Mr. Governor, You late asked me to set about and tremendous undertaking of making a new tribunal system for the 53rd province of Puerto Rico. I took the lineation from three province tribunal systems of New York, Alaska, and Colorado. I divided the State into 4 equal parts to administer the tribunals every bit.
The current Judicial System is directed by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is formed by 7 Judgess ( a head justness and six associate justnesss ) named by the Governor. The construction of the Judicial System includes a Court of Appeals, Superior Court, a District Court ( civil & A ; condemnable ) , and Municipal Court. There are 12 judicial territories. The State of Puerto Rico besides has a territory tribunal comparable to those of the provinces of US. Each territory tribunal has at least one territory justice and can hold more than a mark of territory Judgess, every bit good as a clerk, a United States Attorney, a United States Marshall, one or more United States Magistrates, bankruptcy Judgess, probation officers, tribunal newsmans, and their staffs. Each province has a tribunal system that is independent of the Federal Court system. State tribunals have test tribunals at the bottom degree ( small town, town ) and appellant tribunals at the top. Some provinces have two appellant degrees ; Puerto Rico will be set up to hold merely one appellant tribunal.
Town Courts or Village Courts
Town and small town tribunals have legal power over a wide scope of affairs including vehicle and traffic Torahs, little claims, evictions, civil and condemnable affairs. The Town and small town tribunals will play a critical function in the 78 municipalities of Puerto Rican Court System. These tribunals have wide legal power and they hear both civil and condemnable affairs.
On the civil side, the Town and Village Courts hear actions seeking pecuniary awards up to $ 3,000 and little claims proceedings for awards up to $ 3,000. These tribunals besides handle landlord/tenant affairs that may ensue in an eviction every bit good as a money judgement for back rent that is due. Town and Village Courts are best known for their little claims parts. Small claims proceedings are intended to supply a low-cost, simplified and informal process for persons to decide differences affecting limited pecuniary claims. Often single litigators do non utilize an lawyer in these affairs and are non required to make so.
On the condemnable side, these tribunals are authorized to manage affairs affecting the prosecution of misdemeanours and misdemeanors that are committed within the towns or small towns geographic boundaries. The Town and Village Courts besides conduct arraignments and preliminary hearings in felony affairs. In add-on, these tribunals hear Vehicle and Traffic Law misdemeanours and traffic misdemeanors. Town and Village Justices are required to be on-call 24 hours a twenty-four hours and are frequently called upon to arraign misdemeanour and felony charges every bit good as to move as Family Court Judgess when Family Court is non in session. In instances affecting domestic force, the Judgess are besides authorized to publish orders of protection.
In NY, town and small town justnesss are elected to four twelvemonth footings. This will be the same for Puerto Rico. The bulk are non lawyer. In order to function as a town or small town justness must finish a enfranchisement class and take part in ongoing judicial instruction. With the new Puerto Rican tribunals all Judgess whether they are town, small town, or the highest in the province will all hold to be lawyers presently practising for a lower limit of 2 old ages. They will hold to subject their name to the local election functionaries to acquire their name on a ballot. The people of the local town or small town will hold to elect the justness to a two old ages term. With the town and small town justnesss they will hold a upper limit of 5 two twelvemonth footings. In the event of a decease or surrender of a justness while presently functioning, but before the terminal of his or her term, the local city manager or highest elected functionary of that municipal will hold to name a justice pro-tem. The city manager will choose the justice with in a selected period of clip. When the deceased justice ‘s term is up and the impermanent justice is on the bench, he or she will hold to travel through the procedure to be official elected to the bench. Puerto Rico, will besides pattern its Justice choice based on, Alaska ‘s Constitution that provides for the virtue choice of Judgess. The Judicial Council is required to test judicial appliers based on their ability to be just and competent Judgess, instead than their political parts, party connexions or how good they look on Television.
Municipal or County Courts
Puerto Rico is traveling to be divided in to 4 different counties. Within these four counties will be Municipal or County tribunals. Within the County Courts will be Family Court, Juvenile Court, revenue enhancement tribunal, little claims tribunal and drug tribunal. The County tribunal is the tribunal of original legal power. They will cover with felony or high misdemeanour instances. There are two types of Judgess in the County tribunal: County Judgess and associate Judgess. County Judgess are elected for a six twelvemonth term and may be retained by electors for extra six twelvemonth footings. They can hear any County tribunal instance. County Judgess are ab initio elected either County-wide, from the county where they reside or from a sub County within a county, depending on the type of vacancy they are make fulling. Associate Judgess are appointed by County Judgess, pursuant to Supreme Court regulations, for four-year footings. An associate justice can hear any instance, except condemnable instances punishable by a prison term of one twelvemonth or more ( felonies ) . An associate justice can be specially authorized by the Supreme Court to hear all condemnable instances. There are three sub-courts within the County Courts legal power within the province of Puerto Rico that will manage all household related instance, juvenile instances and drug tribunals.
