FOR WISEMAN’S VACATED ASSOCIATE JUDGE POST
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres is hoping to finally name the replacement for former Superior Court associate judge David A. Wiseman within the week. Wiseman’s post had been vacant for eight months now since he retired in May last year.
Only four judges remain on the bench led by Presiding Judge Robert C. Naraja, and associate judges Kenneth L. Govendo, Joseph N. Camacho, and Teresa K. Kim-Tenorio.
Torres said that he is only waiting for the nominee’s reply on the offer to be elevated to the bench. “I’ve already asked the person and the answer was supposed to be last week. Hopefully this Friday.”
He said the nominee could have decided to delay in making a decision because of the holiday break. He is hoping the person could finally give him an answer by Friday. “If not, then we have to move on and check another person.”
Fourteen had shown interest in Wiseman’s former post and submitted their respective credentials to the administration. It was narrowed down to four after reviewing each candidate and consultations made with the CNMI Bar Association, lawyers, and other members of the community.
“Choosing Judge Wiseman’s replacement is not an easy task. We have to know the candidates’ background. Overall demeanor, personality, legal work, and prior cases are some of the guidelines that we set,” said Torres in an earlier interview.
He is keeping the name to himself and declined to even give a hint of the candidate.
Article IV, Section IV of the CNMI Constitution states that a “justice or judge shall be at least 35 years of age, a citizen or national of the United States, have resided in the Commonwealth for at least five years before appointment, never have been convicted of a felony or any crime involving moral turpitude, and been a member of the Commonwealth bar for five years.
Section V states the CNMI Senate will confirm the governor’s appointee and if confirmed the new judge will have a six-year term and a justice for eight years. The name of the judge or justice will then be placed on the ballot in the general election where the people would vote “Yes” or “No” to retain him or her to the post for another six-year term for a judge and eight years for a justice.
Wiseman informed then governor Eloy S. Inos of his retirement, effective May 2016, as CNMI Superior Court associate judge last October. He was the longest serving Superior Court judge, being on the bench for 15 years.