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In October, 2002, defendant Tadashi Wainit filed a Petition seeking a writ of prohibition and/or Certiorari and also an appeal. The petition was assigned docket number P6-2002, and the appeal was assigned number P7-2002. Both are currently pending before this Court.
On March 20, 2003, Wainit filed a Motion to Stay Proceedings Pending Appeal or Writ Review, requesting a stay of the criminal trial in the case below pending resolution of the issues raised in his petition and appeal. On March 26, 2003, the government filed a Response in which it asks that Wainitís motion to stay be denied.
In the October 2002 filings, Wainit asks the Court to overturn the trial courtís interpretation of a statute, 11 F.S.M.C. 106 (as amended by Pub. L. No. 11-72, ß 8 (11th Cong., 3d Spec. Sess. 2001)), which governs change of venue in criminal cases. The trial court moved the criminal trial venue in the case below from Chuuk to Pohnpei. Wainit urges that a correct interpretation of the statute would require that the trial be held in Chuuk. He seeks review of the trial court venue order prior to the trial being held in Pohnpei. Wainit filed, in the trial court, a motion to stay the trial. That motion was denied. [FSM v. Wainit, 11 FSM Intrm. 411, 413 (Pon. 2003).] He now asks that this court stay the trial.
For its part, the government contends that a stay pending appellate review is inappropriate because such review must await a final judgment of conviction.
The Court must determine whether either the petition or the appeal are proper at this juncture. Since the Court needs sufficient time to decide whether it must either consider or dismiss Wainitís petition and appeal, a stay is appropriate and necessary in the interests of justice.
Given the unusual posture of these appellate cases, the Court determines that this is an appropriate case for applying Appellate Procedure Rule 2, which allows the appellate division, for good cause shown, to suspend the usual requirements of the Rules of Appellate Procedure in a particular case, on its own motion, and order proceedings in accordance with its direction. Moreover, it is within the Courtís inherent power to ensure the efficient administration of justice, which may be hindered if trial were to commence prior to its ruling on the questions presented here. Accordingly, it is hereby ordered that trial in the case below is stayed pending further notice.* * * *