Juvenile Court- Children who have been arrested and held may be brought straight to household tribunal by the Police, or when tribunal is non in session, may be held overnight in a detainment installation until the following tribunal twenty-four hours. In the option, a kid may be arrested and released after being given an “ visual aspect ticket ” directing him or her to look in tribunal on a certain day of the month. In tribunal, the kid and his parent or defender are given a transcript of the request. For a “ respondent ” to be eligible to hold his or her instance before the household tribunal, they must be non be charged with slaying, snatch, colza 1st grade, or any 1st degree drug charges.
Drug Courts- These tribunals are interdisciplinary, non-adversarial judicial procedures ; they are a new coaction in the manner the justness trades with drug wrongdoers. Upon the wrongdoer voluntary entry into court-supervised plans, non violent wrongdoers become portion of the drug tribunal. Rules of engagement are defined clearly in a contract agreed upon by the suspect, the suspect ‘s lawyer, the territory lawyer and the tribunal. The regulations of the drug tribunals must be followed. It is an 18 month plan. The wrongdoer must seek or maintain employment, intervention, reding and run into on a regular basis with the tribunal. If an wrongdoer violates these regulations or fails to finish the drug -treatment plan, so the wrongdoer can confront being sent to prison and have a condemnable record. If the wrongdoer completes the plan so he or she is released on a conditional probation. This plan is non intended to be abused. If an wrongdoer comes before the tribunal on three separate occasions so it is automatic prison sentence. Puerto Rico will hold 4 drug tribunals per county.
Family Court- A The Family Court has legal power to hear all requests for divorce and any gestures in concurrence with divorce proceedings, such as belongings distribution, maintenance, support, kid detention, and orders of protection. It hears requests for separate care and ailments sing support for parents and kids. It has legal power over affairs associating to delinquent, wayward, dependant, neglected, abused, or mentally lacking or broken kids. It besides has legal power over acceptances, kid matrimonies, paternity proceedings, and other affairs affecting domestic dealingss and juveniles.
Tax Court: – Puerto Rico will follow a Tax Court similar to Indiana. The Tax Court has sole Jurisdiction over any instance that involves under the Tax Law of the State of Puerto Rico and that is an initial visual aspect of the concluding finding made by the Revenue Department or Tax Review Department. It will besides hold legal power over entreaties of heritage revenue enhancement, new revenue enhancements applied to Non-taxable entities.
Small Claims Court- This tribunal will hold the authorization to hear and make up one’s mind instance that involve little claim instances in which the complainant is seeking money judgement of up to $ 4,500.00. Before they can continue to a contested hearing before the tribunal, parties are required to run into with a go-between to see whether they can decide the instance by understanding. If the parties can non make an understanding, the go-between will inform the tribunal. The complainants will hold to attest under curse and the Judge has to authority to acknowledge all grounds that he or she see as holding probatory value. The complainant must turn out the elements to win their instance.
.Any instance heard either little claims, revenue enhancement, household, or juvenile tribunal can be appealed to the Court of Appeals.
