Man Who Threatened Rabby Syed Gets Lenient Sentence

August 15, 2011

Joaquin H. Tenorio who phoned United Workers President, Rabby Syed on February 26, 2011 and threatened to chop off his arms, legs and head, and kill his family received a sentence of only 30 days in jail for the obvious hate crime! He was sentenced to six months in prison for assault and disturbing the peace, all suspended except for the 30 days which will be served concurrently with other charges.

According to the Marianas Variety this was not Tenorio's first offense. He was also sentenced for a case involving criminal mischief.  The "mischief" was not described, but the victim was identified as Ellis Miller, the owner of a video store on Saipan. A previous Marianas Variety story describes how Tenorio was arrested with his friend, Antonio C. Norita on February 9, 2008 for scratching and denting a Ford truck at a video store. The next day while drunk the pair smashed the truck's windshield while it was parked at a residence.

Associate Judge Govendo sentenced Tenorio to five years for the two counts of criminal mischief and suspended all time except for 30 days, (minus two days that he already served) to be served concurrently with the charges in Rabby's case.

The Marianas Variety reported:
He will be placed on five years probation upon release and he will attend and complete anger management counseling and any other counseling recommended by the treatment provider of the Adult Probation Office.

Tenorio will pay $8,000 as restitution, jointly and severally liable with his co-defendants, the court said.

Tenorio will not have any contact with his victims, and will write a letter of apology to Syed and Ellis Miller.

He will pay a $200 fine, courts costs, and a probation fee.

Tenorio will cooperate in the investigation and prosecution of this case if called to do so, the court said.
What a ridiculously lenient sentence for someone who is a repeat criminal. Additionally, I find the practice of writing "apology notes" extremely offensive. Who would want to receive a forced apology?


Anonymous said...

What is the problem with these judges about putting someone in jail? Especially repeat offenders? Are these judges under an order from this Administration not to incarcerate anyone (unless they are non NMD)so the Govt. does not have to feed them?
I am not sure how accurate it is, but I heard that the guard to prisoner ratio is very high, like almost 2-1.
I wonder just how many actual prisoners are in that facility and how many Guards.
I think I remember that the number of a full contingency of Guards would be about 158 personnel.(something like that)
This guy could be construed as racist as his offenses have been against outsiders.(non islanders)
This is also interesting as his Aunt wanted Syed to drop the charges and this guy is related to a cop.

TAGLISH said...

With the same people running this government, I expected this to happen. It's the same banana and only in CNMI, USA!!

Anonymous said...

I will most certainly vote this judge OUT when his time comes. adios muchacho!

Anonymous said...


As misdemeanor assaults go, this one was on the less-serious side. The most serious would be an imminent threat from someone who had the means to accomplish it, e.g., a face-to-face threat where the victim is placed in fear that he's going to be battered or worse. The least serious is a purely verbal threat that is not imminent. Thirty days is actually surprisingly severe for the CNMI.

Green Cards for All! said...

I agree that the lack of imminent threat from someone with means to accomplish it does put it on the lower end of the scale. This week’s Zaldy Dandan, “Variations: Reeling in the years,” Marianas Variety, Fri., Aug. 19, 2011, available at, reminds us that such blustering empty threats have long been a feature of life in the Marianas. Serving a month in jail should serve as a good deterrent to such posturing, which can be more terrorizing to victims who hale from locales where evildoers actually follow through on their threats and plans.

The Honorable Kenneth L. Govendo was confirmed as a Superior Court Associate Judge on Friday, 30 May 2003, along with the Honorable Ramona V. Mangloña. See Marian A. Maraya, “Manglona, Govendo Confirmed as Judges,” Saipan Tribune, Sat., May 31, 2003, available at Because of having to wind down a private practice, he seemed to anticipate being sworn into his six-year term a few days later than her. Id.

Accordingly, Judge Govendo’s first term expired in or soon after June 2009. He was retained at the November 2007 general election by a vote of 7353 to 2771. . The next general election prior to the expiration of his second term around June 2015 would be November 2014.

However, Judge Govendo was born on born in Syracuse New York on January 28, 1945. . At the end of his second term, he would be 70 years old.

I fully suspect and believe that Judge Govendo undertakes his role on the bench in light of what he truly considers to be “right” or “good” and in view of his own progressive sense of “rough justice,” with absolutely no concern or consideration to appeasing the public for any retention election. That is who he is, the archetype of a former hippie, TT Peace Corps era Activist Judge, expositor of the Constitution as a “living document” per his own insight (or whim) rather than the plain meaning of the words in a constitution, statute, or contract. Judge Juan N. Babauta knew what we were getting when he nominated him -- prolific editorial letter writer that he was -- and so did the people of the CNMI when we retained him. He has been true to character, true to form, and true to himself. His weaknesses are also his strengths.

This is little different from the ongoing campaign by the Honorable Edward T. Buckingham III, CNMI Attorney General, to use his preferred “AGO” nickname, rather than the abbreviation of its legal name, Office of the Attorney General (“OAG”), 1 CMC § 2151. Head cheerleader for this effort is Zaldy Dandan of the Marianas Variety, who slavishly adheres to Ed’s preferred usage, even editorially altering the wording of quoted judicial opinions, and ruthlessly censoring any question of his diktat in the paper’s online blog comments. Despite complaining about some of the AG’s official actions, Zaldy has been instrumental in enabling Ed’s “shoot from the hip” attitude that creates the very problems which Zaldy now belatedly decries.

In the eyes of many, Fitial, Govendo, Buckingham, and Dandan are four peas in a pod who ultimately would seem to share a common mindset: Rules made for ordinary people don’t apply to them. This is the antithesis of the Rule of Law.

Anonymous said...

Little differnce between Ken Govendo and Bucky? What are you smoking? Govendo is tough on criminals; Bucky is tough on the Public Auditor. Govendo is sharp and insightful; Bucky is seduced by any corrupt official who strokes his ego. Govendo will retire with his Bar license and reputation intact; Bucky won't have either one.

Anonymous said...

The number of guards in the prison is dictated by the Federal Department of Justice no local influence here.

Anonymous said...

Noni 5:52, Who pays for the Guards,the NMI Govt. Point being, the judges do not put people away,most are held for trial and then sentenced to time served, so the inmate population to Guard ratio is small. How many Guards and how many inmates?

Anonymous said...

the judgement is just a "slap on the wrist". By golly wow!!! did you expect that he will be receiving a harsh punishment? judge govendo? then no wonder. he doesnt like alien. that's why i sided with judge R. Manglona before. she knows that! anyways, his victims were not local so......your guess is as good as mine.

Green Cards for All! said...

Associate Judge

Second Term: June 20, 2009 to June 19, 2015
Retention Election: November 3, 2007
First Term: June 20, 2003 to June 19, 2009
Oath of Office: June 20, 2003
Confirmed: May 30, 2003
Appointed: May 20, 2003

See The Judiciary of the Northern Mariana Islands, 2009 Annual Report at 6, available at