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DPS not filing traffic citations online

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THE Department of Public Safety has not been complying with a CNMI Supreme Court order to have traffic citations filed electronically on File & Serve Express or FSX platform, Variety learned.

Asked for comment, DPS Commissioner Robert Guerrero said, “I am discussing it right now with the judiciary officials and I will issue a statement later.”

A source knowledgeable about the process told Variety that if DPS fails to file electronically, the cases and the fine money could be lost. “That order has been in place for some time, but DPS has been ignoring it,” said the source who declined to be identified.

In  a letter dated Aug. 23, 2020, Presiding Judge Roberto C. Naraja informed Attorney General Edward Manibusan and DPS Commissioner Robert A. Guerrero that traffic citations, which were processed manually and delivered in person by DPS officers, should now be filed online.

The judge said CNMI Supreme Court Administrative Order 2020-ADM-0006-RUL “generally mandates all case types to be electronically filed.”

The judge said there are two components of the online system: the filing side involves logging citation information onto the File & Serve Express platform while payments are processed through the NIC payment platform.

At a previous meeting, the judge said, two other matters were addressed: which agency, whether DPS or the AG’s office, would file the citations on FSX; and if there are any costs associated with the initial filing.

“It was determined and agreed that DPS, the standard bearer of the citations, will be responsible for filing the traffic citations online and will not incur a fee for such filing,” the judge said.

Due to the containment measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, remote access equipment and electronic platforms have become necessary tools in achieving data management efficiencies and promoting health and safety standards, Judge Naraja said.

For his part, Chief Prosecutor John Bradley told Variety: “Electronic filing saves time and money. It simplifies access to files. I’m glad that criminal cases are filed electronically and would be pleased to see citations added to that system.” 

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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