IN THE

SUPREME COURT

OF THE

COMMONWEALTH OF THE NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS

IN RE COURT OPERATIONS AND PROCEEDINGS
IN RESPONSE TO NOVEL CORONAVIRUS DISEASE

SUPREME COURT NO. 2020-ADM-0002-MSC

ORDER

¶ 1 On March 13, 2020, President Donald J. Trump declared a national emergency in response to the
public health threat posed by the pandemic novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). On March 17, 2020,
Governor Ralph DLG. Torres declared a state of public health emergency and continued the state of
significant emergency in an amended Executive Order 2020-04. In the executive order, Governor Torres
announced that COVID-19 constitutes a significant public health threat, urging residents to take
precautionary measures, and implementing a number of directives.

¶ 2 In light of these measures, and to protect the health and safety of court employees and the general
public, under the Supreme Court’s inherent and supervisory powers in Article IV, Section 3 of the NMI
Constitution and 1 CMC § 3401(a), the Court ORDERS the following:

A. General Administrative Provisions

(1) Effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020 until Friday, April 3, 2020, the following Judiciary facilities
shall be closed to the public:

a. Guma’ Hustisia, Susupe, Saipan;
b. Kotten Tinian, San Jose, Tinian;
c. Centron Hustisia, Sinapalo, Rota;
d. Judiciary alternate sites:

i. Marianas Business Plaza, Susupe, Saipan;
ii. Drug Court Division at Sister Remedios Community Center, Chalan Kanoa,
Saipan;
iii. Office of Adult Probation Supervision Satellite Office, Susupe, Saipan; and
iv. Law Revision Commission, Susupe, Saipan.

(2) Essential court operations shall continue, consistent with this Order.
(3) Judiciary employees will receive direction from their respective managers as to work reporting
requirements.

B. Supreme Court

(1) All electronic filing and service deadlines and procedures remain in effect.

C. Superior Court Criminal Actions scheduled between Tuesday, March 17, 2020 and Friday, April
3, 2020

(1) All criminal trials are continued. The Superior Court shall promptly issue an order re-setting a
trial date or a telephonic or video status conference.
(2) All other criminal proceedings, such as initial appearances, arraignments, and detention
hearings shall proceed as scheduled and be conducted by telephonic or video conferencing
when possible.

D. Superior Court Traffic Cases scheduled between Tuesday, March 17, 2020 and Friday, April 3,
2020

(1) All traffic proceedings are continued unless otherwise ordered by the Superior Court.
(2) All payments for citations are extended until the continued hearing date.

E. Superior Court Civil Actions scheduled between Tuesday, March 17, 2020 and Friday, April 3,
2020

(1) All civil trials are continued. The Superior Court shall promptly issue an order re-setting a trial
date or a telephonic or video status conference.
(2) All civil motions and conferences may be heard telephonically or by video conference, as
ordered by the Superior Court.

F. Superior Court Small Claims Cases scheduled between Tuesday, March 17, 2020 and Friday,
April 3, 2020

(1) All small claims proceedings shall be continued pending further order by the Superior Court.

G. Drug Court Cases scheduled between Tuesday, March 17, 2020 and Friday, April 3, 2020

(1) Drug Court case management, proceedings, and meetings shall be conducted electronically,
telephonically, or by video conference.

H. Superior Court Filing & Service between Tuesday, March 17, 2020 and Friday, April 3, 2020

(1) Unless otherwise ordered, all existing civil and criminal case filing deadlines remain in effect.
(2) Instead of in-person filings, all criminal case filings shall be submitted by email to
court.info@NMIJudiciary.com. If electronic filing (“e-filing”) is impossible, documents may
be submitted via registered mail.
(3) Instead of in-person filings, all civil case filings will be accepted by the following methods:

a. E-filing;
b. If e-filing is unavailable, documents may be filed by email to
court.info@NMIJudiciary.com; or
c. If e-filing is impossible, documents may be submitted by registered mail.

(4) Any filing that requires payment of a filing fee shall be paid online if available, but if court
users cannot do so, filing fees will be deferred until Monday, April 6, 2020.
(5) All service of documents shall be through electronic means or by registered mail.
¶ 3 Effective immediately, the following are prohibited from entering Judiciary facilities:

a. Persons who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have been directed to quarantine,
isolate, or self-monitor;
b. Persons who have been to a country identified by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention as having a COVID-19 outbreak inclusive of China, Iran, Japan, South Korea,
and European countries within the last 14 days; or
c. Persons who reside with or have been in close contact with someone who has been in any
of the aforementioned countries in the last 14 days.

¶ 4 This Order will be revised as circumstances warrant.

SO ORDERED this 17th day of March, 2020.

/s/
ALEXANDRO C. CASTRO
Chief Justice


/s/
JOHN A. MANGLONA
Associate Justice


/s/
PERRY B. INOS
Associate Justice

For a copy of the order, click here.


IN THE
SUPREME COURT
OF THE
COMMONWEALTH OF THE NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS
_______________________________________

2020 ORAL ARGUMENT CALENDAR
_______________________________________

SUPREME COURT NO. 2019-ADM-0016-MSC
_______________________________________

ORDER

The 2020 oral argument calendar shall be as follows:
First Quarter: February 3 – 14, 2020
Second Quarter: April 20 – May 1, 2020
Third Quarter: August 17 – 28, 2020
Fourth Quarter: October 19 – 30, 2020

Certain cases may be designated for a hearing on Rota, Tinian, or Saipan in each quarter. Hearings on Rota and Tinian may be scheduled outside the designated oral argument sessions. To ensure that the cases are heard and disposed of at the earliest possible date, the Court will only grant motions to continue oral argument in cases where counsel’s unavailability on the scheduled hearing date is due to illness, death in the family, or upon showing of other good cause. This Order does not supersede a panel’s discretion to address a matter and issue a decision without oral argument as provided for under NMI Supreme Court Rule 34, or to hold a hearing for an emergency motion under NMI Supreme Court Rule 27-1.

SO ORDERED this 18th day of September, 2019.

_/s/______________________________
ALEXANDRO C. CASTRO
Chief Justice

_/s/______________________________
JOHN A. MANGLONA
Associate Justice

_/s/______________________________
PERRY B. INOS
Associate Justice

Oral Argument Calendar
4th Quarter 2019 Oral Argument Calendar