 6 feet. (Ferdie de la Torre)