The Criminal Division is in charge of prosecuting criminal offenses pursuant to Article III, Section 11 of the Commonwealth Constitution. Ensuring that justice is served while balancing the safety and welfare of the Commonwealth are essential functions of the Criminal Division and necessary for maintaining a civilized society.
Led by a Chief Prosecutor who oversees the assistant prosecutors, administrative staff, and Victim Witness Advocacy Unit, the Division seeks to exercise prosecutorial discretion in the use of resources to further the priorities of the local jurisdiction and needs of the Commonwealth. Although the distribution and caseload varies, each AAG handles felony and misdemeanor cases.
In addition to prosecuting violations of criminal law, prosecutors are actively participating in various activities involving the Criminal Justice System. This includes:
- Training law enforcement officers on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota
- Participation in committee groups to include Drug Court, Mental Health, Traffic, and Juvenile
- Instructors for 2016 Police Academy
- Collaboration with non-profit organizations and service providers such as the Domestic Violence Intervention Center (DVIC), Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and etc.
The Victim Witness Advocacy Unit is responsible for providing assistance to victims of crimes and coordinating witness participation in criminal cases.
The unit’s mission is to:
- Promote the effective investigation and successful prosecution of criminal cases;
- Provide victims and their families with guidance and support throughout the investigation and prosecution of their cases;
- Educate the community about the prevention and the prosecution of their cases;
- Train first responders to properly investigate sexual assault crimes.
In 2016, the Victim Witness Advocacy Unit provided services to 557 victims. Some of these services include:
- Providing Information and referrals
- Personal advocacy/accompaniment
- Emotional support or safety services
- Shelter/housing services
- Criminal justice system assistance
- Translator assistance
- Restitution assistance
The Victim Witness Advocacy Unit has expanded and welcomed the Family Violence Task Force (FVTF) to its Unit. By consolidating the FVTF with this unit, our resources will be able to provide efficiency in the delivery of our services to victims through the criminal process and/or civil protective orders.
In addition to providing services to victims, our advocates continue to participate in outreach programs and events, to include sexual assault & domestic violence awareness month activities, and family violence task force quarterly meetings.