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Book funded by Northern Marianas’ Council for Humanities

By Ferdie de la Torre SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, May 13, 2011) - The CNMI Judiciary wrapped up yesterday its Law Day activities with the official launching of a history book, The Northern Mariana Islands Judiciary: A Historical Overview.

In a ceremony at the CNMI Supreme Court, Lt. Gov. Eloy Inos and House Speaker Eli Cabrera were the first to receive official copies of the book.

Rep. Joseph Palacios, former Superior Court associate judge Timothy Bellas, media representatives, and other community members, were also presented copies of the 87-page book.

At least 200 books will be distributed to schools, the Joeten Kiyu Library, and other organizations.

The book’s contributing authors are former CNMI Supreme Court law clerk Arin Greenwood, former judge Timothy Bellas, retired chief justice Jose S. Dela Cruz, CNMI Supreme Court law clerks Steven Gardiner and Mia Giacomazzi, Dr. Dirk H.R. Spennemann, Dr. Dirk Anthony Ballendorf of the University of Guam, and Dan MacMeekin.

The book’s release is a collective effort of the CNMI Judiciary and the Northern Marianas Judiciary Historical Society, with grant funding provided by the NMI Council for the Humanities.

Chief Justice Miguel S. Demapan said this book wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of members of the NMI Council for the Humanities and the NMI Judiciary Historical Society.

He said project has been ongoing for many years now, with the delay in its publication mainly due to lack of funds and the rotation of some of the Judiciary’s staff.

"Regardless of the passage of time, we still had the resolve and commitment to finish it and present it to all of you. Today, I am happy to say that we have completed our project and that I hope you enjoy reading it," he said.

Associate Justice John A. Manglona said the book’s release is an important step to remember the past and add on to the small but growing collection of historical writings about the islands.

Just a quick look at the names and photos in the book will "vitalize memory," Manglona said, quoting the philosopher Cicero.

"Some of you probably remember Judge Ignacio V. Benavente, Judge Felipe Salas, Judge Elias Sablan of Saipan, Judge Fortunato Manglona of Rota, Judge Henry V. Hofschneider of Tinian. Then there was Trust Territory Judge Arvin Brown Jr. and District Judge Alfred Laureta," Manglona said.

These people, he said, are mentioned in the book "so as to vitalize our memory and pass the information down to the next generation."

Steven Gardiner said the book includes landmark cases over the last three decades and contains a list of every judge in the Marianas since 1948.

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