IN NMI BAR ASSOCIATION EVALUATION
CNMI Supreme Court Associate Justice Perry B. Inos, Superior Court Presiding Judge Roberto C. Naraja, and Superior Court Associate Judge Kenneth L. Govendo all received above “acceptable” total average performance evaluation rating from the CNMI Bar Association.
CNMI Bar Association president Charity Hodson informed association members and the public Saturday of the results of their recent evaluation of judicial candidates Inos, Naraja, and Govendo who are up for retention election at this Nov. 3 election.
Hodson said the evaluation was conducted according to the Bar Association’s “resolution to establish and implement and procedure for evaluation of judicial nominees and candidates for judicial retention.”
Many CNMI voters have already been cast their votes on who will remain in office via early voting and will continue voting up to election day on Nov. 3.
Inos received a 3.55 average rating, while Naraja got 3.65 and Govendo got 3.37.
“Acceptable,” which is equivalent to a total average of 3 means the magistrate meets minimum standards of performance. “Good” or a total average of 4 means the magistrate often exceeds minimum standards of performance. The other ratings are excellent, deficient, and unacceptable.
“Excellent” or a total average of 5 means the magistrate consistently exceeds minimum standards of performance. “Deficient” or a total average of 2 means the magistrate does not always meet minimum standards of performance. “Unacceptable” or a total average of 1 means the magistrate seldom meets minimum standards of performance.
In this survey, Inos’ highest rating was 4 for experience, integrity, judicial temperament, and courtesy to litigants, counsel, and court personnel. His lowest rating is 1.9 for public disciplinary sanctions and 3 for judicial management skills.
Naraja’s highest rating was 4.4 for judicial temperament, and his lowest was 2.1 for public disciplinary sanctions and 3.3 for control over judicial proceedings and quality of judicial opinions.
Govendo’s highest rating was 4 for experience, and his lowest was 1.5 for public disciplinary sanctions, and 3 for judicial temperament.
Under the public disciplinary sanctions criteria, 18 respondents had no opinion for Govendo and Inos, while 17 had no opinion for Naraja.
Hodson said the public disciplinary sanctions criteria is in reference to when a judge or justice is publicly disciplined or admonished.
“There are rules governing judicial conduct that exist ‘to protect the public from improper conduct or behavior of judges, to preserve the integrity of the judicial process, to maintain public confidence in the Judiciary, to create a greater awareness of proper judicial behavior, and to provide for the fair and expeditious disposition of complaints of judicial misconduct,’” Hodson said.
The evaluations rated the following criteria: experience, integrity, professional competence, judicial temperament, service to law/contribution to justice, preparation, attentiveness, control over proceedings, judicial management skills, courtesy, public disciplinary sanctions, and quality of opinions.
CNMI Bar Association executive director Peonie C. Cabrera said there are 175 active members, of which 112 are on island.
Cabrera said that, of the 33 submissions, Naraja was only one who got evaluations from all 33. She said Inos and Govendo got 32 evaluations.
In the November 2014 election, Naraja and Govendo also each received a similar average rating of 3.3 or above the “acceptable” total average rating, based on the CNMI Bar Association’s evaluation of their performances on the bench.
In that 2014 evaluation, Naraja’s highest rating was 3.8 for courtesy, his lowest was 2.08 for professional competence.
Govendo’s highest rating was 3.9 for experience, his lowest was 2.8 for judicial temperament.
In 2002, the Bar Association established a mechanism by which nominees for judicial appointment or retention may be evaluated by the Association.
Associate Justice John A. Manglona and his wife, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona, were the first to obtain an impressive total average “good” rating among the magistrates who underwent performance evaluation by the CNMI Bar Association. The couple obtained the “good” rating during the performance evaluation in 2007.