About the Office
The office is located on Saipan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), 125 miles north of Guam. The population is about 55,000 for all the islands, with Saipan accounting for approximately 50,000. The Public Defender (PD) serves all of the CNMI with cases pending on all three of the populated islands; Saipan, Tinian and Rota. We often need to use translators, as many clients do not speak English.
We are a 5-lawyer office with a support staff and an office manager, a legal assistant and an investigator. Budget is limited, so we therefore do much of our own investigation. Challenging the constitutionality of police actions and local statutes is integral to our practice and an evolving part of the law. We are a small office and need to support each other, so although attorneys in the office each have their own cases to attend to, we often cover court hearings and assignments for each other.
Saipan is about 15 miles long and 5 miles wide with lots of outdoor activities such as golf, snorkeling, scuba diving and fishing. There are several local sporting events such as golf tournaments, triathlons, on and of road bike and foot races, and swimming events.
There is a diverse population comprised of indigenous Carolinians and Chamorro as well as residents from nations throughout Asia and the U.S. mainland. The CNMI has the most equitable climate in the world, with temperatures around 80F and humidity at 80% year-round. There are two seasons: rainy from July through December and dry from January through June, when it's fairly dry and pleasant. There is one small public hospital and a few private clinics. There are travel opportunities to the other islands in the chain and its proximity to Asia and other Pacific Islands provides ample travel opportunities for the more adventurous.