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Chapter 10 - Justices and Judges

Chapter 10 - Justices and Judges

3.1001 Chief and Associate Justices-Appointment.


(a) There shall be a Chief Justice of American Samoa and an Associate Justice of American Samoa. Each shall be learned in the law and appointed by the Secretary of the Interior.

(b) Subject to any applicable limitations contained in the statutes of the United States, each shall hold office during his good behavior, but may be removed by the Secretary of the Interior for cause.

3.1002 Powers and duties.


(a) The Chief Justice and the Associate Justice shall be members of the High Court and, sitting separately, shall preside at all its divisions.

(b) The Chief Justice shall have power from time to time to designate the associate judges who shall sit with him in the sessions of the trial, land and titles and appellate divisions of the High Court presided over by him, and also to designate the Associate Justice and the associate judges who are to sit with the Associate Justice in sessions of the trial, land and titles and appellate divisions of the High Court presided over by the Associate Justice.

(c) The Chief Justice shall have administrative supervision over the High Court of American Samoa, the District Court and the village courts and their judges, magistrates, clerks and other officers. He may make rules regulating the pleading, practice, procedure and conduct of business in all the courts of American Samoa.

(d) The Chief Justice shall have exclusive power to admit qualified persons as attorneys-at-law to practice generally in the courts of American Samoa or as legal practitioners to represent parties in the courts in matai or land title or other special classes of cases only, and may for cause discipline and disbar them.

3.1003 Acting Chief Justice.


In the event of the disability, disqualification, or absence from the territory of the Chief Justice or in case of a vacancy in that office, the duties of the Chief Justice shall be performed temporarily by one of the following designees as Acting Chief Justice, in the order of precedence listed; in case of the disability, disqualification, or absence from the territory of any of those listed, the next in order of precedence shall serve as Acting Chief Justice:

(1) Associate Justice (if more than one, in order of seniority in office);

(2) acting Associate Justice (if more than one, in order of seniority in office).

3.1004 Associate judges-Appointment-Term.


(a) There shall be no less than 5 associate judges of the High Court of American Samoa, who shall be appointed by the Governor upon the recommendation of the Chief Justice and who shall be confirmed by the Senate.

(b) The Chief Justice shall designate one of the associate judges as the Chief Associate Judge.

(c) The Chief Associate Judge shall, under the general supervision of the Chief Justice, supervise the administrative affairs of the Associate Judges and shall also perform any other duties assigned him by the Chief Justice.

(d) An associate judge shall hold office during good behavior, but he may be removed by the Chief Justice for cause. Upon attaining the mandatory retirement age of 65, he must be separated from government employment unless the separation requirement is waived by the Governor. Immediately after retirement, he shall be added to the panel of temporary associate judges and shall not be subject to confirmation provisions of subsection (b) of 3.1006.

3.1005 Associate judges-Powers.


The associate judges of the High Court shall sit in those sessions of the High Court to which they are designated by the Chief Justice from time to time unless disqualified under 3.1007.

3.1006 Temporary associate judges.


(a) If, for any reason, associate judges are not available at any time for designation in sufficient numbers to constitute the appellate, trial, or land and titles divisions of the High Court, the Chief Justice may designate other persons to act temporarily as associate judges of the High Court. The designation of temporary associate judges shall be made from a panel of persons whom the Governor, upon the recommendation of the Chief Justice, has designated as qualified for temporary service.

(b) Either individually or as a panel, temporary associate judges shall be confirmed by the Senate after recommendation by the Chief Justice and designation by the Governor, in the same manner as the regular 5 associate judges undersubsection (a) of 3.1004.

(c) Temporary associate judges shall be removed from the panel upon attaining the age of 70.

3.1007 Disqualification of judges.


(a) No judge shall sit in any case in which he, or a family of which he is a member, has a substantial interest, or in which he has been counsel, is or has been a material witness, or is a member of the same family with any party to the case.

(b) Neither the Chief Justice, nor the Associate Justice, nor any associate judge of the High Court shall sit in the appellate division of that court in the hearing and determination of any appeal from the decision of a case or question decided by him, or the decision of which he joined in the trial court.

3.1008 Testimony by justices and judges barred.


It shall be unlawful for the Chief Justice, the Associate Justice, the district court judges, or any associate judge to descend from the bench to give sworn testimony in a

case before him.

3.1009 Prohibition against practice of law.


No justice, judge or employee of the High Court of American Samoa, the district court or the village courts may practice law during his time of office or employment. This prohibition applies to temporary as well as full time judges and justices. A judge pro tempore may practice law when not sitting as assigned by the Chief Justice.

3.1010 District court judges-Term.


(a) There are one or more district court judges. A district court judge shall be learned in the law and appointed by the Governor upon the recommendation of the Chief Justice and confirmed by the Senate.

(b) One or more district court judges may be designated as judges pro tempore at the time of their appointment. A district court judge pro tempore has all the powers and duties of a full time district court judge while sitting as assigned by the Chief Justice.

(c) A district court judge shall hold office during good behavior, but he may be removed by the Chief Justice for cause.

(d) Salaries of the district court judges are fixed by the Chief Justice.

3.1011 District court judges-Powers.


The district court judges, sitting separately, shall preside at all sessions of the district court unless disqualified under 3.1007.