The Commonwealth Constitution : Article I

PERSONAL RIGHTS

Section 1: Laws Prohibited. No law shall be made that is a bill of attainder, an ex post facto law, a law impairing the obligation of contracts, or a law prohibiting the traditional art of healing.


Source: Original provision, unaltered (ratified 1977, effective 1978).


Related Commonwealth Code Section: See 3 CMC § 2213 (Medical Practice Act of 1982 not to prohibit traditional art of healing).


Section 2: Freedom of Religion, Speech, Press and Assembly. No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.


Source: Original provision, unaltered (ratified 1977, effective 1978).


Related Commonwealth Code Sections: See 1 CMC § 2353 (regulation of broadcasting by the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs), 1 CMC § 9906 (media access to public meetings), 1 CMC § 9911 (notice to media of special public meetings), and 3 CMC § 2213 (Medical Practice Act of 1982 not to prohibit religious healers using prayer or other spiritual means in accordance with church tenets).


Section 3: Search and Seizure. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and belongings against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated.

 
a) No warrants shall issue except upon probable cause supported by oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

Case Annotations: Commonwealth v. Bowie, 3 N.M.I. 462--466, 467.

b) No wiretapping, electronic eavesdropping or other comparable means of surveillance shall be used except pursuant to a warrant.

c) A person adversely affected by an illegal search or seizure has a cause of action against the government within limits provided by law.

Source: Original provision, unaltered (ratified 1977, effective 1978).

Related Commonwealth Code Sections: See generally 6 CMC § 6101 et seq. (6 CMC, Div. 6, criminal procedure), specifically 6 CMC § 6201 et seq. (searches and seizures); see also 2 CMC § 3132, as amended by Executive Order 94-3, § 106(b) (search warrants relating to Commonwealth Environmental Protection Act investigations), 3 CMC § 4312, as amended by Executive Order 94-3, § 301(c) (authority of secretary of Department of Labor and Immigration to issue warrants for arrest of aliens) and 4 CMC § 5428 (warrantless searches relating to enforcement of weights and measures standards).


Section 4: Criminal Prosecutions. In all criminal prosecutions certain fundamental rights shall obtain.


a) The accused has the right to assistance of counsel and, if convicted, has the right to counsel in all appeals.

b) The accused has the right to be confronted with adverse witnesses and to have compulsory process for obtaining favorable witnesses. 

c) No person shall be compelled to give self-incriminating testimony. 

Case Annotations: Torres v. Marianas Pub. Land Corp., 3 N.M.I. 484--486; Commonwealth v. Ramangmau, 4 N.M.I. 227--235; Commonwealth v. Cabrera, 4 N.M.I. 240--252. 

d) There shall be a speedy and public trial. 

e) No person shall be put twice in jeopardy for the same offense regardless of the governmental entity that first institutes prosecution. 

f) Excessive bail shall not be required. 

g) Excessive fines shall not be imposed. 

h) Cruel and unusual punishment shall not be inflicted. 

i) Capital punishment is prohibited. 

j) Persons who are under eighteen years of age shall be protected in criminal judicial proceedings and in conditions of imprisonment. 

Source: Original provision, unaltered (ratified 1977, effective 1978). 

Related Commonwealth Code Sections: See generally 6 CMC §§ 6105, 6302 and 6303; see also 1 CMC §§ 2203 and 2204 (duties and authority of public defender); 6 CMC § 108 (location of trial); 6 CMC § 4101 et seq. (sentencing), specifically 6 CMC §§ 4101 and 4107 (imposition of fines, default and modification); 6 CMC § 5101 et seq. (juvenile delinquency proceedings); 6 CMC § 6401 et seq. (bail); and 6 CMC § 6502 (immunity for witness providing self-incriminating evidence). Case Annotations: In re "C.T.M.," 1 N.M.I. 410--412, 413.
 

Section 5: Due Process. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.


Source: Original provision, unaltered (ratified 1977, effective 1978).

Section 6: Equal Protection. No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws. No person shall be denied the enjoyment of civil rights or be discriminated against in the exercise thereof on account of race, color, religion, ancestry or sex.


Source: Original provision, unaltered (ratified 1977, effective 1978).


Related Commonwealth Code Sections: See 4 CMC § 5120 (prohibiting discrimination in commerce), 4 CMC § 7302 (prohibiting discriminatory insurance practices), and 7 CMC § 3105 (prohibiting exclusion from jury service due to race, color or religion).


Section 7: Quartering Soldiers. No soldier in time of peace may be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war except as provided by law.


Source: Original provision, unaltered (ratified 1977, effective 1978).


Section 8: Trial by Jury. The legislature may provide for trial by jury in criminal or civil cases.


Source: Original provision, unaltered (ratified 1977, effective 1978).


Related Commonwealth Code Sections: See generally 7 CMC § 3101; see also 6 CMC § 2150 (right to jury trial in certain criminal prosecutions involving potential property forfeiture); 7 CMC §§ 2253 (no right to jury in actions against Commonwealth) and 2214 (waiver of jury bar by Commonwealth); and 8 CMC § 1714 (no right to jury in paternity actions).


Section 9: Clean and Healthful Environment. Each person has the right to a clean and healthful public environment in all areas, including the land, air, and water. Harmful and unnecessary noise pollution, and the storage of nuclear or radioactive material and the dumping or storage of any type of nuclear waste within the surface or submerged lands and waters of the Northern Mariana Islands, are prohibited except as provided by law.


Source: Original provision (ratified 1977, effective 1978); amended by Second Const. Conv. Amend. 1 (1985).


Related Commonwealth Code Sections: See 2 CMC § 3101 et seq., as amended by Executive Order 94-3 (Commonwealth Environmental Protection Act); see also 1 CMC § 1402 (local laws), 1 CMC § 2605, as amended by Executive Order 94-3, § 105 (regulatory authority of Department of Public Health), 2 CMC § 1301 et seq., as amended by Executive Order 94-3 (Commonwealth Nuclear and Chemical Free Zone Act), and 2 CMC § 1501 et seq., as amended by Executive Order 94-3 (Coastal Resources Management Act of 1983).


Section 10: Privacy. The right of individual privacy shall not be infringed except upon a showing of compelling interest.


Source: Original provision, unaltered (ratified 1977, effective 1978).


Related Commonwealth Code Sections: See 1 CMC §§ 9903, 9912, 9917 and 9918 (limitation on public access to government meetings and records to protect right of privacy); 1 CMC § 9918 and 4 CMC § 1812 (privacy of tax reports and returns); 4 CMC §§ 6453 and 6454 (privacy of financial information in banks); and 7 CMC §§ 2411 and 2412 (action for invasion of privacy).


Section 11: Victims of Crime. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, and belongings against crime shall be recognized at sentencing. Restitution to the crime victim shall be a condition of probation and parole except upon a showing of compelling interest.


Source: Second Const. Conv. Amend. 2 (1985).


Related Commonwealth Code Sections: See generally 6 CMC §§ 9101-9112 (Office of Victims' Rights); 6 CMC § 4109 (restitution or compensation to victim, property forfeiture to government); see also 6 CMC § 4101 (alternative sentencing may include restitution to victim).


Section 12: Abortion. The abortion of the unborn child during the mother's pregnancy is prohibited in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, except as provided by law.


Source: Second Const. Conv. Amend. 3 (1985).