Superior Court Judges
Superior Court Judges

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NMI Superior Court Bench
NMI Superior Court Bench

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PRESIDING JUDGE

ROBERTO C. NARAJA

Presiding Judge Roberto C. Naraja was born on July 17, 1955 on Saipan. He received his B.S. in Political Science from California Lutheran College in 1979 and graduated with his Juris Doctor from Gonzaga School of Law in 1982.

The Superior Court is comprised of five judges and they are appointed by the Governor, confirmed by the Senate, and serve six-year terms. They may seek retention after each six-year term. The Presiding Judge generally oversees the functions of the court. The court has general jurisdiction and hears a variety of cases, including civil, criminal, probate, juvenile cases, administrative appeals, and traffic violations.

After receiving his law degree, Presiding Judge Naraja served as Assistant Legal Counsel to the CNMI Resident Representative to Washington, D.C. He subsequently worked as an Assistant Public Defender and then as an Assistant Attorney General. Presiding Judge Naraja has served both as the Chief Public Defender and as Attorney General. Thereafter, Presiding Judge Naraja ventured into private practice establishing his own law firm. 

JUDGE KENNETH L. GOVENDO

Associate Judge Kenneth L. Govendo was born in Syracuse, New York on January 28, 1945. In 1966, he graduated with his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Alfred University in Alfred, New York. In 1969, he obtained his Juris Doctor from the University of Toledo College of Law, in Toledo, Ohio.

After law school, Judge Govendo became a general practitioner in Redondo Beach, California, and worked part-time as a senior staff attorney for the Legal Aid Foundation of the South Bar Association. Upon moving to the Western Pacific, he served as District Attorney in Palau and as Assistant Attorney General on Saipan during the Trust Territory period. He also served as Assistant Legislative Counsel for the Fifth Northern Marianas District Legislature and was legal counsel for the Department of Natural Resources, Board of Elections, and Civil Service Commission. 

Judge Govendo has been a resident of the Northern Marianas since 1976. Throughout most of his career on Saipan, he has been a private practice lawyer handling a wide variety of cases. He served as legal counsel for Northern Marianas College for over a decade.

 

In 1985, Judge Govendo helped organize the Citizens Committee Against Nuclear Waste Dumping in the Ocean, and participated as an adviser to the Greenpeace delegation at the London Dumping Convention in a successful effort to thwart the Japanese government's plan to dump low level nuclear waste in the ocean 600 miles north of Saipan. He has been active in public land, economic development and environmental matters, both as an attorney and as a commentator.

 

From 2003 to 2017, Judge Govendo was the primary Family Court Judge in the Northern Marianas, handling divorce, paternity, custody, adoption, wardship, guardian and domestic violence cases. He has helped raised the community’s awareness about domestic violence and is responsible for setting up the Family Court’s Separating Parents Program, which is designed to help parents dealing with their children during a divorce or separation.

 

Judge Govendo handles civil, criminal, and traffic docket

Associate Judge Joseph James N. Camacho is a proud graduate of the Northern Marianas College, where he received his Associate of Arts degree. He went on to obtain a Bachelor of Arts in History from San Jose State University, a Masters of Public Administration from Seattle University, and a Juris Doctor from Gonzaga University School of Law.

Judge Camacho served as a prosecutor for the CNMI Office of the Attorney General before establishing his own law firm with his wife, who is also an attorney. He was admitted to practice law in the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the U.S. District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Commonwealth Courts. 

In 2007, he was elected to the 16th CNMI House of Representatives where he served as House Floor Leader.

 

On November 10, 2011, Judge Camacho ascended to the Superior Court.

 

Judge Camacho has a long-standing commitment to public service in the Commonwealth. He was a member of the Law Enforcement Explorer Program in his youth, a police officer with the CNMI Department of Public Safety (8th Police Academy), and an adjunct instructor at Northern Marianas College. He continues to support programs that educate the youth and the community about the law, including mock trial programs and the Summer Pre-Law Program.

