2 May 2006

America Samoa's Chief Justice welcomes review of local judicial system

9:27 am on 2 May 2006

America Samoa's Chief Justice Michael Kruse says he is receptive to the idea of the High Court assuming some jurisdiction over certain federal issues.

However he says if the High Court's role is expanded Congress should also give the necessary funding to fulfill additional responsibilities.

Addressing the American Samoa Bar Association, the Chief Justice says that it is timely to closely examine the judicial branch's role in the future.

Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin says he plans to ask the investigation arm of Congress, the General Accounting Office to conduct a study of the local judicial system.

The review would look at the possibility of the High Court of American Samoa being designated to handle cases that are usually assigned to federal district courts to adjudicate.

Chief Justice Kruse says he welcomes a review and such a study should take into account options such as court unification, expanded use of magistrates and a full time appellate division.