DRAFT CSC, Title 5. The Judiciary
 
CHAPTER 4
Justices, Judges, and Assessors

1031.  Composition and division of the State Supreme Court.
1032.  Qualifications of State Supreme Court Justices.
1033.  Disability of a Justice.
1034.  Compensation of State Supreme Court Justices.
1035.  Assessors.
1036.  Disqualification of Justices and Judges.
1037.  Judicial ethics.

      1031.  Composition and division of the State Supreme Court.
     (1)  The composition of the State Supreme Court shall conform to the provisions of Article VII of the Chuuk State Constitution, except that there shall be five Associate Justices.  The Chief Justice shall assign each of the five Associate Justices to serve as Circuit Justice for each of the five senatorial regions.  For the purpose of this Section, a Circuit Justice shall be responsible to his assigned region and shall perform such judicial duties and functions as prescribed by rule promulgated by the Chief Justice.

Source:  CSL 190-08, 12, modified.

Cross-reference:  The constitutional provisions on the composition of the Judicial branch of the Chuuk State Government are found in Art. VII, Section 2 of the Chuuk State Constitution.

      1032.  Qualifications of the State Supreme Court Justices.
     No person is eligible to serve as a State Supreme Court Justice unless he meets the requirements of Article VII, Section 9 of the Constitution and:

     (1)  is a graduate from an accredited law school in that jurisdiction and is admitted to the practice of law in any jurisdiction; or

     (2)  has at least 20 twenty years experience in practicing law or service as a judge.

Source:  CSL 190-08, 13.

      1033.  Disability of a Justice.

     (1)  A Justice of the State Supreme Court is temporarily disabled if he has a mental or physical condition or a combination thereof, which renders him unable to discharge the duties of his office for not more than six months;

     (2)  If an Associate Justice is disabled for more than six months, the office is deemed vacant and the Chief Justice shall certify this vacancy to the Governor.  The Governor shall, within one month of the certification of a vacancy, appoint an Associate Justice subject to confirmation of the Senate.

     (3)  If the Chief Justice is disabled for more than six months, the office is deemed vacant and the most senior Associate Justice shall certify this vacancy to the Governor.  The Governor shall, within one month upon receipt of such certification, appoint a new Chief Justice subject to confirmation of the Senate.

     (4)  If the Chief Justice is disabled, the most senior Associate Justice shall serve as Chief Justice until the Chief Justice's disability is removed, or until a new Chief Justice is confirmed by the Senate.  For the purpose of this Section, an Associate Justice is most senior according to the seniority of his commission but if two or more Associate Justices have commissions bearing the same date, the one most senior in age is the most senior Associate Justice.

     (5)  If an Associate Justice is disabled, the Chief Justice may appoint a temporary justice, who shall have the same qualifications of an Associate Justice, to serve until the disability of the Associate Justice is  removed, or until a new Associate Justice is confirmed by the Senate.  A temporary justice who has served for more than two months may be removed by joint resolution of the Legislature, or by the Governor, or by the Chief Justice.  A temporary justice shall receive the same salary as the Associate Justice he replaced.

Source:  CSL 190-08, 14.

Cross-reference:  The constitutional provisions on the composition of the Judicial branch of the Chuuk State Government are found in Art. VII, Section 2 of the Chuuk State Constitution.

      1034.  Composition Compensation of State Supreme Court Justices.
     The State Supreme Court Chief Justice shall be entitled to an annual salary of $34,000.  A State Supreme Court Associate Justice shall be entitled to an annual salary of $32,000.

Source:  CSL 190-08, 15.

Cross-reference:  The constitutional provisions on compensation for justices and judges for the Judicial branch of the Chuuk State Government are found in Art. VII, Section 10 of the Chuuk State Constitution.

      1035.  Assessors.
     Any justice or municipal judge may appoint one or more assessors to advise him at the trial of any case with respect to tradition and custom or other matters of law.

Source:  CSL 190-08, 21.

      1036.  Disqualification of Justices and Judges.
 
     (1)  A justice or a municipal judge may not hear any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned;

     (2)  A justice or a municipal judge may not hear any proceeding in any of the following circumstances:

     (a)  Where he has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party or his counsel, or personal knowledge of dispute evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding;

     (b)  Where in private practice he served as lawyer or a trial assistant in the matter in controversy, or a lawyer or trial assistant with whom he previously practiced law served during such association as lawyer or trial assistant concerning the matter, or the Justice or municipal judge or such lawyer or trial assistant has been a material witness concerning it.  The term private practice shall include practice with legal services or public defender organizations;

     (c)  Where he knows that he, individually or as fiduciary or his spouse or minor child residing in his household has a financial interest in the subject matter in controversy or is a party to the proceeding, or any other interest that could be substantially affected by the out come of the proceeding; or

     (d)  Where he or his spouse, or a person within a close relationship to either of them, or the spouse of such person is:

     (i)  a party to the proceeding, or an officer, director, or trustee of a party;

     (ii)  acting as a lawyer or trial assistant in the proceeding;

     (iii)  known by the justice or municipal judge to have an interest that could by be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding; or

     (iv)  to the justice's or municipal judge's knowledge likely to be a material witness in the proceeding.

     (3)  For the purposes of this Section the following phrases shall have the meaning indicated:

     (a)  "proceeding" includes pretrial, trial, appellate review or other stage of litigation;
 
     (b)  "financial interest" means ownership of a legal or equitable interest, however small, or a relationship as a director, advisor, or other active participant in the affairs of a party, except that:

     (i)  ownership in a mutual or common investment fund that holds securities is not a "financial interest" in such securities unless the judge participates in the management of the fund or if the outcome of the proceeding could substantially affect the value of the fund;

     (ii)  an office or membership in an educational, religious, charitable, or civic organization is a "financial interest"  in securities held by the organization only if the outcome of the proceeding could substantially affect the value of the securities;

     (iii)  the proprietary interest of a policy holder in a mutual insurance company, of a member of a cooperative association or credit union, or a similar proprietary interest, is a "financial interest" in the organization only if the outcome of the proceeding could substantially affect the value of the interest; and

     (iv)  ownership of government securities is a "financial interest" in the issuer only if the outcome of the proceeding could substantially affect the value of the securities;

     (4)  No justice shall accept from the parties to the proceeding a waiver of any ground for disqualification enumerated in subsection (2) of this Section. Where the ground for disqualification arises only under subsection (1) of this Section, waiver may be accepted provided it is preceded by a full disclosure on the record of the basis for disqualification.

     (5)  A party may move to disqualify a Justice or a municipal judge for one of the reasons stated in subsection (1) or (2) of this Section.  The motion shall be accompanied by an affidavit stating the reasons for the belief that grounds for disqualification exist, and shall be filed before the trial or hearing unless good cause is shown for filing it at a later time.  Upon receipt of such motion, the Justice shall refer the motion to another Justice, to hear the motion and rule upon it.

Source:  CSL 190-08, 22.

Cross-reference:  The constitutional provisions on the composition of the Judicial branch of the Chuuk State Government are found in Art. VII, Section 2 of the Chuuk State Constitution.

      1037.  Judicial ethics.
     Justices and municipal judges shall adhere to the standards of the Code of Judicial Conduct of the American Bar Association except as otherwise provided by law or rule.  The Chief Justice may by rule prescribe stricter or additional standards.

Source:  CSL 190-08, 25.