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Trial and Appellate Divisions


GCO No. 3-2020


Promulgated August 241h, 2020

WHEREAS, certain sections of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures for Attorneys and Trial Counselors Practicing in the Pohnpei State Supreme Court are ambiguous and may be read to require the respondent attorney to provide an answer to a formal complaint before the disciplinary counsel has completed the preliminary investigation;

WHEREAS, these problematic sections may be clarified by re-organization of selected paragraphs and the introduction of clarifying language;

WHEREAS, the sole purpose of these amendments is to clarify existing rules and correct obvious oversights and omissions, not to promulgate new rules requiring public notice and hearing;

NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to the authority granted to the Pohnpei Supreme Court under Article 10, Section 10 of the Pohnpei Constitution and 4 PC § 2-102, the Court hereby amends the Disciplinary Rules and Procedure for Attorneys and Trial Counselors Practicing in the Pohnpei State Supreme Court as follows:

Rule 4(b)

Rule 4(b) shall read as follows: All complaints concerning violations of these rules shall be referred to the Chief Justice. The Chief Clerk of the Supreme Court shall then assign the complaint a disciplinary proceeding docket number and open a file. The Chief Justice shall undertake, or cause to be undertaken by another Justice of the Supreme Court, a preliminary review of the charge. The reviewing Justice may dismiss the complaint ifs/he determines that it is plainly without merit. If the reviewing Justice determines that further action is justified, the Chief Justice shall appoint a Disciplinary Counsel to investigate the complaint and to prosecute the same before the Supreme Court.


Rule 4(c)

Rule 4(c) shall read as follows: Upon appointment the Disciplinary Counsel shall forthwith notify the respondent attorney of the substance of the complaint and permit him to submit evidence and argument relative thereto. The Disciplinary Counsel shall investigate to the extent necessary the allegations of the complaint, and shall submit within thirty (30) days a written report of findings and recommendations to the reviewing Justice. An extension of time for filing the report may be granted for good cause shown. No report shall be submitted until the respondent attorney has had an opportunity to submit to the Disciplinary Counsel any arguments, evidence, or statements related to the substance of the complaint.

Rule 5(b)

Rule S(b) shall read as follows: If after a review of the investigation report conducted in accordance with Rule 4, the reviewing Justice determines the matter warrants further consideration, the reviewing Justice shall direct the Disciplinary Counsel to file a formal complaint within ten days and shall schedule the matter for a formal hearing in accordance with Rule S(c). The respondent attorney shall serve his/her answer upon the Disciplinary Counsel and file the original with the Court within twenty (20) days after service of the complaint, unless such time is extended by the Court. ln the event the respondent attorney fails to answer, the charges shall be deemed admitted.

Effective Date

These amendments shall become effective upon the signature of at least three Justices and entry by the Clerk of Court. The amendments shall apply to all disciplinary proceedings occurring on or after the effective date, including all portions of previously-docketed proceedings which occur on or after the effective date.

IT IS SO ORDERED this 24th day of August, 2020