Four graduate early from Drug Court program

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The Superior Court hosted an early graduation ceremony for four graduates of its Drug Court program last Thursday at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center.

The four persons individuals have met all the conditions without any violations since joining the CNMI Drug Court Program in 2017 and even completed the program earlier than expected (less than 18 months). This made them the third batch of graduates of the treatment program.

Superior Court Associate Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio, who has been presiding over Drug Court sessions, granted assistant attorney general Chester Hinds’ motion to dismiss the charges against the four participants, three men and a woman.

As per standard practice, the identities of the graduates are kept confidential.

Michael Harris served as the keynote speaker during the graduation last Thursday.

“A graduation means a new beginning for some people…and I applaud our drug court participants for graduating from this program but the real work has just begun,” he said.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, Kim-Tenorio, and lawmakers in attendance presented the certificates of completion to the four.

Department of Public Safety officer Frederick Sato gave the case summary for each graduate such as how the graduates were arrested, how they started the program, and how they’re determined to complete the program, among other things.

Drug Court caseworkers Jaclyn T. Mendiola, Dolores I. Benavente, along with Marianas Behavioral Health International Inc. counselor Elaine Dela Cruz spoke about the accomplishments of the four graduates and how they were able to complete the phases of the treatment program earlier than expected.

Kim-Tenorio delivered the closing remarks.

During the graduation ceremony, two new participants were sworn into the program.

The U.S. District Court for the NMI has a separate drug court program called the Drug Offender Re-entry Program.

The Drug Court had its first session on Dec. 22, 2016.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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