13 February 2013

Liberia: Judiciary Shakeup

With just few hours to the opening of the February Term of Court, the Interim Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor last Friday carried out a shakeup affecting several judges within the judiciary after claims that some judges were delinquent in courts.

During the opening of the October Term of the Supreme Court, the acting Chief Justice stated, they "notice that a good number of Judges do not conform to the rule of court relative to time. They report to work late and leave as they wish. Sometime they do not even report to work at all without any excuse. As a result they accomplish very little in term time. We see this from their return."

He pointed out that the judges' action frustrated party litigants whose cases remained undetermined for an unusually long period of time.

The Chief Justice's decision mainly affected judges from the First Judiciary Circuit Court of Montserrado County.

They were James Zotta of Criminal Court 'A', Eveline Z. Quaqua of Criminal Court 'E', Peter W. Gbeneweleh of Criminal Court 'C' and Yussif Kaba of the Civil Law Court.

Judge Blamo Dixson of the Grand Bassa Circuit Court landed at Criminal Court 'A' in Monrovia, replacing Judge James Zotta who was transferred to the Circuit Court in Grand Gedeh County.

Judge Samuel Geevor Smith leaves the Circuit Court in River Cess County for Criminal Court 'B' in Monrovia to replace Judge Korboi K. Nuta who unconfirmed report say is facing a six months suspension without salary after he was found guilty of ethical misconduct by the Grievance and Ethic Committee of the Judiciary.

Civil Law Court presiding Judge Yussif Kaba returns to Criminal Court 'C' at the Temple of Justice. His successor is Judge Bioma Konto of the Circuit Court in Bomi County.

Judge Ceaineh D. Clinton Johnson who was unattached for a couple of months goes to Criminal Court 'E' that is responsible for rape cases replacing Judge Eveline Z. Quaqua.

Judge Quaqua takes a new assignment at the Circuit Court in Grand Cape Mount County.

Judge Peter W. Gbeneweleh of Criminal Court 'C' who overturned the jurors' unanimous guilty verdict for new trial in U$ 1 million theft case involving a pastor takes a new assignment at the Margibi County Circuit Court to replace Judge Mardia Cheneweth.

Judge Cheneweth goes to Criminal Court 'D' climaxing the Chief Justice relocation of judges.

Judge Cheneweth's new assignment remains questionable by legal experts over her handling of armed robbery cases.

Meanwhile, the February Term of Court which could not open Monday across the county because of the holidays now opens today.

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