About the Pacific Islands Committee

The Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit established the Pacific Islands Committee to fulfill the oversight responsibilities of the Council and of the Judicial Conference of the United States with respect to the judiciaries of the American territories in the Pacific (American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) and of the former Trust Territories: the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. The United States assisted with the formation of the judiciaries in these islands and the Pacific Islands Committee is charged with monitoring their judicial development. Traditionally, the courts of the Pacific administered justice with modest levels of resources. 

The specific responsibilities of the Pacific Islands Committee include assisting in the development and provision of continuing judicial education and court professional training, and overall improvement of the administration of justice in the courts. The committee also has oversight responsibility for judicial education grants from the Department of the Interior which provide the funding for the training activities contained in this report.

The Pacific Islands Committee is composed of federal judges appointed by the chief judge of the Ninth Circuit.  The current membership includes:


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Hon. Frances Tydingco-Gatewood, President/Vice President
Chief Judge

Haley Gibbons
District Court of Guam
431A U.S. Courthouse
520 West Soledad Avenue
Hagatna, Guam 96910-4950
Telephone: (671) 473-9150
Facsimile: (671) 473-9186
Hon. F. Michael Kruse, Secretary
Chief Justice

Loli Ma’o
High Court of American Samoa
P.O. Box 309
Pago Pago, AS 96799
Telephone: (684) 633-1261
Facsimile: (684) 633-1318
Hon. Alberto C. Lamorena III, Treasurer
Presiding Judge

Evelyn C. Santos
Superior Court of Guam
Guam Judicial Center
120 West O’Brien Drive
Hagatna, Guam 96910
Telephone: (671) 475-3500
Hon. Alexandro C. Castro
Chief Justice

Irene San Nicolas
CNMI Supreme Court
P.O. Box 502165
Saipan, MP 96950
Telephone (670) 236-9709
(670) 236-9800
Facsimile: (670) 236-9702
Hon. F. Philip Carbullido
Chief Justice

Petrina Ula
Supreme Court of Guam
120 W. O'Brien Drive
Hagatna, Guam 96910
Telephone:(671) 475-3413
Hon. Nelson A. Joseph
Chief Justice

Cathy Welson
Pohnpei State Supreme Court
P.O. Box 1449
Kolonia, Pohnpei 96941
Telephone: (691) 320-5123/4
(691) 320-2355/5567
Facsimile: (691) 320-5126
Hon. Ramona V. Manglona
Chief Judge

Amanda Hayes
U.S. District Court for the NMI
P.O. Box 500687
Saipan, MP 96950
Telephone: (670) 236-2900
Facsimile: (670) 236-2911
Hon. Cyprian J. Manmaw
Chief Justice
Yap State Court
P.O. Box 308
Colonia, Yap State 96943
Telephone: (691) 350-2161/2
Facsimile: (691) 350-2327
Hon. Roberto C. Naraja
Presiding Judge

Lynette Camacho
CNMI Superior Court
P.O. Box 500307
Saipan, MP 96950
Telephone: (670) 235-4257
(670) 236-9750
Facsimile: (670)236-9742
Hon. Oldiais Ngiraikelau
Chief Justice

Lue Dee Kotaro
Palau Supreme Court
P.O. Box 248
Koror, Palau 96940
Telephone: (680) 488-2573
Facsimile: (680) 488-2708
Hon. Jayson Robert Acting
Chief Justice

Samina Soulik
Chuuk State Supreme Court
P.O. Box 187
Weno, Chuuk 96942
Telephone: (691) 330-2715
Facsimile: (691) 330-2228
Hon. Chang B. William
Chief Justice

Marston Luckymis
Kosrae State Court
P.O. Box 466
Lelu, Kosrae 96944
Telephone: (691) 370-3033
(691) 370-3185
Facsimile:   (691) 370-2870
Hon. Beauleen Carl-Worswick
Acting Chief Justice

Lorina Pernet
FSM Supreme Court
P.O. Box 898
Palikir, Pohnpei FM 96941
Telephone: (691) 320-2357
Facsimile: (691) 330-4206
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Overview of the Pacific Islands Judicial Education Program

The Department of the Interior appropriates funds each fiscal year to the Ninth Circuit to provide judicial training programs in the Pacific territories and Freely Associated States.  This funding, which is mandated by Congress, covers the cost of presenter/staff travel, training materials and the travel costs of attendees for judicial education programs developed for the American territories and former territories in the Pacific.  Each year, the Pacific Islands Committee of the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council provides Interior with a written report summarizing the programs and related expenses.

The courts of American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, the Marshall Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Palau participate in a wide variety of training programs designed to strengthen court governance and the rule of law, improve judicial systems and processes, and develop the skills of newly appointed judicial officers. The objectives of the training programs are as follows:

  • The training of judges to provide fair, impartial, and speedy justice, with a bench imbued with integrity, professionalism and competence
  • The training of court leaders with ethical principles to train court staff and lead courts in the 21st century
  • The training of lawyers to provide a pool of qualified candidates to fill future judicial vacancies
  • The training of court interpreters to provide access to justice to local communities
  • The training of probation officers, court security officers, and other court personnel to effectively and efficiently administer access to justice


Program Development

The Pacific Islands Committee of the Ninth Judicial Circuit, which oversees the delivery of judicial training in these island jurisdictions, works closely with the Education Committee of the Pacific Judicial Council [PJC] to plan, develop, and deliver judicial training and court development services locally. In addition, the Committee works independently with the leadership of the judiciary of the Republic of the Marshall Islands to coordinate training consistent with the goals established by the judiciary’s strategic plan and to provide scholarship opportunities to U.S. mainland trainings when those programs best serve the needs of the stakeholders. Compact Funds also support programs developed independently by the courts of the Federated States of Micronesia.


Target Audience

The assessment performed by the National Judicial College identifies the principal target audience for judicial training. This document, along with the FSM and RMI strategic plans, and the leadership of the judges who make up the PJC Education Committee, determine the training priorities each year. In fiscal year 2018, the highest educational needs have included practical training for probation officers, court administrators, and judicial officers. For judges, training focused on a wide variety of topics ranging from evidence, judicial writing, FAS/Territorial immigration issues, and attorney discipline.


Measuring the Impact of Judicial Training

Each program is evaluated to determine the impact of professional development on judicial (or staff) knowledge, beliefs/attitudes, and skills. Evaluation assures that the beneficiaries of this training have the knowledge and skills required to perform their judicial branch responsibilities with fairness and integrity. It preserves impartiality and access to the justice system; and ensures the administration of justice as well as public trust and confidence in the judicial branch.
For each program, ongoing evaluation is carried out to monitor cost efficiencies and evaluate program impact. To enable effective evaluation, precisely defined learning objectives are established for each program developed or attended by a funded participant. Careful evaluation of each program by participants is carried out and a summary reviewed by the program planning committee.
The effectiveness of the judicial education programs developed in FY 2014 in terms of learning gain, attitudinal or behavioral change, and improved professional conduct and performance was measured by a combination of the following:

  • Participant satisfaction and self-evaluation forms
  • Assessment of learning outcomes
  • Reports written and submitted by scholarship recipients and program attendees
  • A review of court annual reports.


Annual Reports