Puerto Rico Court of Appeals will run into on a regular basis in Ponce, which is Puerto Rico 2nd largest metropolis. The Court of Appeals for Puerto Rico has the authorization to hear entreaties in instances affecting condemnable prosecution, station strong belief, juvenile delinquency, extradition, habeas principal, word and probation condemning affairs and bond. The Court of Appeals will dwell of a 5 panel justice system holding one Chief Judge and four Associate Judges. The Judges will be selected by the Governor and will hold to hold the State Legislature ‘s blessing or verification to be appointed. Judge on the Court of Appeals will function a term of 10 old ages. They can be re-selected under the current Governor to function an extra 10 old ages, non to transcend a soap of 20 old ages. The tribunal of entreaties has legal power to hear entreaties in instances affecting condemnable prosecutions, post-conviction alleviation, juvenile delinquency, extradition, habeas principal, probation and word, bond, and the inordinateness or leniency of a sentence: Merit Appeals- ( issues refering the virtues of a strong belief ) or Sentence Appeals- ( the inordinateness or lenience of a sentence ) – The tribunal of entreaties must hear entreaties from concluding determinations by the superior tribunal or the territory tribunal. Petitions – The tribunal of entreaties may exert its discretion to hear entreaties of non-final determinations from the superior tribunal or the territory tribunal or from concluding determinations of the superior tribunal on reappraisal of the territory tribunal ‘s determinations. Original Applications – The tribunal of entreaties may exert its discretion to hear instances in which alleviation can non be obtained from the tribunal through one of the above types of entreaties ( Alaska Court Systems ) . Support staff for each justice consists of one secretary and one jurisprudence clerk, although a justice may hold two jurisprudence clerks, one of which typically performs secretarial work. Each is a confidential employee and serves at the pleasance of the justice. Staff for the full tribunal includes the Reporter of Decisions and the clerk of the tribunal and his eight employees. Further, there are 19 full-time staff lawyers with a little support staff, whose activities and maps are described below. In all, there are about 105 employees, including Judgess ( Colorado State Judicial Branch, Protocols ) .
State Supreme Court
The Puerto Rico Supreme Court is the highest tribunal within the province. Its determinations are adhering within the State. It is located in Puerto Rico ‘s largest metropolis and capitol, San Juan. The State Supreme Court meets 4 times a twelvemonth to hear instances from the Court of Appeals. The Supreme in non a tribunal of original legal power, but merely in instances of lese majesty high offenses or misdemeanour and misconduct affecting the Governor or Legislators, statues which are held to be unconstitutional. The Court is made up of nine Judgess, one Chief Justice which is besides the caput of the Puerto Rico Judicial System. , and eight associate Judgess. The Judges are selected by the Governor, and need Legislative blessing. A vacancy in a judicial place occurs when a justice dies, retires, resigns, or is removed from office. The Judges of the Supreme Court shall be at least 30 old ages of age, of good moral character, holding no or any pending misconduct charges against them within the last two old ages, be certified and practising lawyer with in Puerto Rico, citizen of the United States and two old ages a occupant of the State, and who has been a practising attorney eight old ages, or whose service upon the bench of any tribunal of record, when added to the clip he may hold practiced jurisprudence, shall be equal to eight old ages ( Arkansas Judiciary ) .
Ethical motives for Judges
A critical issue is how to judge the Judgess. Judges, with the exclusion of parttime municipal tribunal Judgess, are prohibited from prosecuting in the private pattern of jurisprudence while functioning in a judicial place. A Judicial Conduct committee will be created as an arm of the Governor. The Commission will dwell of Judgess, lawyers, and other designees the Governor sees fit. Judges and lawyers with Puerto Rican tribunals are traveling to be held to a higher criterion. Like other provinces Judgess will and make hold discretion in make up one’s minding instance. These determinations will be based on the Puerto Rican fundamental law, and jurisprudence. Judges may take to condemn a felon to probation, community service, or prison. This Commission will convene to make up one’s mind on whether a Judge will confront countenances, which will run from written rebukes to suspension to being removed from the bench. Systems for taking or discipline unfit Judgess will fall to this committee. Like Indiana ‘s regulations, Puerto Rico ‘s judicial officers may be disciplined for any of the undermentioned ground, but non limited to. Conviction of felonies, moral depravity, wilful and relentless failure to execute responsibilities, wilful misconduct while in office, repeated failure to adhere to regulations of processs. Most judicial misconduct involves some signifier of corruptness. Including but non limited to, condemnable charges, payoffs, improper behavior affecting a individual before their tribunal. Some countenances that can be levied upon a Judge are removal, suspension, mulct, reprimands or retirement. A retirement does non hold to be for disciplinary grounds. A judicial officer may be involuntarily retired when a physical or mental disablement earnestly interferes with the public presentation of judicial responsibilities. Even though Judges have discretion in passing out sentences, the committee will reexamine sentences that appear to non suit the offense. If a justice hands down a sentence to a suspect because he or she is excessively little for prison, so the committee can reexamine the sentence, but non over turn it. The intent of the reappraisal is to make up one’s mind if the Judge needs to confront countenances. When a Judge is presiding over a condemnable or civil affair and that Judge knows the client or suspect, or has any impartial cognition of the instance he/she must take themselves from presiding over the instance. This is to forestall any nonpartisanship or visual aspect thereof.
