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Governor appoints Wesley Bogdan as Superior Court judge

ALMOST a year since the retirement of former Judge David A. Wiseman, Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres on Friday announced the nomination of his legal counsel, Wesley M. Bogdan, 58, to serve as associate judge of the CNMI Superior Court. Bogdan’s appointment requires the advice and consent of the Senate.

Senators interviewed by this reporter declined to comment.

Wesley M. BogdanWesley M. Bogdan

“Wesley has been a trusted member of my staff since Day One,” the governor said in a statement Friday. “His understanding of the law is exceptional. I firmly believe his work ethic, good judgment and legal experience will make him a great judge — as will his love for the Mariana Islands. Choosing Wes for this position is bitter sweet. I will be losing a trusted advisor and a tireless advocate for the CNMI, especially with regard to issues relating to the military, the environment and our rights under the Covenant, but I am confident in his abilities and have no doubt that he will serve the CNMI with dignity and integrity as a member of the judiciary.”

If confirmed by the Senate, Bogdan will fill the vacancy created by former Judge David Wiseman’s retirement on May 19, 2016.

Bogdan has been legal counsel to the Office of the Governor since the administration of Gov. Eloy S. Inos. He also served as legal counsel for then-Lt. Gov. Jude U. Hofschneider.

The administration said Bogdan is a juris doctorate graduate of the University of New Mexico School of Law, and holds a bachelor’s degree in business and political science from the University of Texas. He received his certification from the CNMI Bar Association in 1998 and is an inactive member of the New Mexico Bar Association.

After graduating from law school in his home State of New Mexico, the administration said Bogdan worked as a judicial clerk for the New Mexico Court of Appeals in Albuquerque from 1992 to 1994.

“Following that experience, he moved to the CNMI in 1994 and has worked in the government as an assistant attorney general and assistant public defender. He has also worked in private practice in the Law Offices of Brian McMahon, Eric Smith, Joshua Berger and the O’Connor, Berman, Dotts, and Banes Law Firm,” the administration said.

“Bogdan also worked off-island as the deputy director of the legal department for the Asian Football Confederation in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 2009 to 2012.

“Since returning to the CNMI, Bogdan has worked exclusively during the last four years in the executive branch as legal counsel and senior policy advisor on all legal issues and environmental matters, particularly with respect to military affairs such as the proposed location and construction activities associated with the United States Air Force’s Divert Project and the United States Marine Corps CNMI Joint Military Training Project.”

According to the administration, Bogdan was chief legal counsel to Governor Torres during the Covenant Section 902 consultations that were completed late last year. The consultations were the first to result in a report to the president that has been transmitted to the U.S. Congress, the administration said.

In addition, Bogdan served as chairman of the CNMI Bar Association Continuing Legal Education Committee and is a member of the CNMI Bar Association Disciplinary Committee.

He is a graduate of the National Criminal Defense College program and has a specialty certificate in environmental law from the University of New Mexico School of Law, the administration said.

It added that Bogdan has been active in the CNMI community, serving as a judge for mock trial and speech competitions and is currently an adjunct instructor of business law at Northern Marianas College. He has also been active in the local sports community as a youth team coach and as an executive committee member of the Northern Mariana Islands Football Association.