JUDGE JOSEPH N. CAMACHO

ROBERTO C. NARAJA -PRESIDING JUDGE

Presiding Judge Naraja ascended to the Superior Court and served as an Associate Judge from November 2001 to March 2003. He was sworn in as Presiding Judge on March 28, 2003. In January 2010, he began serving as a Designated Judge for the District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands, a position he still serves.

 

Since 2003, Presiding Judge Naraja has been serving, and continues to serve, as a member of the Pacific Judicial Council. He has served as the Chairman of the Child Support Guidelines Committee, the Chairman for the Juvenile Rules Committee, and the Chairman of the Juvenile Justice Task Force. Presiding Judge

 

Naraja has begun re-organizing the Juvenile Justice Task Force. Presiding Judge Naraja is a member of the Judicial Council of the CNMI Judiciary.

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Associate Judge Teresa K. Kim-Tenorio ascended to the bench on December 22, 2013. In 1997, she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  In 2001, she graduated from New England School of Law with her Juris Doctor degree. Judge Kim-Tenorio is licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, the United States District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands, and the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

JUDGE TERESA K. KIM-TENORIO

In 2015, Judge Kim-Tenorio actively participated alongside other justice professionals in the implementation of the first ever Drug Court program in the CNMI. She oversees the program as the initial Drug Court judge.   

On March 8, 2016, at the recommendation of Chief Judge Ramona Manglona of the NMI District Court, Judge Kim-Tenorio was appointed by United States Courts for the Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Sidney R. Thomas to serve as a designated judge in the District Court.

In September 2017, Judge Kim-Tenorio was appointed to preside over the Family Court docket.

 

Judge Kim-Tenorio served as the legal counsel for the Honorable Eloy S. Inos, Governor of the CNMI, from February 2013 until her ascension in December 2013. Prior to that, she served as the legal counsel for the CNMI Lieutenant Governor, the CNMI Legislature, and was also in private practice.

Judge Kim-Tenorio greatly enjoys giving back to her community by volunteering much of her personal time to various organizations. Prior to becoming a judge, she served as a board member for the NMI chapter of the American Red Cross for almost nine years, an officer for the Marianas High School’s Parent Teacher Association (the largest high school in the CNMI), and a coordinator on the CNMI High School Mock Trial competition. She has also been a trustee for the NMI Judiciary Historical Society since 2005.

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Associate Judge Wesley M. Bogdan ascended to the bench in November 2017 following his nomination and upon receiving the consent of the Commonwealth Senate.  Immediately prior to his nomination, he worked as legal counsel and senior policy advisor in both the Office of the Lt. Governor and Office of the Governor during Governor Eloy Inos and Governor Ralph Torres’ Administrations.

 JUDGE WESLEY M. BOGDAN

Judge Bogdan grew up in New Mexico and received his B.A. degree from the University of Texas (Austin). He then attended law school and obtained a Juris Doctorate from the University of New Mexico School of Law in 1992. 

Judge Bogdan first came to the Northern Mariana Islands in 1994. He initially worked as an Assistant Attorney General for the CNMI Department of Commerce and Labor where he also served as a judicial hearing officer. He later worked with the Office of the Public Defender and thereafter joined a small private firm before opening his own law office as a solo practitioner.

Judge Bogdan then re-located to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and worked as the Deputy Director of the Legal Department of the Asian Football Confederation and as Legal Counsel to AFC’s then-President Zhang Jilong. Football (or soccer) has been a lifelong passion for Judge Bogdan who is also one of the founders and is still an active executive committee member of the Northern Mariana Island Football Association.

Judge Bogdan lists serving as legal counsel and policy advisor on behalf of the Commonwealth during the 2016-2017 Covenant Section 902 Consultations with the Government of the United States as one of his most challenging (and rewarding) legal experiences. He has also been active with the CNMI Bar Association and served as the Head of the Continuing Legal Education Committee and as a member of the Disciplinary Committee. Additionally, he has also taught at the Northern Mariana College and remains active as a part of Judiciary’s Mock Trial Competitions.

Judge Bogdan met his wife Tomoko on Saipan and they both truly appreciate being a part of this community for almost twenty-five years.