The intent of attorney subject proceedings is to protect the populace and the disposal of justness from attorneies who have non discharged, will non dispatch, or are improbable to dispatch their professional responsibilities to clients, the populace, the legal system, and the legal profession decently ( Florida Bar Section 1.1 ) ; Attorneys will be held to strict moralss under the Puerto Rico Rules of Conduct. Lawyers are required to hold a lower limit of a Bachelor Degree in any related class of survey. When they finish they have to go to a three twelvemonth accredited jurisprudence school of their choosing. Upon competition of Law School, before they can go practicing lawyers for the State Of Puerto Rico they must go through a Bar test. Like the Colorado Bar Association Rule 8.4 Misconduct Lawyers are capable to disciplinary action when they violate or attempt to go against the Rule of Professional Conduct, or wittingly assist or bring on another to make so. These can include, but non limited to perpetrating a condemnable act, dishonesty, fraud fraudulence, engage in behavior that is damaging to the disposal of justness, influence or effort to act upon a authorities bureau or agent, or help another attorney, justice or judicial officer in improper behavior ( Rule 8.4 Misconduct, CBA ) .Puerto Rico ‘s lawyers will be disciplined by the Supreme Court. Such disciplinary action can be but non limited to.
Admonishment-This is where the lawyer goes before a judicial board for minor misconduct or misdemeanor of minor regulations and ordinance. Probation- The respondent may be placed on probation for a declared period of clip of non less than 6 months or more than 3 old ages or for an indefinite period determined by conditions stated in the order. The judgement shall province the conditions of the probation, which may include but are non limited to the followers: damages, completion of a professional plan. Suspension.-The respondent may be suspended from the pattern of jurisprudence for a definite period of clip or an indefinite period thenceforth to be determined by the conditions imposed by the judgement. During the suspension, the person may go on to be a member of the saloon, but will lose their practicing privileges. Disbarment- For the most serious discourtesies, the attorney may confront disbarment. There are two signifiers are disbarment. Permanent and impermanent. A attorney who is for good disbarred may non reapply for readmission, an lawyer who faces impermanent disbarment may reapply for re-admission after 5 old ages ( Florida Bar Rule 3-5.1 ) .
Welcome to Puerto Rico: Government: hypertext transfer protocol: //welcome.topuertorico.org/government.shtml
U.S Court System: State Courts: hypertext transfer protocol: //www2.maxwell.syr.edu/plegal/scales/court.html
City, Town, Village Courts: hypertext transfer protocol: //www.nycourts.gov/courts/townandvillage/index.shtml
hypertext transfer protocol: //www.ncsconline.org/D_kis/info_court_web_sites.html # State
Alaska Courts: hypertext transfer protocol: //www.ajc.state.ak.us/
Illinois Circuit Court General Information hypertext transfer protocol: //www.state.il.us/court/CircuitCourt/CCInfoDefault.asp
Judiciary Of Rhode Island: Family Court: hypertext transfer protocol: //www.courts.state.ri.us/family/defaultfamily.htm
Arkansas Judiciary: Supreme Court: Retrieved form hypertext transfer protocol: //courts.state.ar.us/supremecourt/index.cfm
Florida Bar: Lawyer Regulation: Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions: A. Purpose and Nature of Sanctions: 1.1 Purpose of Lawyer Discipline Proceedings. hypertext transfer protocol: //www.floridabar.org/tfb/TFBLawReg.nsf/9dad7bbda218afe885257002004833c5/ca758a1382421b60852574ba00649949? OpenDocument
Florida Bar: Lawyer Regulation: Rules Regulating The Florida Bar: RULE 3-5.1 GENERALLY: hypertext transfer protocol: //www.floridabar.org/divexe/rrtfb.nsf/FV/F94E98AAA01939B985257163006E6A6B
Alabama Judicial System Online: Qualification, Election and Discipline of Judges: hypertext transfer protocol: //www.judicial.state.al.us/appellate.cfm
Legal power and Grounds for Judicial Discipline: Supreme Court Admission and Discipline Rule 25.Sections III, IV, V. hypertext transfer protocol: //www.in.gov/judiciary/jud-qual/jurisdiction.html
Main.Gov. Courts: Small Claims Court. hypertext transfer protocol: //www.courts.state.me.us/maine_courts/specialized/small_claims/index.shtml